Trajan's Wall
Trajan's Wall

Trajan's Wall (Valul lui Traian in Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

) is a complex of valla
Vallum is a term applied either to the whole or a portion of the fortifications of a Roman camp. The vallum usually comprised an earthen or turf rampart with a wooden palisade on top, with a deep outer ditch...

 in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

: in Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

 and Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...


Contrary to the name and popular belief, the ramparts were not built by Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 during Trajan's
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...



There are three valla in Romania, in south-central Dobruja
Dobruja is a historical region shared by Bulgaria and Romania, located between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, including the Danube Delta, Romanian coast and the northernmost part of the Bulgarian coast...

, extending from the Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 to the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast, built most probably by Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 between the 10th and the 11th century, during the reign of John I Tzimisces and Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...


The oldest and smallest vallum, the little earth wall, is 61 km in length, extending from Cetatea Pătulului
Cetatea Patulului
Cetatea Pătulului is a Roman-Byzantine fortification, identified by some with the Roman name FLAVIANA , situated 2 km northwest of Cochirleni, Rasova commune, Romania....

 on the Danube to Constanţa
Constanța is the oldest extant city in Romania, founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region....

 on the sea coast. Entirely made of earth, it has no defensive constructions built on it, but has a moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

 on its southern side. This feature clearly shows that is was built by a people living north of it and it was designed to protect them from the south.

The second vallum, the large earth wall, 54 km in length, overlaps the smaller one on some sections. It begins on the Danube, follows the Carasu Valley and ends at Palas, west of Constanţa. Its average height is 3.5 m, and it has moats on both sides. On it are built 63 fortifications: 35 larger (castra), and 28 smaller (castella). The average distance between fortifications is 1 km. Built during John Tzimisces's reign and destroyed by migratory population, it was reconstructed at a later time.

The last vallum to be built, the stone wall, is also made of earth, but has a stone wall on its crest. It has 59 km in length, extending from south of Axiopolis
Cernavodă is a town in Constanţa County, Dobrogea, Romania with a population of 20,514.The town's name is derived from the Slavic černa voda , meaning "black water". This name is regarded by some scholars as a calque of the earlier Thracian name Axíopa, from IE *n.ksei "dark" and upā "water"...

 to the Black Sea coast, at a point 75 m south of the little earth wall. The agger is about 1.5 m in height, while the stone wall on top has an average height of 2 m. It has a moat on its northern side and 26 fortifications, the distance between them varying from 1 to 4 km.

The commune Valu lui Traian
Valu lui Traian, Constanta
Valu lui Traian is a commune in Constanţa County, Romania.The commune was established in 1897, under the name Hasancea. In 1925 it was renamed Valu lui Traian , after the vallum located nearby...

 (formerly Hasancea) is named after the vallum.


The remnants in Moldova comprise earthen walls and palisade
A palisade is a steel or wooden fence or wall of variable height, usually used as a defensive structure.- Typical construction :Typical construction consisted of small or mid sized tree trunks aligned vertically, with no spacing in between. The trunks were sharpened or pointed at the top, and were...

s. There are two major fragments preserved in Moldova: Upper Trajan's Wall and Lower Trajan's Wall.

The Lower Trajan's Wall in Moldova is thought to be dated by the 3rd century, and built by Antharic
Athanaric's Wall
Fortification line erected by the king of the Thervings Athanaric, between the banks of river Gerasius and the Danube to the land of Taifali , most probable Athanaric's Wall has reused the old roman limes called: Limes Transalutanus...

 and stretches from Romania Buciumeni- Tiganesti-Tapu-Stoicani and in after that another 126 km from the village of Vadul in Kagul Region by the Prut River stretches into Ukraine and ends at Lake Sasyk by Tatarbunar
Tatarbunary is a small town in the Odessa Oblast of south-western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Tatarbunarskyi Raion , and is located north of the Danube Delta, in Budjak area, approximately south-west of the oblast center, Odessa.The word "Tatarbunary" means "Tatar Wells" in...

. The Coat of Arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 of Cagul uyezd
Uyezd or uezd was an administrative subdivision of Rus', Muscovy, Russian Empire, and the early Russian SFSR which was in use from the 13th century. Uyezds for most of the history in Russia were a secondary-level of administrative division...

of Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

, Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, incorporated Trajan's Wall. Some academics like Dorel Bondoc think that it was done by the Romans, because -to be done- it required plenty of knowledge and workforce that barbarians like Athanaric did not have.

The Upper Trajan's Wall
Greuthungi Wall
The Upper Trajan's Wall is the modern name given to a fortification located in the central area of modern Moldavia. Some scholars consider it to be of Roman origin, while others think it was built in the third/fourth century by the Germanic Greuthungi to defend their borders against the Huns...

 is thought to be constructed in 4th century by Greuthungi
The Greuthungs, Greuthungi, or Greutungi were a Gothic people of the Black Sea steppes in the third and fourth centuries. They had close contacts with the Thervingi, another Gothic people from west of the river Dnestr. They may be the same people as the later Ostrogoths.-Etymology:"Greuthungi" may...

 Goths in order to defend the border against the Huns. It stretches 120 km from Dniester River by Kitkany in Teleneshty Region to Prut River and exetend till Tiganesti Sendreni in Romania.

Fragments of Trajan's Wall are also found by Leova
Leova is a city in Moldova, located 92 km southwest of the national capital, Chişinău. It is the administrative center of Leova District. The city is situated on the east bank of the river Prut bordering Romania.- Notable people:...



Trajan's Wall is located in Podolia
The region of Podolia is an historical region in the west-central and south-west portions of present-day Ukraine, corresponding to Khmelnytskyi Oblast and Vinnytsia Oblast. Northern Transnistria, in Moldova, is also a part of Podolia...

 and stretches through the modern districts of Kamenets-Podolskiy, Novaya Ushitsa and Khmelnitsky
Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine
Khmelnytskyi is a city in Ukraine in the region of Podillia. It is located on the Southern Buh River and about from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. The town's original name was Płoskirów, later Proskurov, but in 1954 was renamed Khmelnytskyi. It is the center of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast in western...

. A part of the Moldavian Lower Trojan's Wall ends in Ukraine. See also Serpent's Wall
Serpent's Wall
Serpent's Wall is an ancient system of fortifications that stretch across all of Ukraine, from the town of Zmiiv in the east to Podolia in the west. They seem to be similar in purpose and character to Trajan's Wall situated immediately to the west...

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