Curtea Veche (Old Princely Court)
The bust of Romania's most infamous monarch, Vlad Dracula, also known as "Vlad the Impaler," guards the remnants of his mediaeval palace.
In the heart of Bucharest lies the Old Princely Court, also known as Curtea Veche. Despite overshadowing other tourist attractions in Old Town, it holds great historical significance as the ruins of Vlad Dracula’s medieval court. The palace and grounds are mostly in ruins now. Still, amidst the fallen masonry and old stone arches, Romania’s infamous ruler, Vlad III Dracula, is immortalized in a bust that watches over the remains of the court like a sentinel.
Before Bram Stoker became famous, Vlad III Dracula ruled Wallachia, a province in modern-day Romania, almost 500 years ago.
As a bulwark against Ottoman Turkish assault, Vlad was sworn into the Order of the Dragon, an alliance of Christian kings who resisted the Ottoman invaders. Vlad received the epithet Tepes or “The Impaler” from the Turks for his preferred technique of murdering his opponents.
Due to its advantageous location along the Dimbovita River near Wallachia’s southern border, Vlad III Dracula established his summer residence in what was once called “the Citadel of Bucharest.” This led to the city’s development as the economic centre of Wallachia, with subsequent rulers also choosing to reside there. Eventually, Bucharest became the capital of Romania, and the princely palace and court gained prominence as the commercial and religious hub of the city.
The mansion and the adjoining Annunciation Church of Saint Anthony were built in 1559 by Mircea Ciobanul, then king and descendant of Vlad III Dracula. The palace and the grounds have undergone additional construction, Ottoman destruction, and rehabilitation. Muzuel Municipiului Bucuresti now operates the area and is currently closed for renovation.
As of February 2023, this area has a construction site. A museum is being built to showcase the ruins more effectively.
Within walking distance of Old Town and most museums in Central Bucharest. Ler, also known as “Vlad the Impaler.”