Castles and Churches of Wallachia and Transylvania
Discover and stay in, the beautiful orthodox churches of Oltenia in the Carpathians foothills; hike up 1480 steps to the 'real' Dracula's castle; celebrate the Gypsy festival at Costesti, where in-between dancing and drinking you may even bump into their emperor; and see the famous modernist sculptures of Brancusi at Targu Jiu.
Before setting up monasteries, ancient founders- rulers, boyars and monks - looked for special places that had to meet two essential conditions: to be isolated and beautiful. One of the most impressive chains of such religious settlements is to be found in the North of Oltenia, considered to be "the second Bucovina" of Romania. Oltenia is part of Wallachia - one of the three provinces forming Romania, in the south of the Carpathian Mountains. Wallachia - the land of the Vlachs, served as a distant outpost of Christendom before being conquered by the Turks and largely forgotten until the union with Moldavia in the 19th century - the first step in the creation of modern Romania.You will visit the most rewarding parts of Wallachia, from the ruins of Targoviste - the Princely Court - and Poienari - (considered to be the authentic Dracula's Castle), to the beautiful Orthodox monasteries built in a Byzantine style with wonderful ornamental stone facades, tucked into the foothills of the Carpathian Alps.