The Banat- melting pot of cultures
Geographically the west of Romania has a lot to offer. In the north and west the Banat lowlands are surrounded by the rivers Mures (Marosch) and Timos (Theiß) which have a diversified fluvial topography. Especially to canoe- tourists they offer a broad field of experience. On the other hand, those and other rivers, such as Timos (Temesch), after which the city Timisoara was named, are responsible for the heavy floods that occur from time to time. Just in year 2005 this kind of catastrophe caused a lot of damage in Banat and other areas of Romania. In the south, the Danube -at the same time a border river to Serbia- offers an impressive view: The Iron Gate, which is one of the most breathtaking river gaps in Europe. In 1972 a dam was constructed there, in order to be able to produce electricity. In this Romanian- Yugoslavian cooperation the lake Djerdap was created which is nowadays about 120 km long, 5,5 km wide, 253 square miles big and 120 m deep. Only by its creation it was made possible to pass this spot without any problems. The lake stretches from the Iron Gate to the borders of Serbias capital Belgrad. The landscape around the lake and the Iron Gate is protected by the national park Djerdap on Serbian side and the national park Iron Gate on the Romanian side. Because of their specious flora and fauna, both national parks have become unique nature reserves. But also the old forts and antique credentials of the early population make the parks become rewarding travel destinations both on Romanian and Serbian side. In the east, the Banat mountains as foothills of the Carpathians form the border of the area. Their uprisings from the lowlands offer an appropriate area for hikers and they are a good initial point fort trips and hikes in the southern Carpathians.