Vlad the Impaler, also known as Drăculea or Dracula, excited a lot of us into starting a search of discovering the origins of the story, character and more important the real areas he has been through along the years.
For this reason, Bran castle has less to do with Vlad and more to do with the fantasy of Bram Stoker to create an idyllic location for a fictional count. However, there are locations that Vlad really used and all of them are easy to visit in and out of Bucharest in one day. So let’s check them out together shall we? 😀
1. Old court of Bucharest
The first stop would be the Old Royal Court in Bucharest with it’s oldest orthodox church St. Anthony. Being about 500 years old, it was the area where Vlad was crown prince of Walachia and the first citadel that he used. Most of the ruins are now under restoration for an upcoming museum but you can still visit the church everyday and is opened until 20:00. We also cover it on our free walking tour ;).
2. The Royal Court of Targoviste
Then we should take the train to Targoviste – the real citadel of Vlad the Impaler. This was an older court raised by his grandfather Mircea the Wise which Vlad eventually used till the end of his reign.
The first useful information is the train website, where you can buy tickets online, or you can simply go directly to Gara de Nord and procure them at any ticket post. The price is around 12 Lei. Good to know is that the best option to take is the 09:00 o’clock train, with a duration of about 2 hours and you can take any train back from 13:00 / 14:00 or 15:00.
Program: Monday – Sunday
Visiting hours: 09:00 – 17:00
Ticket price: 12 Lei
As an advice, you can spend about 2 hours around the court (The tower, the dungeons and the church) then you can have lunch close to the court choosing from the several restaurants in the area before continuing towards the next location.
3. Comana Monastery
Next and last stop on our Vlad’s trail is Comana Monastery. Now this is about 1 hour away and only accessible by car. It was built by Vlad the Impaler around 1460 and served as a fortified church outside of Bucharest. Only a part of the original wall is still standing as the rest was rebuilt in the 1500-1700’s. The most important thing about it is that this is the presumed location of Vlad’s burial ground. Story has it, that his last battle took place close to Comana monastery and during the battle some of his corrupt landlords stabbed him in the back, chopped his head off, and sent it as a prize to the Sultan. Now historians say that the rest of his body was buried by his most loyal knights at Comana. For this reason there is a tomb outside of the church but with no marking of his coat of arms on it. However in the ‘70’s archaeologists discovered a headless leader with elements of royalty on him but we still have to wait for the DNA test to confirm it. In conclusion, 70 % of all historians, recent findings and matches done are close to the idea that Vlad is buried here.
While you are there check also Comana adventure park (filled with tree climbing and zip lines), for a bit of adventure before you come back to Bucharest.
A full day discovery of the real locations that Vlad has passed. Good hunting 😉
Photo credit: Our colleague Mihaela