Situated on a small lake 15 miles north of the Romanian capital, this peaceful monastery is supposedly the resting place of Vlad the Impaler, renowned for inspiring the famous 1897 novel, ‘Dracula’. Vlad was known for his blood-thirsty methods of execution (the means of impalement were still seen as particularly gruesome event, even in the 15th century) which were used as a nifty, yet excessive forewarning to ambitious invaders. Stories of his procedures even went as far to say he drank the blood of his enemies, possibly a key clue in linking Vlad to the infamous blood-sucking character. Historians, after a 1933 excavation, now widely believe that the Prince of Wallachia was buried in a monastery in the Comana area of Romania, but this has not prevented the locals from spreading the legend. But that’s what makes it such a brilliant spot to visit, this isn’t a drive for those that live by the books, it’s for dreamers, those with giant imaginations – you need to believe to experience. Hey, who knows, maybe he turned into a bat and flew off never to be seen again?
The church itself sits on a small island in the middle of a lake but thankfully the locals have recently built a small footbridge to save you from waiting for a taxi boat across. There’s a host of animals surrounding the little church, from friendly dogs to a field of ponies all biding for attention. The dogs will welcome you from the small footbridge over the lake but try and find the time and space to take a picture of the building from the outside, it really is a picture postcard, a postcard that was once sadly threatened by commercialisation. In 2006 ‘Disneyland-style’ theme park predictably named ‘Dracula Park’ was luckily scrapped by the Romanian government leaving the monastery in its wonderfully original state, something the locals and tourists alike can be thankful for.
What’s clear is that it doesn’t matter if you’re diehard Dracula, history buff or simply a horror fan, this is a must visit trip on your travel list, a collection of the finest collectables won’t even compare to a visit to the chapel where Drăculea’s muse was finally laid to rest.