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Transylvania Day Trip from Bucharest: In Search of Count Dracula

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    What to Expect
    Start the morning with a drive from Bucharest towards Targoviste, to explore the former capital of Wallachia during Vlad the Impaler's time. In 1459, from his royal court in Targoviste, Vlad The Impaler refused to pay tribute to the Ottoman Empire. He won one memorable victory against the Ottomans when he disguised himself as a janissary and attacked the Ottoman army camped near Targoviste. Vlad Dracula built Chindia Tower, the landmark of the city, for surveillance and defense purposes. It was partly built on a church and is 27 meters high and 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.

    Next stop will be at Curtea de Arges, the former capital of Wallachia. The town`s strongholds were rebuilt in the 14th century. See its princely church and frescoed interior which is one of the first examples of Romanian paintings. The Episcopal Church (the monastery) is a recreation of the original built in 1512 -1517 by prince Neagoe Basarab (rebuilt in 1875 - 1885).

    The tour concludes with a visit to Poenari Fortress. Standing on a cliff but now in ruins this is known as the real castle of Dracula (Vlad Tepes). To get to the top you must climb up its 1400 steps (takes approx. 30 minutes). Once you arrive at the top of the castle you will find that it is surprisingly small; one third collapsed down the mountainside in 1888. However, entering through a narrow wooden bridge, you come across the crumbling remains of two towers within; the prism shaped one was Vlad`s (Dracula`s) residential quarters. From here, according to the legend, Vlad the Impaler`s wife flung herself from the window, declaring that it was better to die than be captured by the Turks, who were besieging the castle. Legend has it that Vlad himself escaped over the mountains on horseback. Finally, return back to Bucharest where your trip ends.
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