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Snagov Monastery - Is this where Vlad Dracula is buried?

A few minutes from the center of Bucharest is the medieval church of Snagov Monastery. It is also known as Vlad Tepeş Monastery after the infamous ruler of Wallachia who was a patron of this monastery. The Church sits on an island surrounded by a forest and connected to the mainland by a pedestrian bridge. I didn’t expect the beautiful natural setting and found myself standing in the middle of the bridge quietly enjoying the serenity the lake presented.

The iconostasis is a screen between the nave and the sanctuary. There are three doors on the screen. The middle one is used only by the clergy and is called the Beautiful Gate or Royal Door (it was used at times by royalty). The other two doors are for the use of deacons.

Snagov Lake

Mircea cel Baltran (Mircea the Elder)
At the entrance to the church are the medallions of Baltran and his grandson, Vlad Tepeş, who were both patrons of the church. Baltran is one of the founders of this monastery. *see also my post about Sighisoara

Vlad Tepeş III or Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula
Vlad III, Voivode of Wallachia in the 15th century, built a fortification around the monastery, a belfry and a prison to keep his enemies within. He may also have been buried in this Church but that has not been verified. There is a stone slab by the altar where his tomb may have been. (See below.)

It is claimed that Vlad III is buried here, below the Iconostasis, but when they opened the tomb, no remains were found. Read about the life and times of Vlad III here:

 View of the nave from the narthex
From this door we can see the iconostasis and the middle door (described above). At the foot of the door is the tomb of Vlad III.

The birth of Jesus
Above the upper window is a vignette of the birth of Jesus with Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. 

The princes of Romania in the narthex of the Church
The original frescoes of the Church from 1563 are in the narthex. Here’s where you’ll find the crowned princes of Romania, taking their place with the saints, martyrs, angels and prophets of the Church amidst stories from the Bible.

Dormition of Mary, Mother of God
Also in the Church is the peaceful death of Mary. This is a recurrent theme that can be found in Christian Orthodox churches.

Exterior rear view of the church

Stairs to the lake from monastery grounds
How to get there:
If you would like to explore Snagov Monastery on your own, you can take a bus or train but neither will drop you off at the site. You’ll have to walk from the bus stop or take a taxi from the train station closest to Snagov. Check for details. You can also take an organized guided tour. 
Snagov Monastery
Strada Mânăstirea Vlad Tepeş, Siliştea Snagovului

I went to Snagov on a private tour with Nicolas Experience Tours. You can check his website for details as well as for other tours he leads in Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Transnistria and Ukraine.

Check my post on Bucharest here:

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Images by TravelswithCharie

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