Our trip to Romania was very short but we found time to visit a few places in Bucharest before I main trip to Sigishoara. One of the most iconic figures in ancient times was Vlad the Impaler. Many things have been written about him over the centuries although most are guess works, works of fiction, or works to sell books, movies and the like.
What is really known about him is that he was born sometime 1428/1431 and died sometime around 1476/77. He was the price or voivode of Romania three different times between 1448 and his death. He went through many tumultuous times from being held captive by the Ottoman Turks to having to invade Wallachia (Northern Romania) with the help of the powers in Hungary. He eventually began a reign of terror for many and after conquering the Saxon settlements he took all of the survivors to his home and had them impaled on stakes hence his name.
After a time his brother Radu managed to overthrow Vlad but later once again with the help of the Hungarians he managed to become the prince of Romania again.
His bloodthirsty tactics and holding his power and wealth later led rise to the story of the vampire Count Dracula. Many are lead to believe that the story was filmed near Brasov at Bran Castle but that is only a myth. Still, Vlad is one of the history’s more written about rulers, more than almost all others.
We used a large part of our trip following footprints and history to see a little more of Romania and one of our stops was the town of Sigishoara. We took a Romanian train which is itself an adventure to see the place where Vlad was born and raised as a young boy before being given to the Ottoman Turks along with his brother Radu to ensure peace between the two nations. You can even go for a meal in the restaurant that is located in his childhood home.
Sigishoara is a beautiful place with new world comforts while still maintaining its old fortress on top of the mountain in the center of the city. It is one of the best preserved medieval cities in all Eastern Europe. There are many stone arches and towers. The city many years after Vlad was ruled by the 7 trade guilds of the city. Each built a tower to house their guilds offices and the largest is pictured here.
One should not hesitate to visit Romania if possible. It has all of the sites you may want to see from Communist Era Bucharest to the mysterious sites in Transylvania.