Dracula: History and Myth

My Visit to Castle Poenari — part 4

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

This is part 4 of 4. See part 3 here.

Grafitti on the bricks of Castle Poenari, the real Dracula's castle, in the Transylvanian region of Romania.

Graffiti near the top of the castle. I didn’t deface any of the walls myself, but I did pry a tiny gray rock out of the ground on the main path leading into the castle, to keep as a souvenir. I realized a few days later as I was flying back to Paris from Bratislava that I was flying on Friday the 13th with a rock from Dracula’s castle in my luggage. Not a great idea, but I came out unscathed.

A view of the tower of Castle Poenari from below on the stairway.

On my way out, this is back near the castle entrance again. That’s the tallest still-standing part of the original castle.

Another view of Dracula's castle from the stairway.

Those rocks at the base of this side are actually fake; they’re big cement blobs to help keep the castle from sliding off the mountain.

And that’s all for my afternoon at Dracula’s castle! I desperately hope to visit again someday soon, and also to explore the other parts of Transylvania I wasn’t able to see on my first two trips. Romania is a fantastic, gorgeous, magical country and I can’t recommend highly enough that you visit if you can; breathtaking scenery, warm wonderful people, amazing food, etc. I urge you to visit if you can! I hope you’ve enjoyed my photos and stories. Safe travels,

— Manning Leonard Krull

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

  1. Cartty says:

    I just read CC Humphrey’s Vlad: the Last Confession. It appears to be a well researched historical novel based on Vlad’s life. I very much appreciate your photographs and commentary. Thanks, Carty

    • Manning says:

      Wow, I’ve never heard of that one! That sounds great, and I’ll pick up a copy asap. If you haven’t read The Historian, I really recommend that one. I need to write an article for this site about that book, and a few other of my favorites, some day soon.

      • Manning,

        Thanks for the effort made to get to Dracula’s castle. A friend of mine who must remain nameless here went to the castle ruins with its owner a few years ago after spending the night in an inn in a village nearby.

        Thanks for your photographs. I enjoyed them.


      • I was looking for and earlier art works of how the castle looked before the 1888 earthquake. I am an art teacher in a middle schoola nd I would love to put a cardboard replica of the castle, however, in its current condition I may half to use the Bram Castle images. Do you think the two castle could have been simular in appearance. Tim

        • Eric says:

          Just a note – Bram’s description is believed to be of Bran Castle, about 100 km north east of Poenari, outside of Brasov. It looks like a proper castle and nothing like what Poenari Fortress probably looked like. Sorry 🙁 (I’m currently researching a trip through Romania ad have come across all of this info recently).

      • Amy says:

        I lived The Historian!
        A truly great book.

    • Robin says:

      Thanks for posting these wonderful pictures. We traveled there in May of this year and after that long winding road, we were not allowed beyond that gate you mentioned (listing in French, Romanian and English?) It was closed due to ???? Someone said that perhaps there was a small rock slide that is blocking the path. Now we will just have to return, but these entries and pictures will just have to hold us in the meantime.

      • Sarah says:

        Bears, maybe? Researching Poenari for this summer, I came across a reliable source citing closure in Summer 2017 due to a mother brow bear and cubs. It’s made us more determined to go there tbh!

  2. Mr Jaame Wolfaardt says:

    Hello Manning.Because of your enthusiasm of Dracula and your pictures.I decided to reward you.Witches,Vampires the works are not imagination.Shape shifting and all is real.Good and bad entities exist,today…and are alive and kicking as I am.Believe.I am a Witch,that’s how come I know.

    • misty jolynn thourot says:



    • midnightrun says:

      Tell me please about these entities,

  3. John says:

    Thanks Manning

  4. Diane Gibson says:

    Thank you for the pictures. I very much enjoyed looking at them. I do not have the means to travel so it is so nice to see the pictures and imagine being there walking through. Thank you again.

  5. Jayde says:

    Very cool. Thanks for posting these pictures!

  6. adrian says:

    As I wrote in my reply to part one of your journey I am truly awestruck at what you have achieved and I truly wish that I had the time, means and money to do this trip. The closest I have got to Bram Stoker’s Dracula was a stay in Whitby in north east England, the place though a thriving residential area is very atmospheric especially when the sea mist enshroud’s the town. The town is well worth a visit especially as the UK Goth scene has taken Whitby as their capitol of Gothdom. Twice a year people flock there to dress in Gothic vampirish period costumes and this adds to an eery sense of nostalgia. If any one has access to Youtube then punch in Whitby England Goth or Vampire scene and you will see scenes of people in costume in Whitby. Manning what you have achieved has been just a dream for me and I may never achieve that dream but reading about your journey has really inspired me. Thank you.

  7. Maria says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I’m now planning a trip to Romania, and am most attracted by old ruins)) So this is helpful. Know what to expect.
    How long does it take approximately to walk up there?

  8. Juan says:

    Thanks so much for the pics. Romania has always fascinated me and I’ve always wanted to visit to see these awesome castles and take in as much of the Vlad Tepes / Dracula lore as I can. I’d really be interested in learning more about your travels in Romania, particularly the do’s and don’ts of traveling in the country and what your best recommendations for getting there are. I’m one who thinks that the country is often misunderstood and therefore overlooked. I’d love to see all facets of Romanian life; should I ever have the privilege of going, I’ll definitely keep a travelogue — complete with cool pics!


  9. Pattie says:

    Thanks Manning, that was very intersting to read and well done with the pics. It`s good to see a lot of pictures from such a famous place. Good job :).


  10. isaiah says:

    Great work! I am very thankful you shared an experience as unique as this one.

  11. Sharon Middelchylde says:

    I’m going! I’m going! I’m going! If the Goddess of non-rev flights so decrees, I’ll be in Romania October 4th through the 15th. I honestly don’t think this would be happening if it weren’t for stumbling onto your site, Manning. How do you say “Thank you” in Romanian?

  12. Sharon Middelchylde says:


  13. Tami L Vlad says:

    I truly enjoyed the pictures, and the well written descriptions. Being third generation here in the U.S. it’s refreshing to see interest in the true historic home, and not just all the mythical hype. I have yet to get to visit my ancestral roots but, it’s on the horizon. Thank you again for sharing.

  14. I myself along with my Frenchman friend will be visiting next year. Can you advise on spending the night on mountain. Safe? Thank you for the pics and story! Great stuff.

  15. LilQueen - in Detroit says:

    Loved your photo’s and story line. My sister visited the Castle in 1967 and said they were allowed to go into rooms and see Vlad’s living quarters but the feelings of impending horror made her feel helpless…real spooky. Things have chenged in the last 45 years. She agreed it was a haunting place. Vlad would be proud that you guys are still thinking of him. Good Job!

  16. LilQueen - in Detroit says:

    Loved your photo’s and story line. My sister visited the Castle in 1967 and said they were allowed to go into rooms and see Vlad’s living quarters but the feelings of impending horror made her feel helpless…real spooky. Vlad would be proud that you guys are still thinking of him. Good Job!

  17. Mike Johnson says:

    I agree the Historian was a great book. Do you know of any more in that style ?

  18. Mike Johnson says:

    Loved your pics and story on this also.

  19. daniel hughes says:

    Incredible to see! My whole life I have been fascinated by Vlad Tepes(the true historical Vlad, not the halloween spook!)and really hope to make the journey before my time is over. How I envy you! Thank you for sharing! Best wishes,DH

  20. Mike says:

    I really appreciate you taking the time to construct this web page. Fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing!

  21. Tod says:

    Yesterday i spent 300 dollars for platinium roulette system , i hope that
    i will earn my first cash online

  22. Boobie Needham (@Boobie2shoes) says:

    Beautiful photos and great documentation… Thanks for sharing that!

  23. Tim B. says:

    Manning! Remember me? It’s Tim from MBC – we shared a love for all things castlevania. I went looking for pics of poenari today and read to the end of your post before I realized I knew you. Looks like you made it out to Romania, I think when we first met I had just returned!

  24. k says:

    thanks young Sir for sharing your photos; what’s next in your repertoire? who are you? what is your field of study? you have an unusually striking appearance, what is your ancestry?(i know “not p.c.,”as my kids would say but relevant to the subject dontcha think?)…that might be an interesting addendum…just saying…

  25. Aman says:

    Great pictures and review! I hope to visit the castle next month and this gives me some valuable information. Thank you!

  26. Constance says:

    This is a fresh read! Thanks so much for sharing these historical pictures. The history of this place is amazing. I’ve heard Romania is a beautiful country and all the pictures I’ve seen prove to be accurate of the description.

  27. hecate says:

    If I had the money to even have a bucket list, it would be on mine. Not just to visit, but to stay the night legally or not. :p

  28. Alex says:

    Visited in the nineties with two friends shortly after the wall came down. Only person we saw at the castle was a goat herder who was taking his goats down the mountain while we were on the way up. Where you can see how easy it was to block the road and the river traffic. Basically you could just drop rocks on people’s heads! To my mind this makes the castle an amazing tollbooth.

    I don’t know who if anyone owns the castle but when we were there the site was not improved and not in great shape. I’m sure for some hard currency they would let people stay or Camp right nearby. Probably the most spooky thing that would happen would be a nocturnal visit from the goats, but hey you never know…

  29. Alex says:

    Sorry was trying to say “the only picture missing is a shot from the edge of the castle down onto the road and the river. From there you can see how easy it is to block road and River traffic.

  30. Ana Cortez says:

    Awesome post. Thanks for all the detailed photos. After reading it, I am inspired to go and visit myself, one day. Painting a picture of Vlad right now, and enjoying getting inspiration. THANKS!

  31. Jim Burrough says:

    I am currently planning a trip to Romania and am looking for some tips, info on the grrat places to see. I want to know if it might be possible to spend the night outside/inside the castle safely? Would be exciting to do.
    Thank you for the pictures and commentary. Nice to know there are people out there who enjoy Dracula and all things related. So many different visions.

  32. Valerie F. says:


    I just found your site- your trip to Vlad’s castle looks fantastic! Can you give a rough estimate of what travel (mainly airfare) had cost you? I’m in Indiana (not sure how close I am to you). Anyway, thanks for sharing! I’m dying to go to Romania- I looks beautiful!

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