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In the 15th century, realising the potential for a castle perched high on a steep precipice of rock, Vlad III the Impaler repaired and consolidated the structure by enslaving his enemies from the nobility of the Danubian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, making it one of his main fortresses.
Vlad forced the young boyars and their wives and children to build the Poienari Castle. The legend of the Poienari Castle was mentioned in 1747 by Neofit I, Metropolitan of Ungro–Wallachia, who complimented it with the story of Meșterul Manole, who allegedly walled in his bride to prevent the crumbling of the walls of the castle during the building project.
Rebuilding the former Castle Arges on the left side of the river with stones from the older Castle Poenari, which was on the right bank and somewhat lower.
Although the castle was used for many years after Vlad's death in 1476, it eventually was abandoned again in the first half of the 16th century and was in ruins by the 17th century.
The size and location of the castle made it difficult to conquer.
On January 13, 1913, a landslide caused by an earthquake brought down parts of the castle which crashed into the river far below.
After two further earthquakes in 1940 and 1977 that caused further damage, it was slightly repaired and the walls and its towers still stand today.
Since 2009, the site has been administered by the Argeș County Museum.
În vremuri de restriste si razboaie,
Când hoardele pagâne dadeau roaita,
Ai nostri domnitori din tata-n fiu,
Sa tina piept ostirilor straine,
Puneau la manastiri piatra pe piatra.
Calugareni-s astazi marturie
A luptelor purtate de Mihai:
Când vrut-a Sinan sa ocupe tara,
Cazu în mlastina straina
Cu tot c-ostire, trâmbite si-alai.
Pe Neajlov, lânga codru, mai la vale,
Spre slava Domnului, în chip de jertfa,
A ridicat Vlad Tepes manastire,
Înconjurând-o apoi ca o cetate,
Cu ziduri trainice de aparare.
Comana-i o reduta ridicata între ape,
Dusmanului sa-i fie greu de cucerit
Având pe Dumnezeu si-n slujbe si la oaste
Si tine piept vrajmasilor ce aprig
Necontenit la tara noastra au râvnit.
Comana-i manastire seculara,
Odihna-n veci a sute de eroi
Si domnitori ce ostenitu-s-au în viata,
Zidind biserici cînd erau pe pace
Si dându-si viata când era razboi.
Acum, când pacea ne distruge tara
Si-i libertate mult prea multa în fapte si cuvânt,
Bisericile noastre-s mai mult goale
Cu preoti ce tin predici la sfintii din icoane,
Iar cei ce conduc tara mintind sub juramânt.
Acum se rasuceste Tepes în mormânt
Îndurerat ca tara ni-i goala si vânduta
Si rasturnând cinci veacuri de pamânt
Se-ntoarce iar pe glia de-a pururi încercata
În care doar speranta nu moare niciodata.
Si trâmbita îsi face din clopotele turlei
Sa sune pretutindeni din cer pâna-n mormânt
Ostirea-i sa se scoale, pe câmpuri sa se-adune,
Caci numai Tepes poate s-aduca izbavire,
Dreptate si credinta si pace pe pamânt.
The lands ruled, Circa 1390 by Vlad Dracul's father, Mircea I of Wallachia. Fiefs (“property given in return for loyalty”)
Tokat Castle, is an ancient citadel with 28 towers built on top of a rocky peak in the center of Tokat, Turkey. While its first residents are unknown, the city's history dates back to 3,000 BC. The Hittites and Persians ruled over the area.
Impaling the 20,000 Turks at Tarvogiste.
The resurrection of Vlad III from the grave:
Mihai Eminescu, dedicated a historic ballad, called The Third Letter, to the valiant princes of Wallachia.
He urges Vlad Țepeș to return from the grave and to annihilate the enemies of the Romanian nation:
You must come, O dread Impaler, confound them to your care.
Split them in two partitions, here the fools, the rascals there;
Shove them into two enclosures from the broad daylight enisle 'em,
Then set fire to the prison and the lunatic asylum.
— Mihai Eminescu: The Third Letter
Vlad III was born in 1431, allegedly in a town called Sighișoara in Wallachia which is now called Transylvania, the central region of what is now modern-day Romania.
This Cafe bar and museum opposite is the alleged actual place of Vlad's birth.
Vlad III's father, Vlad II, did own a residence in Sighişoara, Transylvania, but it is not certain that Vlad III was born there.
It's also possible, that Vlad the Impaler was born in Târgovişte, which was at that time the royal seat of the principality of Wallachia, where his father was a "voivode," or ruler.
Poenari Castle Floor plan
It’s said that his first wife, Jusztina Szilagyi of Moldavia, flung herself from the towers of Poenari during a siege by Vlad’s muslim brother, Radu Bey. Before flinging herself into the Arges River below, she exclaimed she would rather rot and be eaten by the fish than to be a captive of the Turks.
In the end the walls of Poenari would not keep Dracul the Dragon safe, but it was not the fortress that failed him.
Vlad’s brother Radu cel Frumos was given the daunting task of leading the Ottoman Empire to victory, which positioned him directly at odds with his infamously brutal older brother.
While Vlad could not be defeated in battle, his habit of alienating allies and undermining their authority became his downfall.
After running out of money for his mercenaries, he went to his supposed friends for help, and they quickly betrayed him, and had him arrested for high treason. Here lies the next castle (Hunerdoara) you will have to visit if you follow Vlads trail.
While he managed to untangle himself and went on to declare a third reign, it was an uphill battle that eventually killed him, and he never returned to his castle on the hill. (and No, this was not the inspiration for Ed Sheeran to write "Castle on the Hill").
The tomb depicts engravings of the dragon (Order of the Dragon?) in the Marble of the tomb.
Coincidentally, Bram Stoker, the Irish author who wrote the book “Dracula,” which was inspired by the stories of Vlad Dracul, lived in Naples in 1875. Maybe he visited Vlad’s tomb in the church?
Built in the 13th century, the church was heavily renovated in the late 1500s after being battered by earthquakes and an explosion from the nearby St. Elmo Castle. Its highlights include an ornate main altar, a gilded ceiling and a slew of Renaissance frescoes.
And, of course, there’s what might be Vlad Dracul's tomb.
It was believed that the corpse of Vlad Țepeș III Dracula, beheaded, was buried in a monastery on the island of Snagov, near Bucharest. But the headstone in question does not contain mortal remains of the count, but only animal bones. So the case still remains unresolved.
The theory that Dracula's remains are in Naples evolves thanks to the researcher Raffaello Glinni.
From the analysis of Italian manuscripts from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, he came to hypothesize that Maria Balsa, an aristocratic transplanter in the Kingdom of Naples, could be the secret daughter of Voivoda Vlad Țepeș, escaped as a child to the persecution of the Turks.
It is claimed that the princess of Slavic origin would have found asylum in the Kingdom thanks to the mediation of Ferdinand I and that her name was changed to avoid that her real lineage might frighten future claimants. The remains of the father, died in battle, would have been taken by Mary to bury them in the city of Naples.
The engravings on the tomb better fit Vlad than the Italian noble who has long been thought to be entombed there.
Other clues have been provided from the thesis of the PhD candidate Erika Stella, who analyzed the tomb present in the cloister of the Complex of Santa Maria la Nova.
It is a large marble tomb before inserted into the church, revealing several symbols actually extraneous to the subject officially buried inside, the noble Mattia Ferrillo.
On the tomb stands a gigantic knight helmet surmounted by a dragon head and placed between two opposing sphinxes.
Also Glinni, at the sight of those images, came to argue that the marble tomb should belong to a knight of the Order of the Dragon, of which was part Dracula's father.
The Dragon is the seal of the Order of the Dragon, while the two opposite sphinxes probably refer to the name of the Egyptian city of Tebe, also associated with "Țepeș" and thus recalling the name of Vlad Țepeș or Vlad Dracul.
Another connection with the land of which Vlad Dracul was prince, is the coat of arms present on the tomb of Naples and the crypt of Acerenza:
Two paired up dolphins, coat of arms of the Dobruja, a region of Romania adjacent to Valacchia, governed by Vlad Țepeș.
It was also the place where he won the battle against the Turks.
The coat of arms may thus have a celebratory value of this victory, as would also be highlighted by the warrior represented on the top of the tomb, with the symbol of the Order of the Dragon.
The main emblem is the seal for the Order of the Dragon, to which Vlad’s father belonged. (Dracula means son of the dragon.) Two paired dolphins may refer to the coat of arms of Dobruja, Romania, where Vlad won a battle against the Ottomans. And a scholar has decoded part of an encrypted epigraph behind the tomb as “Blad” — read as Vlad — and “Balkan.” The rest of the decryption is still evolving.
Heat mysteriously radiates from the tomb. You can feel it. Take a thermal Imaging camera with you.
How incongruous it would be if Vlad Țepeș really does lie buried in Santa Maria la Nova — a murderous ruler who inspired an unholy literary figure entombed at a site of religious devotion.
Another place to put on the growing lists of places to investigate the Great Vlad Țepeș, Vlad the Impaler.
Address: Via Santa Maria la Nova 44, Naples, Italy
TIMES: 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
INFORMATION: Parking: Available at streetside and nearby parking garages.
All information correct as of 1st August 2020.
Scholars now say the headless body of Vlad Țepeș, aka Vlad the Impaler, may have been interred more than half a millennium ago at the Church of Santa Maria la Nova in the centre of Naples, Italy.
Originally his burial place was unknown. Vlad was long thought to have been interred at a monastery near Bucharest, but excavations there in 1933 found no tomb beneath the unmarked grave thought to be his.
Some scholars have hypothesized that the aristocrat Maria Balsa, possibly Vlad’s daughter, fled to Naples together with his remains and put them in a marble sarcophagus in the church.
The castle is located on the plateau of Mount Cetatea, facing the west side of the Transfăgărășan, on a canyon formed on the Argeș River valley, close to the Făgăraș Mountains.
In 1476, before 10 January 1477. While marching to yet another battle with the Ottomans, Vlad and a small vanguard of soldiers were ambushed, and Vlad was killed and beheaded — by most reports, his head was delivered to Mehmed II in Constantinople as a trophy to be displayed above the city's gates.
Vlad was killed in battle before 10 January 1477. He was beheaded, his head was taken to Constantinople (now called Istanbul).
Vlad's body was returned to Wallachia where it is said to rest in the grounds of the Comana Monastery.
VLAD THE IMPALER
Tens of thousands killed
In total, Vlad is estimated to have killed about 80,000 people through various means.
This includes some 20,000 people who were impaled and put on display outside the city of Targoviste:
The sight was so repulsive that the invading Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, after seeing the scale of Vlad's carnage and the thousands of decaying bodies being picked apart by crows, turned back and retreated to Constantinople.
Sultan Mehmed II witnessing the scale of Vlad's carnage and the thousands of decaying bodies
Comana Monastery is a Romanian Orthodox monastery in Comana, Giurgiu County, Romania. In 1461, the original Comana Monastery was founded and built by Vlad Țepeș as a monastery-fortress.
Address: Strada Radu Șerban nr. 392, Comana, Romania
Thursday Open 24 hours
Friday Open 24 hours
Phone: +40 246 283 075
Burials: Vlad the Impaler, Pârvu Cantacuzino
It is possible for tourists to visit one castle where Vlad III certainly spent time. At about age 11, Vlad III and his younger brother Radu were imprisoned here.
In 2014, archaeologists found the likely location of the dungeon the boy Princes of Vlad II were held, hostage.
Tokat Castle (below), is located in northern Turkey. So you will need to make extra travel plans if you are already in Romania.
It is an eerie place with secret tunnels and dungeons that is currently under restoration and open to the public.
The Comana Monastery, located in Comana Commune of Giurgiu County, was founded by Vlad Tepes in 1461, as a monastery-fortress, but fell into ruin before the end of the 16th century.
The place that the monastery was raised on used to be an island, in the middle of swamps and access was a gate to the North of the precincts, after crossing a wooden bridge, easy to burn in case of danger.
The Câlnistea River that flows in the Eastern part of the Comana village, meets the Comana swamp that it crosses and from which it separates in front of the monastery. In front of the Comana village, a water arm separates, surrounds the island and goes back to the old water bed.
His body was buried, of course, near the battlefield, in the church, he had founded at Comana monastery, pulled down however in 1588 when Serban the cup-bearer (Radu Serban) built the second monastery of Comana, the one that we can see today.
But first, the head needs to be returned to the grave where the body of Vlad III lay here at the Comona Monastery.
Vlad III — never owned anything in Transylvania.
Bran Castle, a modern-day tourist attraction in Transylvania that is often (and wrongly) referred to as Dracula's castle, but this was never the residence of the Wallachian prince.
"Because the castle is in the mountains in this foggy area and it looks spooky, it's what one would expect of Dracula's castle,
But he (Vlad III) never lived there. He never even stepped foot there." So to investigate this castle would be a waste of your time, money and energy.
Poenari Castle. (Romanian pronunciation: (po.eˈnarʲ), also known as Poenari Citadel (Cetatea Poenari in Romanian), is a ruined castle in Romania which was a home of Vlad the Impaler.
Access to the citadel is made by climbing the 1,480 concrete stairs.
Location: Arefu, Argeș County, Romania (Incidentally, it is 200km away from Bran Castle).
Alternative names: Citadel of Țepeș Vodă; Citadel of Negru Vodă
Architect: Negru Vodă
There are no such things as "Vampires", well not as Bram Stoker portrays this Legend and ruler of Wallachia in his "Dracula" story of this great man.
You may want to take a look at our page on elementals for conjuring demons.
Vlad was the second son of Vlad II Dracul.
In 1442, the ruler of Wallachia (now part of present-day Romania) embarked on a diplomatic mission into the heart of the Ottoman Empire.
It was a leap of faith for Vlad II, who had pledged to defend Christianity in Eastern Europe against the Ottomans 11 years earlier when he joined the fellowship of knights known as the Order of the Dragon.
Now, however, the man who had been given the surname Dracul (which means “dragon” in Romanian) by his fellow knights needed the help of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II to fight a rival from the neighbouring territory of Transylvania.
So Vlad II journeyed to make his plea in person along with his two princes—7-year-old Radu and 11-year-old Vlad III, also known by the patronymic name Dracula (“son of Dracul”).
Vlad II ultimately received the military support he sought from the Ottomans, but it came at a price.
In addition to an annual tribute, the Wallachian ruler agreed to leave his two sons behind as political prisoners to ensure his loyalty.
The boys were held hostage in a picturesque citadel high atop a rocky precipice lording over the town of Tokat, which had been conquered by the Seljuk Turks at the end of the 12th century and incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1392.
During his five years of captivity inside the fortress, the bile festered inside young Vlad III and his hatred of the Ottomans surged.
After his release and eventual succession to the Wallachian throne, the older prince’s venom against the Ottoman Empire would be unleashed in such a brutal fashion that centuries later he is known simply as Vlad the Impaler and the real-life inspiration for a classic horror tale.
Now, according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News, archaeologists working on the restoration of Tokat Castle in northern Turkey have discovered two dungeons where the Ottomans held Vlad the Impaler hostage. The dungeons inside the ancient fortress were “built like a prison,” archaeologist Ibrahim Cetin told the Turkish newspaper. “It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept,” Cetin admitted, “but he was around here.”
In addition to the two dungeons that held Dracula, archaeologists have also unearthed a military shelter and a secret tunnel believed to have been used to access a nearby Roman bath. “The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels,” Cetin said. “It is very mysterious.”
What isn’t as mysterious is what happened to the Transylvania-born Vlad III after his release from Tokat Castle around the time his father and older brother Mircea were brutally killed in 1447. Vlad spent the rest of his life fighting to claim his father's title.
Vlad III ascended to the throne in 1456 and maintained his barbaric rule through torture, mutilation and mass murder.
Victims were disembowelled, beheaded and skinned or boiled alive.
By 1462 he was at war with the Ottomans.
With the enemy on the advance with a force three times the size of his own, Vlad III hid in the Romanian forests and relied on savage guerilla tactics.
His forces poisoned wells, burned crops and paid diseased men to infiltrate Ottoman ranks and pass along their pestilence.
It was a gruesome mass killing, however, that led to his posthumous nickname when he ordered 20,000 defeated Ottomans to be impaled on wooden stakes outside the city of Targoviste.
When a horrified Sultan Mehmed II came upon the forest of the dead being picked apart by crows, he retreated to Constantinople.
Hungarian forces captured Vlad the Impaler later that year, and he was imprisoned for the second time in his life.
Most historians believe his later captivity occurred in Romania and lasted more than a decade, although the exact location and length have been disputed. Vlad the Impaler reclaimed the Wallachian throne after the death of his younger brother Radu in 1475, but it was a short-lived reign as he was believed to have been killed in battle against the Ottomans in 1476.
The legend of Vlad the Impaler’s brutality grew after his death as stories spread that he dined on the impaled bodies of his victims and even dipped his bread into their blood.
The dark tales apparently served as inspiration for Irish novelist Bram Stoker who in 1897 penned a Gothic novel about a vampire who shared a Transylvanian birthplace and nickname with Vlad the Impaler—Dracula.
It is our ambition to investigate the Vlad Tepes Triangle, keeping away from the tourist traps, to provide a comprehensive investigation of the main areas of Vlad Țepeș rule.
We could say through the gift of hindsight the exact year Vlad III downfall began:
Though Vlad is widely credited with bringing order and stability to Wallachia, his rule was undisputedly vicious: Dozens of Saxon merchants in Kronstadt, who were once allied with the boyars, were also impaled in 1459.
The Ottoman Turks were never far from Vlad's thoughts — or his borders.
When diplomatic envoys had an audience with Vlad in 1459, the diplomats declined to remove their hats, citing a religious custom. Commending them on their religious devotion, Vlad ensured that their hats would forever remain on their heads by having the hats nailed to the diplomats' skulls.
During one of his many successful campaigns against the Ottomans, Vlad wrote to a military ally in 1462, "I have killed peasants, men and women, old and young, who lived at Oblucitza and Novoselo, where the Danube flows into the sea … We killed 23,884 Turks, without counting those whom we burned in homes or the Turks whose heads were cut by our soldiers ...Thus, your highness, you must know that I have broken the peace."
Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula, was Voivode of Wallachia three times between 1448 and his death.
He is often considered one of the most important rulers in Wallachian history and a national hero of Romania.
He was the second son of Vlad Dracul, who became the ruler of Wallachia in 1436.
Adults - 31 lei
Student - 7 Lei ( based on the student card for the current year )
Student - 7 Lei ( based on the student card for the current year )
Retirees - 16 Lei (based on pension coupon)
Fee Photo - 5 Lei
Video Fee - 156 Lei
Guide Fee - 31 Lei: Romanian language , 63 lei: foreign language (English / French / Hungarian)
Photo Album / Operator Fee - 115 Lei / hour
Fees for groups :
Organized group: minimum 20 people;
- Adults - 26 lei / pers.
-Pensioners - 10 lei / pers.
-Pupils / Students - 5 lei / pers.
Free access :
A disabled child and the person accompanying him/her.
An adult with a mild or severe disability and the person accompanying him/her.
Organizations whose only activity is the free provision of social services.
Information for visiting the castle:
Monday: 12:00 to 20:30
Tuesday - Sunday: 9.00 - 20.30
CAREFUL! LAST ENTRY IS MADE AT 19.45
PET ACCESS IS NOT ALLOWED.
Visiting Corvin Castle requires more attention from you!
The architecture of stairs and access roads can be dangerous for children, the elderly and people with locomotor difficulties.
Please pay attention to the high-rise sectors!
Do not lean over the parapets!
Avoid congestion on balconies, stairs and high galleries!
Do not leave children unattended!
For information about your trip to Hunedoara and other objectives in the city, you can request information at:
Hunedoara Tourist Information Center
Tel / Fax +40.354.880.011
Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle (Romanian: Castelul Huniazilor or Castelul Corvinilor; Hungarian: Vajdahunyadi vár), is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, Romania.
It is one of the largest castles in Europe and figures in a list of the Seven Wonders of Romania.
Bram Stoker’s character, Dracula, is a Transylvanian Count with a castle located high above a valley perched on a rock with a flowing river below in the Principality of Transylvania.
This character is often confused with Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), sometimes known as Vlad Dracul, who was a Walachian Prince with a castle, now in ruins, located in the Principality of Wallachia.
Because Bran Castle is the only castle in all of Transylvania that actually fits Bram Stoker’s description of Dracula’s Castle, it is known throughout the world as Dracula’s Castle.
Chapter 2, May 5 of “Dracula” describes the Count’s castle as “. . . on the very edge of a terrific precipice . . . with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm (with) silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests.”
Bram Stoker never visited Romania. (Just as Vlad III never set foot in Bran Castle).
He depicted the imaginary Dracula’s castle based upon a description of Bran Castle that was available to him in turn-of-the-century Britain. Indeed, the imaginary depiction of Dracula’s Castle from the etching in the first edition of “Dracula” is strikingly similar to Bran Castle and no other in all of Romania. Stoker is widely purported to have used the illustration of Bran Castle in Charles Boner’s book.
In the villages near Bran, there is a belief in the existence of evil spirits called ghosts or “steregoi” (a variant of “strigoi”).
Until half a century ago, it was believed that there existed certain living people – “strigoi” – who were leading a normal life during the day but at night, during their sleep, their souls left their bodies and haunted the village tormenting people in their sleep.
These evil spirits haunt their prey from midnight until the first cockcrow when their power to harm people faded.
“The undead (i.e., ghosts, vampires) suffer from the curse of immortality,” writes Stoker, “they pass from one period to another, multiplying their victims, augmenting the evil in the world…” The Dracula character derives from these local myths.
IF you do want to visit, here are the details.
Address: Str. General Traian Mosoiu, nr. 24, Bran, Romania
GPS coordinates N 45.515178°, E 25.367044°
TICKET PRICES | HIGH SEASON (JULY 1 - AUGUST 31)
Adults: 45Lei (9€)
Seniors (65+): 35Lei (7€)
Students: 25Lei (5€)
Children: 10Lei (2 €)
School groups (>20pax): 5Lei (1€)
FREE / REDUCED ADMISSION
Free access for disabled and/or institutionalised guests.
Free access for children under 7 years old.
Senior discount is granted for people over 65 years old when showing their identity card.
Student ID is required in order to get the child or student discount.
Medieval Torture Instruments: 10Lei (2€)
Time Tunnel: 20Lei (4€)
NB: The tickets purchased on spot are valid for the issue date only.
FILMING / PHOTOGRAPHY
The amateur photo/video pass are both included in the basic ticket.
Professional filming/photography requires a signed contract.
The charge is based on a customised offer.
It was at Corvin Castle where Vlad went to Transylvania to seek assistance from Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, in late 1462, but Corvinus had him imprisoned instead for crimes against the people. (Vlad was held in captivity in Visegrád from 1463 to 1475).
Matthias Corvinus came to Transylvania in November 1462. The negotiations between Corvinus and Vlad lasted for weeks, but Corvinus did not want to wage war against the Ottoman Empire. At the king's order, his Czech mercenary commander, John Jiskra of Brandýs, captured Vlad near Rucăr in Wallachia. Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, in late 1462, had him imprisoned instead. (Vlad was held in captivity in Visegrád from 1463 to 1475).
To provide an explanation for Vlad's imprisonment to Pope Pius II and the Venetians (who had sent money to finance a campaign against the Ottoman Empire), Corvinus presented three letters, allegedly written by Vlad on 7 November 1462, to Mehmed II, Mahmud Pasha, and Stephen of Moldavia.
According to the letters, Vlad offered to join his forces with the sultan's army against Hungary if the sultan restored him to his throne.
Most historians agree that the documents were forged to give grounds for Vlad's imprisonment.
Corvinus's court historian, Antonio Bonfini, admitted that the reason for Vlad's imprisonment was never clarified. Florescu writes,
"The style of writing, the rhetoric of meek submission (hardly compatible with what we know of Dracula's character), clumsy wording, and poor Latin"
are all evidence that the letters could not be written on Vlad's order. He associates the author of the forgery with a Saxon priest of Brașov.
Vlad was first imprisoned "in the city of Belgrade" (now Alba Iulia in Romania), according to Chalkokondyles.
Before long, he was taken to Visegrád, where he was held for fourteen years.
No documents referring to Vlad between 1462 and 1475 have been preserved. It was during this period, anecdotes about his cruelty started to spread in Germany and Italy.
In the summer of 1475, Stephen III of Moldavia sent his envoys to Matthias Corvinus, asking him to send Vlad to Wallachia against Basarab Laiotă, who had submitted himself to the Ottomans.
Stephen wanted to secure Wallachia for a ruler who had been an enemy of the Ottoman Empire, because "the Wallachians [were] like the Turks" to the Moldavians, according to his letter.
According to the Slavic stories about Vlad, he was only released after he converted to Catholicism.
He fought in Corvinus's army against the Ottomans in Bosnia in early 1476.
Hungarian and Moldavian troops helped him to force Basarab Laiotă (who had dethroned Vlad's brother, Radu) to flee from Wallachia in November. Basarab returned with Ottoman support before the end of the year.
Vlad's victories over the invading Ottomans were celebrated throughout Wallachia, Transylvania and the rest of Europe — even Pope Pius II was impressed.
But Vlad also earned a much darker reputation:
On one occasion, he reportedly dined among a veritable forest of defeated warriors writhing on impaled poles. It's not known whether tales of Vlad III Dracula dipping his bread in the blood of his victims are true, but stories about his unspeakable sadism swirled throughout Europe.
If you are not driving and wish to visit.
There are tour buses that go directly to the castle from Bucharest.
If you'd like to go on your own, the closest town is Arefu, the closest modern town is Curtea de Arges. From Curtea de Arges, you can catch a minibus to Arefu, and let the driver know you are headed for Poenari Castle. They will get you as close as possible, but there is no town too nearby the castle, so it's a walk.
There are signs, and a small but bustling tourist area with an inn, gift shop and the like to help lead the way.
Born: 1431, Sighișoara, Romania
Died: December 1476, Bucharest, Romania
Full name: Vlad III
3rd reign: December 1476 or January 1477
Buried: Comana Monastery, Comana, Romania
Spouse: Justina Szilágyi
The portrait of Vlad III, painted in the early 16th century, hangs in the museum at Castle Ambras in Innsbruck, Austria.
In times of hardship and war,
When the pagan hordes gave the wheel,
Our rulers from father to son, To
withstand foreign armies,
They put monasteries stone by stone.
Monks today are a testimony of the
battles fought by Michael:
When Sinan wanted to occupy the country, he
fell into the foreign swamp
with all his army, trumpets and processions.
On Neajlov, near the forest, further down the valley,
To the glory of the Lord, in the form of a sacrifice,
Vlad Tepes built a monastery,
Then surrounding it like a fortress,
With strong walls of defense.
Command a strong redoubt between the waters,
to make it difficult for the Enemy to conquer
Having God in service and in the army
And withstand the fierce enemies who
incessantly coveted our country.
He commanded the secular monastery, the
eternal rest of hundreds of heroes
and rulers who were tired in life,
building churches when they were at peace
and giving their lives when there was war.
Now, when peace destroys our country
And there is far too much freedom in deed and word,
Our churches are more empty
With priests preaching to the saints in the icons,
And those who lead the country lying under oath.
Now Tepes turns in the grave
Sorrowful that our country is empty and sold
And overturning five centuries of earth
He returns again to the ever-tried glia
In which only hope never dies.
And the trumpet
sounds from the bells of the tower To ring everywhere from heaven to the grave
His army to rise, to gather in the fields,
For only Tepes can bring redemption,
Justice and faith and peace on earth.
Corvin Castle was laid out in 1446, when construction began on the orders of Voivode of Transylvania John Hunyadi (Hungarian: Hunyadi János, Romanian: Iancu or Ioan de Hunedoara) who wanted to transform the former keep built by Charles I of Hungary.
The castle was originally given to John Hunyadi's father, Voyk (Vajk), by Sigismund of Luxembourg, king of Hungary and Croatia, as severance in 1409.
It was also in 1446 that John Hunyadi was elected as the regent-governor by the Diet.
Built-in a Renaissance-Gothic style and constructed over the site of an older fortification on a rock above the smaller Zlaști River, the castle is a large and imposing structure with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard, diversely coloured roofs, and myriads of windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings.
The castle also features a double wall for enhanced fortification and is flanked by both rectangular and circular towers, an architectural innovation for the period's Transylvanian architecture.
Some of the towers (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers' Tower) were used as prisons.
The Buzdugan Tower (a type of mace after which it was named) was solely built for defensive purposes and it had it's exterior decorated with geometric motifs.
The rectangular-shaped towers have large openings to accommodate larger weapons.
The castle has three large areas: the Knight's Hall, the Diet Hall and the circular stairway.
The halls are rectangular in shape and are decorated with marble.
The Diet Hall was used for ceremonies or formal receptions whilst the Knight's Hall was used for feasts.
In 1456, John Hunyadi died and work on the castle stagnated.
Starting with 1458, new commissions were being undergone to construct the Matia Wing of the castle.
In 1480, work was completely stopped on the castle and it was recognised as being one of the biggest and most impressive buildings in Eastern Europe.
The 16th century did not bring any improvements to the castle, but during the 17th century, new additions were made, for aesthetic and military purposes. Aesthetically, the new Large Palace was built facing the town.
A two-level building, it hosted a living chamber and a large living area.
For military purposes, two new towers were constructed: the White Tower and the Artillery Tower.
Also, the external yard was added, used for administration and storage.
The current castle is the result of a fanciful restoration campaign undertaken after a disastrous fire and many decades of total neglect.
It has been noted that modern "architects projected to it their own wistful interpretations of how a great Gothic castle should look".
Tourists are told that it was the place where Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia, was held prisoner by John Hunyadi, Hungary's military leader and regent during the King's minority. Later, Vlad III entered a political alliance with John Hunyadi, although the latter was responsible for the execution of his father, Vlad II Dracul. Because of these links, the Hunedoara Castle is sometimes mentioned as a source of inspiration for Castle Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 horror novel Dracula. In fact, Stoker neither knew about Vlad's alliance with Hunyadi nor about Hunyadi's castle.
In the castle yard, near the 15th-century chapel, there is a well 30 meters deep.
It is said about this fountain that it was dug by three Turkish prisoners that Ioan de Hunedoara kept in the castle. John promises the three that he will set them free if they dig a well with good water. The prisoners, animated by the hope of release, dig in the rock for 15 years and at a depth of 28 meters they manage to find the precious water.
Only in the meantime, John had died and his wife, Elisabeta Szilagyi, decided not to keep her husband's word and did not release the three Turks, deciding to kill them.
The prisoners, as a last wish, ask permission to write on the fountain keys an inscription as a reproach for a promise made and not kept.
"You have water, your heart does not"
In fact, the inscription deciphered by language specialist Mihail Guboglu reads as follows:
"The one who wrote it is Hassan, a prisoner of the ghiauri in the fortress near the church."
The ancient Arabic characters contained in the inscription is dated to the middle of the 15th century.
The current position of the inscription is on one of the buttresses of the chapel.
In October 2001, Corvin Castle was featured in an episode of Fox Family Channel's, Scariest Places on Earth, where a family was sent to the castle and had to stay in the castle overnight alone with cameras recording the events that took place.
In February 2007, Corvin Castle played host to the British paranormal television program Most Haunted Live! for a three-night live investigation into the spirits reported to be haunting the castle. Results were inconclusive. (No surprises there then).
In 2013, the television show Ghost Adventures filmed an episode at the castle as part of their Halloween special.
More recently, In 2018, the castle was used as the "Cârța Monastery" in the horror movie The Nun. It is a spin-off of 2016's The Conjuring 2.
The film stars a Demon Nun, an incarnation of Valak, from The Conjuring 2.
The plot follows a Roman Catholic priest and a nun in her novitiate as they uncover an unholy secret in 1952 Romania.
Numerous legends and stories about Poenari Castle have survived over the centuries.
During the Communist era in Romania, foreign visitors sometimes spent the night inside the ruined structure; among them was Fatimeh Pahlavi's husband, Vincent Lee Hillyer, who claimed that in the night the temperature was much lower than usual in the castle (even in the month of July), smelled rotten flowers although there were none, he suffered from bizarre nightmares, inexplicably contracted Keratosis, and got the "overpowering feeling" that he was being watched and got bitten without being physically assaulted.
It was also featured as a haunted location in Ghost Hunters International in Season 1 (2008–09), episode # 14.
HIGH SEASON (APRIL 1 - SEPTEMBER 30) LOW SEASON (OCTOBER 1 - MARCH 31)
Monday: 12PM - 6PM Monday: 12PM - 4PM
Tue–Sun: 9AM - 6PM Tue–Sun: 9AM - 4PM
Last Admission: 6PM Last Admission: 4PM
Castle address: Semerkant, 60100 Tokat Merkez/Tokat, Turkey
Opening times: 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Sunday. We haven't been here so have no idea if there is an admission charge.