The Princely Court in Târgovişte is a museum complex of medieval buildings and fortifications, which served as a residence of the Wallachian rulers for more than three centuries. It is one of the most important architectonic ensembles in Romania, appreciated for its high artistic and historical value. The first documented mentioning of Târgovişte as capital of Wallachia was discovered in a crusader’s memoires dating from 1427, but it is thought that the town was already fortified in the 1390s.
The archaeological diggings revealed that the court was enlarged and further fortified during the rules of Mircea the Elder, his son, Vlad Dracul, and his grandson, Vlad the Impaler, who added a moat, watch towers and several utility buildings. At the end of the 16th century, the princely court spread on a surface of 29,000 sqm and benefited from an aqueduct that provisioned the palace and the garrison with water. The periods of maximum development were during the reigns of Matei Basarab (1632 – 1654), who doubled the walls, rebuilt the moat and the 5 access gates and built 10 rectangular bastions, and Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688 – 1714), under whose rule the fortifications were partially rebuilt, the princely palace was enlarged and churches, decorative and utility buildings were built. In time, due to wars, fires and earthquakes, the princely court was turned into a ruin.
After important archaeological, conservation and restoration works, the princely court was transformed into a museum comprising in its premises several buildings and monuments representative for the Romanian art and architecture. Chindia Tower, now one of the town’s emblematic monuments, was built by Vlad the Impaler in 1460, but it was modified by the ample restoration works from the middle of the 19th century. Currently, the tower houses the exhibition “Vlad Ţepeş – Dracula. Legend and historical truth”. If you want to see a 15th century monument preserved in its initial state, the St. Friday Church is the perfect place, as, even if there are no information on who built it, it is known that in 1517 it already had a considerable age. Another important religious monument is the Princely Church, which, at the time of its building in the 16th century, was the largest in Wallachia. It is very famous due to its interior paintings, dating from the rule of Constantin Brâncoveanu, which depict an ample gallery of portraits of Wallachian rulers. An art collection dedicated to the architectural style imposed by the ruler has been arranged inside the church. Other buildings and monuments that the museum complex include are the remains of the princely palace, which hosts a lapidarium in its basement, the old church, which is thought to have been very similar to the church of the Cozia Monastery, the princely bath, built in Turkish style, the well-preserved Bălașa House and the foundation, columns and column heads of the belfry (foișor).
Tuesday – Sunday: 8:00 – 18:30
How to get there:
Târgovişte is situated 80km north-west of Bucharest.
By car: From Bucharest, take DN7 and DN71 in the direction of Câmpulung Muscel.
By train: There are 7 trains linking Bucharest to Târgovişte. From the train station, the princely court is situated 6 minutes away, by car.
Calea Domnească, no 181
Tel.: +40 245 613 278
The Princely Court in Târgovişte Website