The Dacian king – Decebalus, after the defeat of the Dacians in the Second Roman-Dacian War (at the turn of the first and second centuries CE), decided to commit suicide rather than subject Roman rule. This ruler is worshiped to this day. His cult was revived in Romania, whose lands were once within the Dacian state. In his memory, it was decided to carve a huge image into the rock wall.
The idea appeared in 1985, in the head of a wealthy Romanian businessman, Iosif Constantin Drăgan. His attention was caught by a huge rock 128 meters high, located in the so-called Iron gate The decisive factor in choosing the place was also the fact that on the other side of the Danube there is Tabula Traiana – a monument commemorating the conquest of Dacia by Romans.
Sculptural work began in 1993, when a rock mountain was purchased by a businessman. A group of specialists worked on the project under the direction of the Italian sculptor Mario Galeotti. Before starting the actual work, rock samples had to be collected to determine material strength. The problem when starting work was to provide machines and tools for workers, which were eventually transported on boats. Workers had to climb to the base of the rock and then move around the scaffoldings installed. It was by far the most dangerous moment of work and took half an hour a day.
Over the next 10 years, workers carved rock for six hours a day in two shifts (March to October). Dynamite was also used to remove larger pieces of stone. For the first six years, the outline of the monument was created. The remaining four years are work on the details and final appearance of the sculpture.
In 2000, a commemorative plate with a Latin inscription: DECEBALUS REX DRAGAN FECIT, which stands for “King Decebalus, made by Dragan”, was placed under the huge image of Decebalus.
It is worth adding that the monument was an expression of the nationalist views of Iosif Constantin Drăgan, for whom Romania was the cradle of civilization; like Sumer, Egypt, Turkey or Greece. According to these views, Decebalus is a national hero and the current Romanians are his descendants.