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    STUDIA GEOGRAPHIA - Issue no. 1 / 2005  

  Abstract:  The Roman Road Gherla-Sic. Geomorphological, Archaeological and Topographic Study. The Roman roads that connected the localities Gherla and Sic (Cluj County) is analyzed in the present paper by using indirect informations with reference to the subject. The reconstruction of the Roman route is based on three categories of sources: 1. Modern cartographic resources (an Austrian map from 1882, another one from the beginning of the last century); 2. Informations from the archaeological repertoire of Cluj county, where are mentioned several points with Roman discoveries in the area that interest us; 3. Data obtained by analyzing the main geomorphologic characteristics of the territory translated by the Roman road. On an Austrian map from 1882 with the scale 1:2 700 000 appears a road in the right bank of the Someş Valley, between the localities Szamos Ujvar (Gherla) and Szek (Sic); from here, the road continues to South, heading to Klausenburg (Cluj-Napoca). The fact that the former Roman road appears on a map with such a small scall proves the importance played by the road and the fact that it was still in use at the end of the nineteen century. Another Austrian map from the beginning of the last century confirm our hypothesis. On this map the whole route of the Roman road is represented. On the same map also appears the Roman camp from Gherla, situated on the right bank of the Someş Valley, at the South-West of the actual city. This point corresponding to the Roman camp is placed in the same place as in the map from the Archaeological Repertoire of the Cluj County. The Roman camp and the civilian settlement are placed in a zone that corresponds to a triangle, between the Valley of Someş River, the so-called "Canalul Morii" and the current road Cluj-Napoca - Gherla. On the Austrian map, the road is marked with two parallel lines, one continued and another interrupted. In these conditions, the route of the Roman road between the localities Gherla and Sic can be reconstituted entirely. The road begins from the West gate of the Roman camp and, after 400 m on the direction NV-SE, it arrives to the current road. From this point, keeping the same direction, after another 200 m the road changes its direction. It goes then another 550 m, until it reaches a county road. Here it makes a curve and then changes its direction again to SE. After another 500 m, the road reaches Valea Sărată. This entire sector goes at the base of the Gherla Hill. From Valea Sărată, the road follows the course of the river on the direction NE-SE, on a distance of another 3000 m. It follows then a large curve with a radius of 130 degrees, and after that the Roman way changes again its course, following the line of the level curves, to SSE, on a distance of almost another 1000 m, North from the "Lacul Ştiucilor". In this point the Roman roads crosses over the 109 county road, eschews to East the mentioned lake and then overlaps with the current county road on a distance of 3000 m, until the entrance in the village Sic. From here, the route of the Roman road is practically marked by the points with Roman discoveries belonging to the area of the village. We think that the Roman road passed West of the village, changing its course to SW on a distance of 1500 m. after it reaches the Sicului Hill, the Roman road heads to the place called "Ocna Sicului". Here we know as discoveries of Roman era a cemetery and a villa rustica. As we emphasized, the former Roman road was in use still in the medieval era. We know that from the documents that attests the transport of the salt to the Western territories. With a total length of almost 9,5 km, calculated between the Roman camp from Gherla and the South-West of the Sic village, the Roman road has eight long alignments: two sectors of 3000 m, one of 1500 m, two of 500 m each, one sector of almost 400 m and another one of 200 m. The route of the road is, as in many other cases, well choused, in relationship with the geological, geomorphologic and climatic features of the zone. The curves that unite the alignments have big radius, in order to assure a good visibility on the whole route. We can consider this road a very important one. Its primary role was economical, because it was constructed in order to assure the transport of the salt exploited in the Roman era at Sic.  
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