Places of interest10 May 2023

Poenari Citadel - the fortress of Vlad the Impaler, on the rocky peak of the mountain Cetăţuia

The fortress, haughty guards the southern entrance of Transfăgărăşan with its mysterious air from medieval times

Poenari Citadel  - Transfăgărăşan

Poenari Citadel - Transfăgărăşan

Situated on the upper reaches of the Argeş River, at only 27 km from Curtea de Argeş, in a unique landscape for its wildness and splendour, the Poenari Citadel attracts more and more more visitors from the country and abroad The framing of the fortress in a wonderful landscape, its historical significance, the mystery that hovers in the air that surrounds it, its sublime image through clouds, the sky and the forests, delights and fascinates the viewer.

To reach it you have to climb 1480 steps that meander through a dense beech forest, but once you're up any trace of tiredness disappears, seeing the magnificent panorama that unfolds over the Argeş Gorges and Transfăgărăşan.

Known also as the „Citadel of Vlad the Impaler”, it attracted renowned televisions such as National Geographic, Discovery or History Channel, which made impressive reportages about these places. Apparently the novel „The Castle from Carpathians” by Jules Verne was inspired by the legends of this mysterious citadel. 

The construction of the fortress, between history and legend

It is said that the first tower was erected in the XIII century, during the reign of Negru Vodă Voivode, being part of a fortification plan for the defense the northern border of the Wallachia.

Vlad the Impaler, at 1456, strengthens the fortress by building another 4 towers and thick walls of stone and brick. The Ruler sets here a place of refuge, a secondary residence, in parallel with that in Targovişte. The Poenari Citadel contributed to the final victory of the Romanians in 1462, when the Voivode has deceived the Turks, by mounting shoeing horses on the contrary, so being able to retire with his army in the citadel.

One of the legends about the construction of the fortress, handed down from father to son, said: the boyars of Targoviste, frightened by the harshness of the Ruler Vlad the Impaler, made a plane in secret to catch the Ruler and deliver him to the Sultan. But Impaler found out their plan, turned it against them and sent his men to capture the boyars gathered in a church on Easter Sunday. They were forced to walk 100 km up to Curtea de Arges and from there up to a narrow strait named the Argeş Gorges.

There was waiting for them the Ruler himself  which raising the mace to the dizzying heights of the Gorges he commanded: „Boyars and nobility, Ladies and Gentlemen, you who have been plotting my death in your chambers, look  that eagle's nest, up there, has to rise up to the Thomas Sunday a fortress, to shine the sun on its forehead.” The boyars have worked day and night, because they knew that the Ruler is not joking and in a week the fortress was ready. Following this legend the citadel is known also as „the eagle’s nest of the mighty men of old time”.  



Elena Radu




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