The Ecotouristic Route “Cazanele Mici” – Asociaţia Pro-Mehedinţi

Access is made from the DN57 national road, in Dubova Bay, about 24 km away from Orşova to Moldova Nouă; route length about 9 km, average walk time about 4 hours, maximum 5 hours both.

It is a medium difficulty route that does not require special physical training, yet it is a long route with respect to its travel distance and time. It is marked with an equilateral triangle with a white border.

There are two alternative routes: one takes 2 hours – recommended to the ones who are impatient to get on the Cazanele Mici plateau and the other one takes 6 hours and is recommended to the ones who want to know better these places features. The two variants’ culmination is the Cazanele Mici plateau.

Before going on these routes, we recommend to the tourists to visit the Dubova commune, a specific locality to the Danube’s defile.

Once with the creation of the accumulation lake, the Danube’s level grew with 25-30 m.

The Dubova commune has been partially displaced. The old part, not displaced, is rich in houses of traditional architecture and mills with well bucket.

Concerning the water mills origin in the Carpathian region, it has been made two guesses: that they were brought here from the Mediterranean region after Dacia was conquered by the Romans and the guess that they are autochthon arguing with the Dacian richness in grain, the large cornfield surfaces which were laying till the mountains, the hydraulic force of the fast rivers with rich flow. Documentary, the water mills are mentioned even from the XII-th century, their number considerable increasing in the next centuries. Among water mills, the ones with horizontal wheel – the well bucket – a real thesaurus of old material creation belonging to the Romanian people, may be considered the first mill type which used the hydraulic force making the transition from the hand-mill to the horizontal-wheel mills. The mills with well-bucket in the Iron Gates region are important because of their repartition, structure and property system. The archaic building and functioning system of the mills with well-bucket combines the simplicity with the ingenuity, the helpfulness with the artistic. As building material, there were used thick joists of resistant nature (oak, beech), the stone mills being rare (the mills in Sviniţa and a part of the mills in Ogradena).

The ecotouristic route includes mountain paths which cross oak and beech woods and lawns. This is the route where the dyer’s broom (Genista tinctoria) may be collected which is an excellent tinctorial plant used by the women to extract vegetal dyestuffs to colour the wool. The belvedere spots, not few in number, are the places where the Cazanele Mari and Veliki Strbač (on the Serb side of the Danube) can be admired.

The Cazanele Mici, with only few meters smaller than the Cazanele Mari, is the less-known place to the tourists but with the same splendour as the Cazanele Mari.

The lawns with bear’s breech (Acanthus balcanicus), met on the Cazanele Mici plateau, plant which grows only in the area of the Balkan Peninsula, determine us to travel carefully through this region only in the company of the Iron Gates Natural Park rangers. The plant’s leaves have been taken as a model in the antic sculpture and is characteristic of the Corinth column capitals. The ecotouristic route crosses the Cazanele Mari and Cazanele Mici Complex Reservation and the access is allowed only in the presence of the Iron Gates Natural Park rangers.

The Cazanele Mici is the place where the Danube loses the Cazane narrowness.