Vlad III the Impaler Dracula, it is quite a name and a legend to live up to. Although it is true that myth and history blend to create the portrait of this infamous prince, we cannot take away the fact that Romanians consider him a hero and the entire world knows of him, one way or another.
Why a hero you might be wondering, well because he was not killing for fame or richness, he was killing to protect his people and his religion. Although somewhat controversial, he is not the worse in history, remember Atilla the Hun, Genghis Khan, Ivan the IV of Russia and the list could go on. He was not special in his ways of battle, that is how the entire world was like, he was special in his purpose: protecting the Romanians (Wallahs) and their land of being torn apart.
FYI. During his time Romania was divided in three little countries (principalities) that were administrated separately but they all had Romanians on their territories. Although Vlad was born in Transylvania, his family came from Wallachia and this is the territory that he rulled.
Only God and those who lived in those times know the truth. We can only hope that what historians, scribes and story tellers recorded was the truth.
Neagu Djuvara, Historian
List of sites related to Vlad Dracula that can be visited in Romania:
1.Bucharest Princely Court. 557 years ago Vlad the Impaler founded the fortress of Bucharest in his quest of defeating the Ottoman Turks. Vlad was ruling his country Wallachia which had a direct border with the Turkish Empire, the Danube. Being in need for a nearby fortress to serve for retreat and protection he decided this place should be Bucharest and we all appreciate it very much 🙂
The ruins of Vlad’s fortress were revealed in 1972 by Romanian archaeologists exactly in the heart of Bucharest, the Old Town. Being so conveniently located don’t hesitate to wander on French Street (Strada Franceza) to sneak a peak. You can also visit the neighboring church called the Princely Church where the rulers of Wallachia were being crowned.
2.Targoviste Princely Court. The town of Targoviste was the medieval capital of Wallachia, a location where Vlad ruled following his father and grandfather. It is said to be the first place where Vlad used his trademark torture – the impalement – trying to bring justice after a group of noblemen murdered his father and brother in an attempt to overtake the throne. You can visit here the ruins of Vlad’s mansion, the Great Church which is an exquisite Romanian architectural site decorated with valuable frescoes dating the 16th century, Chindia tower used for defense and also treasury. Do climb the tower which has at each floor an exhibition about Vlad’s journey though life and enjoy a wonderful view of the town from the top.
3.Poienari Fortress. This amazing stronghold located in the mountains has saved Vlad’s life numerous times. Climb the 1480 steps to explore the fortress while enjoying a spectacular scenery of the Carpathians. Don’t be afraid of the impalees hanging at the entrance or the torture area on the right side, they are just props meant to show a little insight into those crazy medieval days.
4.Replica of Poienari Fortress to be found in Carol Park, Bucharest. Called the Castle of the Impaler (Castelul lui Tepes) this fortress was built in 1906 by Kind Carol I, to celebrate the 40th year of being on the throne of Romania. The architects studied the ruins of the real fortress and this is how they imagined it during it’s glory days. Sadly this site is open for visiting only twice per year: on May 25th for Heroes Day and October 25th for Army Day.
5.Snagov Monastery. This little monastery located on an island in the middle of Snagov lake holds the tomb of Vlad the Impaler. The tiny stone church has a great history and fabulous Orthodox frescoes are definitely worth a visit. Legend says that Vlad was beheaded in the woods around Bucharest when fighting the Turks. The enemies took the head as a war trophy, after the battle the monks brought his body to the monastery to be buried and finally find peace.
6.Bran Castle aka Dracula’s Castle. Although Vlad never lived in this castle, there is a small connection between the price and this great medieval dwelling: Vlad’s grandfather was castellan of Bran, which was a great honor for the Wallachian ruler. Secondly it is said that Vlad spent a few nights in the castle when fighting the Germans and Hungarians in Transylvania, trying to liberate the territory of foreign control. For the legend or for the history do not miss this castle. Read more HERE
7.Huniady Castle. Another fantastic medieval Transylvanian dwelling that I definitely recommend visiting. Legend says that Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned in the dungeons of this castle after being accused of treason by Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary.
8.House of Dracula in Sighisoara. Sighisoara is the most medieval town in Transylvania with narrow cobblestone streets and colorful houses, with defense towers and stone walls that make you feel like a time traveler to the 1500. The town is divided in two, lower town with buildings dating the 18th and 19th century and the upper town, the former medieval citadel that is a splendid UNESCO site and gives you a chance to see how people were living in the middle ages between the protective walls of a fortress. Sighisoara is the birth place of Vlad, you can visit the yellow house where he was born in 1431 and where he lived with his family until the age of 4, when his father became ruler of Wallachia and moved to the capital of Targoviste.
9.Brasov. Vlad lived for some time in Brasov, apparently for economical and political reasons and also to keep an eye on Dan, a pretender to the throne of Wallachia, member of noble family and rival to Vlad. Read more about visiting Brasov HERE