Dracula Places

 Cetatea Poenari

If there is an edifice that can be labelled Vlad Dracula’s castle, it is the ruins of Cetatea Poenari, a fortress (“cetate” in Romanian), located at the entrance to the gorge of the Arges River, north of the town of Curtea de Arges.

According to available historical accounts, Poenari was the castle fortification that Vlad Tepes forced the boyars of Tirgoviste to build. As punishment for their betrayal, he had them captured while they were enjoying an Easter feast (in 1459) and forced them to march to Poenari and and then drag the material up that mountain to build the firts walls of the castle.

The fortress is almost inaccessible, high on the mount Albina top, guarding the entrance to the gorges of the river. In order to reach this fortress, one has to climb approximately 1500 steps but the view is grandiose.

This is where, according to local legends, Vlad Tepes’ first wife flung herself, committing suicide rather than being taken captive by the advancing Turks in 1462. This castle is where Vlad would go for refuge in the face of advancing enemies. He was assisted in his efforts by the villagers of nearby Arefu, where many narratives about Vlad still live in their oral culture.