The “Iron Gates I” Hydro- Energetic and Navigation System which stands as a symbol of the Romanian energetics and result of the Romanian-Yugoslavian collaboration, was inaugurated on the 16th of May 1972. The “Iron Gates I” Hydro-Electric Power Station Museum opened in 1976 and presents the Danube’s general characteristics, hydrologic data, material proofs of the human settlements of the region.
Before the construction of the Hydro-electric Power Station of Iron Gates, the complex collective of the Romanian Academy have made a complex research on the area of the future water storage, the “Iron Gates I”. A part of these researches have been exposed to the public within the exhibition.
The region of the Iron Gates Defile was inhabited ever since the Palaeolithic. The researches settled that here developed two new archaeological cultures: Schela Cladovei in Epipalaeolithic and Insula Banului in the first Iron Era.
The exhibition underlines the fact that the human communities inhabited this region ever since 30.000 years ago to our days. This reality is evinced by a rich ceramics which belongs to different archaeological cultures. Over time, this region was claimed by the military forces from this part of the Danube. During the Roman Era this area played an important role. Fortified with numerous entrenchments, it represented the starting point of the war against the Dacian State. The fire weapons present in the exhibition suggest the struggle imposed by the locals, helped by numerous fortifications against the invaders.
A part of the Iron Gates was claimed by the two great empires of that time: The Hapsburg Empire and Ottoman Empire. This is why the Austrians built a fortification of Vauban type on the Ada-Kaleh Island but the island passed under Ottoman possession and a Turk community established there.
During the appearance of the water storage, 7 localities were moved on the Serbian shore and 10 on the Romanian side (Orșova, Ada-Kaleh, Ogradena, Vârciorova, Tisovița, Plavișevița, etc.).
In memory of Ada-Kaleh Island, was arranged a Turkish interior comprising representative pieces of the Turk population of this island, placed at the interference of the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empire.
The museum exhibits folk costumes specific to the Iron Gates region and a water mill considered to be the precursor of the modern turbine, Pelton.
The biologic diversity, complexity of the geologic sub-layer and cultural values, make the Iron Gates region, a place with an international scientific reputation. The Iron Gates Defile is considered to be an open air geologic museum. Here, there is a variety of magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Due to the avifaunistic wealth, the Danube course in the Portile de Fier area is declared Sit Natura 2000.
The incursion into the “Iron Gates I” Hydro-Electric Power Station Museum ends with the Hall of Turbines where the visitor can admire the 6 Kaplan turbines, each of them having a 194,5 MW installed power.
A turbine weights 3680 t. the turbine’s axe has a length of 18 m and 71.5 rotations per minute. To its inferior end there is installed the hub with its 6 blades (each blade weighing 20 t). The generator’s rotor has 600 t in weight and 14 m diameter. The average water fall is of 27.5 m and the necessary flow capacity for each turbine is of 800 m3/s. The electric current which is produced by the turbines is passed to the 6 power transformers and then it is conducted to the connexion stations.
The “Iron Gates I” Hydro-Electric Power Station is the largest in Romania, it produces 50% out of the country’s hydro-energy.