Dracula: History and Myth

My Visit to Castle Poenari — part 2

[Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4]

This is part 2 of 4. See part 1 here.

The main brick hallway leading into Castle Poenari, the real Dracula's castle, in the Transylvania region of Romania, showing the original construction and the renovation.

Like I mentioned above, a big part of the castle was destroyed in an earthquake in 1888. I believe the gray stones on the left are from the original walls, and the red bricks on the right are part of the reconstruction, but I can’t be sure this is correct.

Another view of the Arefu Valley from within the walls of Cetatea Poenari, in Romania.

Here’s the view down the other side.

This is what remains of the main the tower within Castle Poenari.

They’ve installed walkways and handrails so you can enjoy some parts of the castle that are pretty heavily damaged and otherwise not traversable. That archway leads to the only part of the castle you can actually go “inside,” as in, for a couple meters there are walls on either side and a roof over your head. But for the most part, you’re just wandering around ruins in the open air.

A look down into the space below the tower in Cetatea Poenari, the real Dracula's castle, near Arefu, in Transylvania.

After going through the arch, you can see down into this lower chamber that used to be covered with a roof/floor, as you can see from the remnants of the beams.

The archway leading into Dracula's tower in Castle Poenari.

Another look at the archway and the room beyond. I usually edit pretty heavily and try not to post too many redundant photos, but I wanted to document as much of this place as I could for anyone who’s interested; I’d been researching this castle online for ages and before I ever got to visit there definitely wasn’t much information or imagery available.

On to part 3!

[Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4]

4 Responses to “My Visit to Castle Poenari — part 2”

  1. kelly says:

    I watched a documentary that said that stone floor with moss was the dungeon, and the floor immediately above it had been where Vlad’s bedroom was. there were 4 levels to that part of the castle, but i am not sure if the dungeon counted as one or not.

    LOVELY photos! i’ll be going there next year, to celebrate my birthday 🙂

  2. Boobie Needham (@Boobie2shoes) says:

    My EX husband is from Arges. According to him it was also a great place to take your girl and make out… Very scary!

  3. Pat says:

    Writing this from Arefu. Good article overall, but the description of how to get there is pretty misleading, albeit more exciting. A few things:

    1) There’s no multi-kilometer walk to the entrance. The entrance is not hard to find, and <50 ft (15m) from the paved public road. It's right in between the power station and a camping property with cabins. Can't miss it. About 100m from hotel called Cabana La Cetate. I meant to go the night before, but was wary about going at night so stayed there until the next morning. There's a guard about 30ft (8m) from the beginning of the stairs who charges 5 Lei for adults, 2 for students. There's another guard close to the castle to collect a tax for filming (but not photos). The road is the main road through Arefu commune and there are clearly marked brown signs pointing to the castle.
    2) It's not at all easy to get to the top. I've been to many difficult staircases (top of St. Peter's Basilica for example), and this was much harder. Probably the hardest staircase I've climbed, and certainly the hardest castle. I'm 30 y/o and in pretty good shape. The stairs have 7" risers, and there are 1500 of them. That's about 900 ft, or the height of a 75-storey building, plus some flat areas that zig zag across the mountain. Stairs are in good condition. Getting down was a comparative breeze. I jogged down no problem. Getting there, spending about 20 minutes at the top, and getting back took roughly 1 hour. Figure 30-20-15. Views from the top are significantly better than the pictures do justice.

    I'm writing this so people don't write the trip off due to perceived risks or time constraints, especially older people or people with kids. To reiterate the main points: it's easy to find, hard to climb the stairs, and doable in about 1 hour total. One odd thing, there were a lot of stray dogs around and on at least two instances all dogs in the immediate area (10+) would start pacing around and furiously barking and then all stop at the same time, with no apparent cause.

    • Jonathan Ferguson says:

      To which I would add; although a lot of the castle was destroyed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by earthquakes, and there really isn’t much to walk around up there now, ALL of the brick and stone there now is original, not part of restoration.

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