Sighisoara – The Birthplace of Vlad the Impaler
Sighișoara was the furthest north we were going to drive in Romania. We, like many tourists, were drawn to Transylvania to seek out the origins of Dracula, Vlad III who ruled the southern region of Wallachia off and on during the 15th century. Vlad Dracula was his real name, but he was dubbed Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, and he was reportedly born in this charming walled medieval city.
Vlad’s father was knighted by the Holy Roman Emperor as Vlad Dracul, to the order of the Dragon, and he conducted many campaigns for the emperor against the invading Ottomans. Because of this, when Vlad was still a boy, he and his brother were held hostage by the Ottomans and even though they were treated well and taught math and science, Vlad always held a grudge. As he aged and his father was killed, Vlad took over trying to win back his seat as the ruler of Wallachia. Some battles he won and was reinstated, and then we would soon lose it again.
During the height of his campaigns he was a ruthless killer and to show strength he would take care of his enemies in a brutal and very public manner. One such example was a banquet where he invited many of his dissenters and then had them stabbed and mounted on spikes while their bodies still twitched. Thus his apt nickname was born, Vlad the Impaler. (source)
Caution – 200 Stairs Ahead!
We arrived in Sighişoara during the absolute peak of the heat of the day, and were thankful when we realized that our modern hotel room had air conditioning. We were excited to see the town, but looking out our window we knew there were plenty of stairs in our near future, so we figured it was better to start off cool. We took a short nap, and boy did it feel good after being in the car.
After about an hour, we were raring to go, and just a few hundred meters from the back door of the hotel we met our first staircase heading up to the old walled town. We climbed up and at the first platform there was a large overlook. What a beautiful view, and we weren’t even at the top. Right after that was the main gate into the city and we started to encounter more and more people.
The medieval architecture with the dark wooden timbers, the red clay roof tiles, the multi-spired towers and the white-washed walls immediately took us back in time. Inside the gate, the street pavement turned to large rounded cobblestones and the brightly painted buildings and sidewalk cafes were bustling and extremely inviting. Wandering around, we enjoyed the statues and stories, the nooks and crannies of the walls, and the various churches and towers that we visited.
We found Dracula’s birth place, and discovered you can now eat lunch or dinner there, but, alas, you can’t sleep there. After a few hours of exploring, we decided to sit and order some dinner at Casa Georgius Krauss where we ordered some local specialties, like the Chef’s special which was a beef filet on spinach and the dish of the house which was Transylvanian stew wrapped in pastry…delicious!
We sat, ate, drank a local white wine recommended by the waiter and watched tourists and locals alike as they walked past. The evening didn’t prove to be much cooler, so when we finally felt cool and rested enough to head down the hill, we left the quaint city of Sighişoara’s walled town of which we look back upon as one of our favorite spots in all of Romania.
How to get to Sighişoara: We flew into Sibiu and rented a car, because there was just too much to do in the area like driving the Transfagarasan Highway, but there is a train station there with regular connections to Brasov and Bucharest as well as buses from all over.
Where we stayed: We stayed at the Hotel Cavaler which is very modern, has a good breakfast and wifi and even a pool. It was the perfect place to stay in the summer when temperatures are upwards of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where we ate: We ate at the Casa Georgius Krauss, which had some of the best reviews for local specialties in the town.
Have you visited Dracula’s hometown? Any tips?
Pin Sighisoara for your future Romania Trip plans.