On the lake frozen on the tracks of the prince Vlad: in he nature reserve of Snagov nature and some mystery (on Dracula)



Giovanni Bosi, Snagov / Romaniai

A huge frozen lake and in the middle an islet on which the Church of the Assumption rises from 1364. We are in the Snagov Lake Nature Reserve, just over 30 kilometers from Bucharest, the capital of Romania. A place of great charm, with a magnificent glance thanks to the snow effect that returns a white landscape. But also a place of great history and tradition: the popular myth tells that right here, in the small church, would be buried Dracula. Or rather Vlad Tepes III the Impaler.

(TurismoItaliaNews) Reaching the Snagov area in the middle of winter is fascinating: it is not expensive to cross the snow-covered forest that surrounds the lake. To give its name to what is now a nature reserve, is the town built around the ancient monastery in the historic province of Muntenia, which together with Oltenia forms the Wallachia. Even before its history (between myth and legend), the lake territory of one hundred hectares is an attraction as a terrestrial and aquatic habitat with a particular plant and animal biodiversity. And so it is a national natural heritage, particularly appreciated by the inhabitants of Bucharest, who as soon as they can - thanks to the short distance - come here to relax and recreate. Maybe even cycling on the frozen lake, an experience not for everyone ...

What is certain is that the main attraction, beyond the lake (13 km long and a few hundred meters wide, where in the summer you can swim, fish or go boating) is the Orthodox monastery founded in 1408 by Mircea the Elder , voivode of Wallachia from 1386 to 1418. A character of great importance in the Romanian history, so as to earn the appellative of munificent patron of the Orthodox Church thanks to the accumulated fortunes, also translated in the construction of churches and monasteries, including that of Cozia, near Călimăneşti, where he was then buried.

And certainly the monastery of Snagov can stand out for its extraordinary location on the small island, united by a bridge to the north shore of the lake, in a place where prayer and contemplation have found a perfect fusion and an innate symbiosis with the nature. The choice of the site was obviously not casual: it allowed the religious to defend themselves adequately from possible attacks by the Ottomans, burning the bridge that at that time was made of wood.You cross a massive brick tower-door and you arrive in front of the small church, equally built in brick placed in situ with skill, so that the bricks to view make up circular columns, arches and decorations; and then three slender polygonal towers above the roof. The religious complex was restored in the last century, allowing to restore the original appearance of the building: within the great artistic and documentary value are the frescoes of the sixteenth century that depict princely portraits of the period 1550-1560.

Over time the monks' cells and the other constructions that made up the monastery have disappeared and today only a few structures in deterioration attest the initial consistency between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The visit to the church is suggestive, because here it is buried none other than Vlad the Impaler, or the legendary Dracula (son of Vlad Dracul), the prince who inspired Bram Stoker, the Irish writer who became famous as the author of one of the most known Gothic novels of terror.Here in Snagov the attraction was born as a result of archaeological excavations conducted between 1932 and 1933 when under a votive slab positioned in front of the iconostasis, a crypt was identified in which the voivod Vlad was supposed to have been buried. like the Impaler. A "detail" that somehow ended up feeding that halo of terror around the prince really existed, born in Transylvania, in Sighisoara. Vlad Tepes, or rather Vlad III Dracula, lived between 1431 and 1476 and was a defender of the Order of the Dragons for the appointment of the Hungarian king.

"Dragons" because they had depicted a dragon on their clothes, from which the name of "Dracula" was born, that is "devil". Vlad did not take prisoners, one would say today: he distinguished himself in the battles against the Turks of Muhammad II and became famous because he made impaling enemy soldiers fallen into his hands. The same treatment reserved it to the ambassadors sent in advance to order him the surrender of Tirgoviste. His assault (in fact a real punitive expedition) went to history in Amlas, in Transylvania, on August 24th, 1460, when he would have impaled something like 20,000 nobles and infidel citizens.

But why would Prince Vlad be buried in Snagov Monastery? According to the most reliable story, Dracula was killed in 1475 in unclear circumstances in the surrounding woods: the monks were saber to recover his body and bury him in the church. He who, precisely that church, had helped to restore and beautify. Even if, in reality, no clues or elements attributable to the prince were found among the pictorial decorations.

In any case, Romania has several places linked to the history of Vlad Tepes: in addition to the Sighisoara nativity there is the famous Bran Castle, then the Poenari fortress, the royal palace of Târgovişte and the Princely Court of Bucharest. The only surviving European medieval fortress-city, Sighişoara has been inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage since it has been perfectly preserved. The Clock Tower is undoubtedly the central point of the city: climb up to the top of the tower to admire it from above and see the statues chasing each other in front of the clock face, which has been in operation since the Middle Ages; the house of Dracula is in via Cositorarilor, 5. Moreover, in front of the church on the Colle di Sighişoara there is a suggestive Saxon cemetery, which can be visited between 8 and 20.

 

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