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Poenari Castle (Dracula’s Castle)

Poenari Castle, also known as Poenari Citadel, is a ruined castle situated in the valley formed by the Arges River, close to the Fagaras Mountains. It is placed on inaccessible hillside. The castle was founded in the 13th century by the first rulers of Wallachia. In the 14th century it was the fortress of the rulers of Bessarabia, in the next decades fell into ruin before being finally abandoned. In the 15th century its potential was noticed by Vlad the Impaler who rebuilt and strengthened the walls of the fortress, making the castle one of his main fortresses.

Prince Dracula

And now the brief history of Vlad the Impaler who is known as Prince Dracula...

Vlad III the Impaler (Romanian Vlad Tepes, pronounced [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ], or Vlad Draculea) was born in 1431 and died in 1476. Vlad the Impaler was born in Sighisoara, Transylvania, as the second son of the voivode of Wallachia Vlad Dracul. His father was a member of the Order of the Dragon founded by Sigismund of Luxemburg to defend Christianity against the increasingly powerful Ottoman Empire. He owed his epithet (“Draco” – “Dragon”, turned into “Dracul” – “Devil”) to this fact. Vlad the Impaler gained the nickname “Draculea” (“Dracula”), widespread then by the legend, which simply meant the son of the Dragon or the son of the Devil (there is a restaurant in the house of Dracula’s birth today). (more)

Dracula’s fortress was impregnable

Although the castle was used for many years after King Vlad’s death in 1476, it finally was abandoned again in the first half of the 16th century and was ruined in the 17th century. Due to its size and location, it was difficult to conquer and destroy the castle. However, in 1888, the landslide ruined one part of the castle, which crashed into the river. Nevertheless, the castle was quickly repaired: the walls and towers stand there until today.

And even today it is challenging to climb the ruins. You need to climb as many as 1,480 steep steps to reach them...

The way seems to have no end... the stairs are getting steeper and there is hope... finally you can see the end... Once you reach “the gates of the ruins” enjoying the panorama of the area will be your reward... And probably the awareness that the famous Dracula stayed among those ruins removes the tiredness into the background. The legend of Dracula lives on over hundreds of years... The legend, which made Transylvania into the most popular land in the whole of Romania among foreign tourists...

Where did the vampire legend come from?

...well, Vlad fell into trap set by his brother Radu. It was he who began to besiege the Poenari Castle. Seeing the hopelessness of the situation, hospodar’s wife plunged to her death from a window, committing suicide. And Vlad disappeared... literally he sank into a hole in the ground. The winners didn’t find him or his body. This is how the legend of the vampire was born, especially as every few months someone reported that he saw the Impaler sneaking around the area... he was a vampire and a devil simply during his lifetime...

And the people of the towns in the area live by his legend...

The author of the article: Iwona Jóźwiak