- Dracula’s royal court in Targoviste
- The Episcopal Church in Curtea de Arges
- Visit to the Poenari Fortress (Dracula’s real castle)
We start the tour with a morning drive from Bucharest to Targoviste, the former capital of Wallachia during Vlad the Impaler’s (aka Dracula) ruling.
History books say that in 1459, from his royal court in Targoviste, Vlad the Impaler refused to pay tribute to the Ottoman Empire determining the Turks to react by sending in their army. He eventually won one memorable victory against the Ottomans by disguising himself as a janissary and attacking the Ottoman army which was camped near Targoviste.
Vlad Dracula was the one who -for surveillance and defence purposes – built in Targoviste the Chindia Tower in Targoviste, now the landmark of the city. It is partly built on an old church site, it is 27 meters high and measures 9 meters in diameter.
The oldest written document about Targoviste Royal Court dates back to 1396. In the 17th century, the Royal Court was set on fire at the orders of the Ottoman Empire and the capital of Wallachia was moved to Bucharest.
The next stop on our Tour will be at Curtea de Arges, the former capital of Wallachia. The town`s
strongholds were rebuilt in the 14th century: one is the Princely Church which has a frescoed interior considered one of the first examples of original Romanian paintings, the other is the Episcopal Church (the monastery), a recreation (1875 – 1885) – of the original church built between 1512 -1517 by prince Neagoe Basarab.
We conclude our “Searching for Dracula” Tour with a visit to the Poenari Fortress. Standing on a cliff, now in ruins, this fortress is known to be the real castle of Dracula (Vlad the Impaler). To get to the top you must climb up its 1400 steps ( it takes approx. 30 minutes). Once you get to the top, you will realize that the place is surprisingly small (one third collapsed down the mountainside in 1888). After crossing a narrow wooden bridge, you can see the crumbling remains of the two towers; the prism shaped one was where Vlad ( Dracula) had his residential quarters. From here, according to the legend, The Impaler`s wife threw herself out of the window declaring that it was better that way than to be captured by
the Turks, who were besieging the castle. Legend sais that Vlad himself escaped on the horseback to the mountains.