Snagov Monastery – Snagov Island, Romania - Atlas Obscura

Snagov Monastery

Snagov Island, Romania

This solitary monastery may hold the remains of Vlad the Impaler (but probably not). 


On a tiny island in a lake just outside of Bucharest stands Snagov Monastery which local tradition states is the burial place of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Originally founded in the 14th century and later excavated in 1933, the monastery is a seemingly simple place of worship taking advantage of the calm its water-locked isolation brings. However, the story goes that after his notoriously cruel lifetime, Vlad Tepes III was buried in the church as per his request prior to his death. A number of archeologists and historians have worked to verify whether this tale is fact or simple apocrypha and none have been able to prove that the dictator was ever laid to rest on the island. After having dug up some of the site’s burial stones all that was found were a mix of horse and human bones, but nothing that confirms the possible Dracula’s interment.

Most historians now believe that the Prince of Wallachia was buried in a monastery in the Comana area, but this has not stopped the locals from spreading the spurious myth. A footbridge has been built to the island and visitors are encouraged to stop by the Snagov Monastery and view the supposed grave.  However, the caretakers now charge anyone who wants to take pictures. The Romanian government even began plans to capitalize on the church’s unverifiable history by building an amusement park in Snagov called “Dracula Park” although development was mercifully canceled in 2006.

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