HISTORY OF THE MONUMENT Today, 2000 years later, the great Dacian king continues to keep watch on the borders of those lands he defended to the death. Few kilometers from Orsova, on the banks of the River Danube, a majestic, monumental Decebal looks into the distance through time.

His gaze turned to where the Romans would make their way through rocks to reach the heart of Dacia from the Yugoslav bank of the Danube, as attests the Tabula Traiana, a memorial tablet ordered by the emperor Trajan to commemorate the march of his legions and the victories against the Dacian kingdom in 105 C.E.

The monument celebrates obduracy, audacity and pride.
It is a homage to the last Dacian King from Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Costantino Dragan, the founder of the Dragan European Foundation.
A successful industrialist and a highly educated man, but also a dedicated historian and a diligent scholar of the history of the Romanians, Giuseppe Costantino Dragan is a strong supporter of the theory that the original “flame” of civilization started on the ancient territory of Romania and argues as much in his work; hence civilization reached as far as the Sumerian Lands, Egypt, Turkey and Greece, to the North it reached Scandinavia and to the west moved as far as the ancient regions of Germany and Britannia. His studies, corroborated by major specialists in the main universities in the world, describe the Thracians as the legitimate successors of the great Pelasgian Empire from which drew their origins not only the Geto-Dacians, but also the Trojans, the Etruscans, the Hittites and the Macedonians.
The statue of Decebal, carved in the mountain, rises majestically in a territory which marks the origin of humanity and bears witness to millennia of civilization.
Discoveries made over time highlight this. In the caves of Chindiei and Livadita - 7 km from Moldova Nouă – the most ancient signs of life dated 35,000 B.C.E. have been discovered.
In 1985 Giuseppe Costantino Dragan chose the rock, rising to 128 m., and located in the area of the Cazanele Mici rapids, where the Danube is at its deepest at about 120 m.;however, work only started eight years later, in 1993. Finally the face of Decebal Rex emerged from the mountain, a remarkable and unique monument, the only one of its kind in the world.

“The invincible king Decebal, who chose to take his life rather than surrender to the Roman emperor, deserves a place of pride in the landscape of this country, that he defended with such obduracy, audacity and pride. The emperor Trajan himself recognized the Dacian king’s daring by dedicating Trajan’s Column in Rome to the bloody battles fought against him. After all Trajan can be considered Decebal’s heir”, according to Giuseppe Costantino Dragan, who thought of the monument and financed it.

The long saga of the making of the sculpture representing the head of king Decebal carved in the limestone with marble inserts, continued for 10 years.
It was hard work, often done under extreme conditions. The result is amazing! Decebal’s face carved in the gigantic rock seems to rise from the waters of the Danube.

The monument to Decebal Rex is unique because of its size: 43 metres tall and 25 metres wide. Conceptually it is similar to the commemorative monument on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, representing the busts of the American Presidents Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt and Lincoln, carved in granite, but this is taller, in fact it stands eight metres taller than the statue of the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, and only six metres less than the Statue of Liberty.

Work started in 1993, after Giuseppe Costantino Dragan had purchased the mountain whose rock was to be remodelled. The Italian sculptor Mario Galeotti from Pietrasanta – a locality where Michelangelo himself used to run an atelier – went to the chosen location, took samples to analyze the quality of the stone, and produced the initial sketches.
The difficulty encountered in sculpting the rock, and the extreme difficulty of access made it necessary to have rigorous preparations. Topographic measurements were taken and any unstable vegetation and stones were removed. The next stage consisted of erecting scaffolding for compressed air equipment and electrical wiring and cables, preparing accommodation for rock climbers and building scaffolding with ladders similar to those used by fire-fighters. Hooks were made for the ropes, pulleys and winding drums for funiculars.
As suitable transport could not be used, all tools were transported by boat and then manually in 40-50 kg sacks.
For ten years, work proceeded in March-October in two shifts, 6 hours each. Each day the rock climbers had to climb from the rock base to the scaffolding, a risky and difficult operation, lasting as long as half an hour! Hours of hard work with a pneumatic-hammer and a pickaxe would follow. Larger rocks would be broken up using dynamite.
During the ten years of work on the rock 20,000 holes were made, enormous amounts of dynamite had to be used, as well as hundreds of primers and more than 20,000 metres of fuse, and 6,000 cubic metres of rock were shattered.
The finishing stage started 6 years after work had begun. The longest and most complex operation was “filling” the nose. The entire surface had cracks and it had to be smoothed down by pneumatic-hammer to achieve a compact material. Holes almost two metres deep were made on each side of the hole that needed to be filled. Further several channels were made between holes to help cure the concrete in the rock. For extra security the concrete was reinforced with Italian stainless steel bars.
Transporting the concrete posed a real challenge and an entire system of pulleys had to be created, both between the two river banks and from the work platform to the base of the nose.
The plaque was completed in 2000 with the dedication: “Decebal Rex, Dragan Fecit”.

The finishing touches and the minor details took three more years of painstaking and diligent work.
The monument was completed in 2004 after a colossal undertaking lasting an entire decennium, and making real a unique initiative, aimed at reminding Romanians over time how great and glorious their past had been, what were their place and role in world history, and what was the basis of the nation’s present and future.
Decebal looks at us and watches over us from the mountain’s rock, on the border of the territories he once reigned over, where he fought and died. His face shows stubbornness, dignity and pride, his traits are expressive, his gaze straight, sharp and penetrating, everything about him suggests great firmness … It is the face of a great hero in the history of Romanians – “Decebal Rex”

It is a symbol as well as an incitement from Giuseppe Costantino Dragan.

“Anyone travelling towards “Decebal Rex Dragan Fecit” is also travelling towards the origins of European civilization and will discover that a United Europe represents the natural course of history”.
Prof. dr. Iosif Costantin Dragan