DACRE STOKER – the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker – loves visiting sites associated with Dracula – and the real-life inspiration Vlad the Impaler – in Romania.
Here are some of Dacre’s favourite sites you must see if you ever visit the land beyond the forest!
These are some of my favourite places to visit so I include them on tours that I lead to Romania. These are sites associated with the reign of Vlad Dracula lll or are places that Bram Stoker decided to use in his novel Dracula.
1.) Sighisoara, Mures County
Visit the 12th century UNESCO World Heritage walled city and you can see the birthplace of Vlad Dracula which has been turned into a restaurant and Museum inside the historic clock Tower. It includes a dungeon with display of torture devices!
2.) Curte Veche, Princely Palace Bucharest
This Old Princely Court of Vlad Dracula in Bucharest was built as a place or residence during the rule of Vlad III Dracula in 1459. Archaeological excavations started in 1953 and now the site is operated by the Muzeul Municipiului Bucuresti in the historic centre of Bucharest.
3.) Targoviste, Princely Court of Vlad Dracula lll, Targoviste Dambovita County
The 14th century fortress and Royal Court of Targoviste, was also the former Voievodal residence of Wallachiam and is by far one of the most important and representative historical monuments in Romania for tourists. Within the fortress stands the impressive Chindia Tower built in the 15th century.
4.) Bran Castle, Brasov
Inspiration for the fictional Castle Dracula, it is a national monument and landmark in Romania. The fortress is situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. There is much debate whether Vlad Dracula ever resided or held captive here.
5.) Viscri Saxon Village, 14th Century Fortified Church and Museum
This is the village where Prince Charles owns two small cottages. It is a lovely quaint small village that makes you feel like you have time travelled back about 400 years.
6.) Hunadoara/Corvin Castle
Hunadoara/Corvin Castle was laid out in 1446, when construction began at the orders of John Hunyadi who wanted to transform the former keep built by Charles I of Hungary. The castle was originally given to John Hunyadi‘s father, Voyk, by Sigismund, King of Hungary, as severance in 1409. Vlad III of Wallachia (commonly known as Vlad the Impaler) was held prisoner by John Hunyadi, Hungary’s military leader and regent during the King’s minority, for seven years after Vlad was deposed in 1462.
7.) Poenari Fortress, Arefu Arges County
Poenari Fortress was erected around the beginning of the 13th century by the rulers of Walachia. Around the 14th century, Poenari was the main citadel of the Basarab. In the next few decades, the name and the residents changed a few times but eventually the castle was abandoned and left in ruins. However, in the 15th century, realizing the potential for a castle perched high on a steep precipice of rock, Vlad III the Impaler repaired and consolidated the structure, making it one of his main fortresses.
8.) Curtea de Argeş
Curtea de Argeş was an early capital of Wallachia, and these ruins from the 14th century mark the spot where the court once stood. The main sight is St Nicholas Church, which dates from the time of Basarab I (1310–52). Many of the frescoes are originals. The tomb of early ruler Vladislav I Vlaicu (d 1377) stands in the main room. Vlaicu’s tomb was first discovered and exhumed in the 1920s. The wall paintings, painstakingly restored in the early 20th century, merit closer inspection. In the main room to the right, just below the upper window, look for a rare painting of a pregnant Mary dating from 1370.
9.) Snagov Monastery
The main attraction of Snagov is now the Snagov monastery, one of the alleged burial sites of Vlad the Impaler, which is located on an island on the northern part of the lake. The village was built around the Snagov monastery, where it is believed that Vlad Ţepeş, or Vlad the Impaler, was killed by the Janissaries during a battle between Wallachian and Ottoman forces and then his head taken to Istanbul as proof of his death.
10.) Borgo Pass
This is a lovely mountainous region, where the fictional Castle Dracula is located in the novel Dracula. Plan to stay at the Hotel Castle Dracula, it was built to resemble a castle in 1983 by Alexander Misiuga, during Communist times when the authorities disapproved of linking touristic venues to Bram Stoker’s vampire novel. This comfortable three-star hotel is managed by the same company that erected the Coroana de Aur (Golden Crown) hotel in Bistritz.
Bonus: Hotel Transylvania 20 Str Regele Ferdinand, Cluj
In the city of Cluj is presently a small hotel with nice outdoor restaurant and bar that sits on the site of the Hotel Royale that appeared in Dracula. They serve a meal Paprikahendl, (chicken flavored with the spice paprika) similar to that which Jonathan Harker enjoyed on his first night in Transylvania.
DACRE STOKER is the great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker and the best-selling co-author of Dracula the Un-Dead (Dutton, 2009), the official Stoker family-endorsed sequel to Dracula. Dacre is also the co-editor (with Elizabeth Miller) of The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker: The Dublin Years (Robson Press, 2012). A native of Montreal, Canada, Dacre taught Physical Education and Sciences for 22 years, in both Canada and the US. He has participated in the sport of Modern Pentathlon as an athlete and a coach at the international and Olympic levels for Canada for 12 years. He is an avid player and coach of the unique game of Court Tennis. He currently lives in Aiken, South Carolina, with his wife Jenne where they manage the Bram Stoker Estate.