The Iron Gates of the Danube River originally consisted of four narrow gorges and three wide basins spread over several miles of the river dividing Romania and Serbia. In the 1960s, a huge lock and dam was built to control the speed of the river and make navigating this section of the Danube River safer. Today, the river flowing through the Iron Gates is peaceful, and it is 130 feet higher than prior to the dam and power station. The effect of the dam can be felt on the river for over 100 miles, and two locks, spread more than 50 miles apart, anchor each end of the Iron Gates. Over 23,000 citizens living along the river had to be resettled after the dam was complete.
Danube River cruises in eastern Europe like those with Viking River Cruises sail through the Iron Gates in daytime, and the scenery is spectacular, even though not as dramatic as it was 40 years ago. The Iron Gates and the Wachau Valley in Austria are probably the most scenic parts of the Danube River.