Standing the test of time: the Targoviste court

A visit here equates to a lesson in Romanian history, architecture and customs. Located in Targoviste, about one-and-a-half hour’s drive away from Bucharest, the princely court is an ensemble of medieval buildings and fortifications has served as residence for the princes of the Tara Romaneasca province.

Probably its most easily recognizable symbol is the Chindia Tower. It was built during the second half of the 15th century, during the rule of Vlad Tepes. Its construction began on the site of a chapel dating back to the time of Mircea cel Batran.  The tower was built as a defense and served, at the same time, for observation and for guarding the yard and its surroundings. During the 16th and the 17th centuries the tower was also the prison for the princely court. Twenty-seven meters tall, it has a pyramid-shaped basis out of which is cylindrical construction develops. Its external diameter is of 9 meters. The construction has three levels, the last two being marked on the outside by four openings and two balconies. Visitors reaching the site can enjoy a panoramic view of the city once they climb its 122 steps.

Although the Chindia Tower is the easiest part of the ensemble to identify, there are plenty of other places to visit while on site. Take the three churches, one of them dating back to around 1415, and another built by Prince Petru Cercel. The princely homes in the complex can also be visited as are the royal bath, built during the times of Matei Basarab. This rectangular construction houses three rooms and its floors are made of Albesti stone.

Part of the ensemble is also a defense moat, an impressive military construction which prevented the exit and entrance from and to the court and put the enemy in an unfavorable position during battle situations.

How to get there:

Take the DN7 and DN71 as shown.

Photo source: Cristian Chirita/ Wikipedia