We’re following Dracula, towards Bucharest, the city that was documented first during his reign, in 1459.
Highlights: The Royal Court of Targoviste, Snagov Monastery.
The Royal Court of Targoviste, the former capital of Wallachia. It was built in the 14th century and strengthened by Mircea cel Batran’s (Mircea the Old) time and used as fortification and residence by the next rulers of Wallachia; among the construction that are still standing today we mention: the Royal Church built by Petru Cercel in 1584 and the famous and beautiful Chindia Tower, built by Dracula, in the 1450’s.
The court ensemble includes the Museum of Printing and Old Romanian Book, an imposing New-Romanian style building which houses rare manuscripts about religion and school system, since the 16th century onwards, also a 18th century print.
Close to Bucharest we pay a visit to Snagov Monastery - an oasis of tranquility in the middle of nature, the presuming tomb of Dracula. As it was his life, veiled in mystery, so the death.
The monastery, located on an island by Snagov lake represents an architectural gem of feudal art, important for the Wallachia spirituality and culture during the Middle Ages. The beginnings are traced back to the 13th century, when a small chapel was built, then in 1456 Dracula decided to develop the construction, adding also a prison for traitors, a connection bridge to the earth, and an underwater refuge tunnel (which doesn’t exist anymore).
The main church lasted since the 16th century, during the time of Neagoe Basarab (1521), being refurbished a century later by Matei Basarab, which endowed the settlement with a printing press. The interior frescoes, representing some religious moments as well important leaders of Wallachia represent one of the largest mural ensembles from the Middle Ages, preserved in a church from this region.
We know that Dracula was either murdered in a battle against the Turks, or assassinated by the Wallachian boyars which were against his leading style, in 1476. The head was sent at Istanbul and the body buried in a place which is still a mystery. One version states that the monks buried him in this remote setting, with an additional precaution: the body was placed deep beneath the church floor. Above his tomb they created a false grave and filled it with animal bones; so, the archeological findings from 1933 reveal only the latter.
Return to Bucharest by evening.