Location: Valachia – Southern-Centre Romania
Where: 108 miles northwest of Bucharest
Nearest large town: Curtea de Arges (15 miles south of Poenari)
Nearest train station: Curtea de Arges
Nearest bus stop: Arefu
Visiting hours: Closed until spring 2024.
Poenari Fortress is curently closed to visitors; ample preservation works in progress.
Re-opening is scheduled for spring 2024.
The ruins of Poienari Fortress stand high on a cliff overlooking the Arges River, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.
Built at the beginning of the 13th century by the first Walachian rulers, the castle changed names and residents a few times over the centuries; eventually, it was abandoned and left in ruins.
Walachian ruller Vlad Țepeș (the Impaler) recognized the potential of the fortress and
ordered that the structure be repaired and consolidated, turning Poenari into one of his main fortresses.
When the Turks attacked and captured the castle in 1462, Vlad escaped via a secret passageway leading north through the mountains. Although the castle was used for many years after Vlad's death in 1476, it was eventually abandoned again in the first half of the 16th century and left to the ravages of time and weather. In 1888, a major landslide brought down a portion of the castle which crashed into the river far below. The castle underwent repairs and the remnants of its walls and towers stand to this day.
1,462 steps must be climbed to reach the ruins of Poenari Fortress,
perched high above the surrounding area.
The local authorities recently approved plans to build a tram car (cremaillere) to facilitate acces to the fortress.