The Princely Court in Targoviste, a great short trip from Bucharest

The capital of Walachia from 14th to the 17th century, Targoviste is a city located at about 80 kilometers from the capital Bucharest. It’s most famous attraction is the Chindiei Tower (Turnul Chindiei), part of the The Princely Court.

The landscape is wonderful – the hill area is gorgeous – and the Princely Court, known as the formal residence for Wallachia’s princes, including Vlad Tepes (associated by many with Dracula), is definitely worth seeing. We took a one-day trip to Targoviste and saw this “ensemble” – as there are two churches plus ruins of a third one, the Chindia Tower, ruins of the palace, plus two houses, one home to an interesting museum. Here’s what you’ll see at the Princely Court in Targoviste, Romania.

Princely Court in Targoviste - entrance
Princely Court in Targoviste – entrance

The Princely Court in Targoviste: a bit of history

Dating back to the 15th century, the Princely Court in Targoviste has a complex history. The first buildings – a church and a residence – are believed to have existed in 1417, but fortifications and other buildings were added later.

For instance, there is a controversy regarding the year (and the ruler) when the Chindiei Tower was built. Some say it was built around 1440, which means during Vlad Tepes’ father’s reign, some say that it was built during Vlad Tepes’ second reign (he had three).

One thing is clear: it is an old structure, with fortified walls that are a must see – I really liked to see how the bricks were arranged – and the complex has a lot to offer to all its visitors: access to an important part of Romania’s history (there is an audio guide available on premises), great view (including a gorgeous panorama from the top of the Chindiei Tower, a nice museum, and you’ll learn about the fortifications’ system.

Princely Court in Targoviste - fortifications
Princely Court in Targoviste – fortifications

What you’ll see: the buildings

First, you’ll notice the Great Princely Church (now its undergoing major restoration works). Built by the ruler Petru Cercel, this church is quite impressive. It was built simultaneously with the palace and it had unprecedented proportions.

Great Princely Church, Targoviste - interior
Great Princely Church, Targoviste – interior
Great Princely Church, Targoviste - explanations
Great Princely Church, Targoviste – explanations
Great Princely Church, in Targoviste seen from the exterior of the fortified wall
Great Princely Church, in Targoviste seen from the exterior of the fortified wall

Then, you’ll see the ruins of the palace – you can go to the basement and there is a platform which allows you to walk across the ruins:)

The Princely Court in Targoviste - ruins
The Princely Court in Targoviste – ruins
The Princely Court in Targoviste - ruins
The Princely Court in Targoviste – ruins

Then, of course, you will get to the Chindiei Tower. It has an exhibition at the ground floor – as it has three stories – and, if you manage to go up the spiral stair, you’ll get a great panoramic view of the whole Princely Court in Targoviste.

Chindiei Tower, Targoviste, Romania - Turnul Chindiei
Chindiei Tower, Targoviste, Romania – Turnul Chindiei

Continuing your tour, you’ll get the the Dionisie Lupu house which now houses a museum: the Time and Old Books Museum (don’t you just love this title?). Here you can see some old books, an old board that was used by all the young children at school (my grandmother learned on such a board, with chalk), and more (I don’t want to unveil all that you’ll see here).

The Museum of Time and Old Romanian Book, Targoviste, Romania
The Museum of Time and Old Romanian Book, Targoviste, Romania
The Museum of Time and Old Romanian Book, Targoviste, Romania - interior
The Museum of Time and Old Romanian Book, Targoviste, Romania – interior
The Museum of Time and Old Romanian Book, Targoviste, Romania - interior
The Museum of Time and Old Romanian Book, Targoviste, Romania – interior
The Museum of Time and Old Romanian Book, Targoviste, Romania - interior
The Museum of Time and Old Romanian Book, Targoviste, Romania – interior

Further on, you’ll see another house, the one of Lady Balasa and in the back a second church, the Little Princely Church.

The House of Lady Balasa and Little Princely Church
The House of Lady Balasa and Little Princely Church

You can wander around the domain, smell the flowers, enjoy the green spaces and, when you leave the premises, you can go to the nearby park and have some fun – walking, go to the amusement park area, etc.

Like I said, The Princely Court in Targoviste is a great short trip from Bucharest – or a great stop on your tour in Romania. Keep in mind that if you want to follow Vlad Tepes’ trail, this is his official residence. Many rulers stayed here – and that is why, apart from seeing the fortifications, enjoying the view from above, a visit to the Princely Court in Targoviste is a trip back in time and a great learning opportunity.

As a side note, we went there on the Easter day – which is a public holiday in Romania and we were expecting it to be closed. But we were in Targoviste and thought to check it out. And it was open – to our surprise – and, of course, we took advantage of that. It was a nice family trip!

Find a hotel in the area:

The Princely Court in Targoviste, Romania, a great short trip from Bucharest

The Princely Court in Targoviste, Romania, a great short trip from Bucharest

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Lori

I’m offering public relations, communications and image counseling in everyday life and I have a PR agency – PRwave INTERNATIONAL. I am passionate about reading, blogging (I also have a blog in Romanian) and traveling. Follow me on Twitter - @violetaloredana (Romanian) and @TravelMoments.

12 thoughts on “The Princely Court in Targoviste, a great short trip from Bucharest

  • 21 July, 2017 at 13:08
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    This trip seems to be a hell lot of fun then anyone can ever imagine. That’s very beautiful work out there 🙂

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  • 21 July, 2017 at 15:04
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    Oh what a great trip! Looks like you had so much and saw some great sights!

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  • 21 July, 2017 at 15:36
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    The House of Lady Balasa and Little Princely Church looks so beautiful. I love the surroundings.

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  • 22 July, 2017 at 01:08
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    Wow, you photos make me feel like I’ve been there a little too. Very pretty architecture. It’s amazing the little treasures that are hidden in other countries.

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  • 22 July, 2017 at 01:32
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    What a fascinating and beautiful place. I really found this post so interesting and learned quite a lot as I have not been to Romania as yet. I also love your photos and the inside of the church is just gorgeous. I hope to be able to visit Romania one day.

    Reply
  • 22 July, 2017 at 05:54
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    The ruins are beautiful. The whole place really, but I really love the ruins and those gorgeous chairs. Looks like it was a lovely trip.

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  • 22 July, 2017 at 13:10
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    I’ve been reading a lot about Bucharest recently and am currently living in Poland for the summer so want to head there for sure. This sounds like a great trip to make as well. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

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  • 22 July, 2017 at 20:23
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    I’ve never heard of Targoviste before. Through your pictures it really looks like the city is full of history and shares its stories through all the architecture and murals.

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  • 23 July, 2017 at 14:50
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    What a beautiful yet haunting walk down history and memory lane. The wall fortifications took my breath away…. such skill is missing today.

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  • 24 July, 2017 at 04:55
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    The architecture and art is incredible! It always amazes me how people created these structures with none of the technology we have today!

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  • 24 July, 2017 at 06:08
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    The church is so beautiful. I just love the way they constructed things back then. And I am very glad to hear that they are trying to renovate the building. I hope they can restore it to it’s original majesty.

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  • 24 July, 2017 at 21:34
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    It looks like you had such a great trip! The older I get, the more I appreciate vacations that include some history in them. You can learn so much by actually visiting locations vs. just reading about it. You took some great pictures. Hoping to visit one day!

    Reply

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