Vlad Tepes, Bucharest, and a Medieval Curse out of Context

Vlad Tepes built a fortified fortress in 1458 Bucharest part of his defense plan against Ottoman attacks, no curse here. Vlad’s princely court remained at Târgovişte, but with fortresses at Bucharest, Comana and Snagov Vlad Ţepeş knew that his chances of fighting off any Turkish bad spells increased.

Vlad the Impaler, Curtea Veche Bucuresti

Thus, the Royal Courthouse, Curtea Veche, Vlad’s royal palace soon became the heart of Bucharest, a city nesting between the rivers of Dâmboviţa and Colentina, and with the rivulet of Bucureştioara (Little Bucharest) as a defense moat for the fortress.

Vlad-Impaler-Curtea-Veche-Bucharest

Today the plains surrounding Bucharest, the capital city of Romania are flat, and intensely involved in agriculture. But during the Middle Ages a dense forest grew here, known as Codrii Vlăsiei, the Lowland Woods (stretching it a bit, the Vlach’s Woodland). It was here, on a hill in the town of Bucur, Bucuresti, that Vlad ordered master builders from Brasov to raise him a brick and stone fortress.

Vlad-Impaler-Curtea-Veche-Bucharest close up

It is Vlad the Impaler’s Charter from 20 September 1459 that is the first ever official mention on Bucharest, thus the city’s birth certificate.

Vlad-Impaler-fortress-Bucharest

Although legend says that Bucharest’s foundation was set by a shepherd, Bucur, it is most plausible that the city was founded by Mircea cel Bătrân, Mircea the Elder, Wallachian ruler and Vlad Tepes’ paternal grandfather, on a prehistorical site.

A paragraph was included at the end of the document signed by Vlad the Impaler, document that also mentions land being purchased and sold, and such wording was common during those times in order to oblige everyone to honor the terms of the contract:

document atestare Bucuresti Vlad Tepes

“S-a scris în septembrie 20, în cetatea București, în anul 6968 (1459) Io Vlad voievod, din mila lui Dumnezeu, domn”.
“Written on September 20, in the citadel of Bucharest, in year 6968 (1459), I Vlad voievode, by the mercy of God, ruler.”

Bucharest today
A building in Bucharest.

“And he and his flesh shall be destroyed by the word of the good Lord and in the afterlife his soul shall be with Judas and Arius and with others that said: his blood over them and over their children, what it is and it will always be forever, amen.”
In the Romanian translation (as the document was originally written in Slavic, the language widely used in the Tara Romaneasca at that time:
“Pe acela Domnul Dumnezeu să-l nimicească şi să-l ucidă aici cu trupul, iar în veacul viitor sufletul lui, să fie părtaş lui Iuda şi lui Arie şi cu ceilalti care au spus: sângele lui asupra lor şi asupra copiilor lor, ceea ce este şi va fi in veci, amin.”

Romanian Commercal Bank, BCR, at Universitate Square, Bucharest
Romanian Commerical Bank, BCR, at University Square, Bucharest

Taken out of context, along the years many decided to see this curse as having being cast upon the city of Bucharest itself, yet it is not. How could it be, when Vlad the Impaler’s heart beat for his land and his people – and Vlad wrote the above charter “with his whole benevolence, with a clean and enlightened heart,” – “cu a sa bunăvoinţă, cu inimă curată şi luminată“

Bucuresti Liceul Lazar
Bucharest Lazar Highschool near Cismigiu Park

Invoking Divine wrath against those who don’t follow the Price’s or Voievode’s command was common practice in documents written in both Latin and Slavic during those times (especially between the 14ht and the 17th centuries), by the rulers of Ţara Romaneasca and Moldova. Such fashion came from the Byzantine Empire, through the Orthodox church, or influenced by the rulers of the countries south of Danube. The Hungarian rulers, however, under the Catholic faith, used not such means of threat in their official documents.

Bucharest, closing the door on history
Bucharest, closing the door on history

I grew up in Bucharest and lived there for nearly three decades, I couldn’t have left this one slip, Vlad Tepes built a royal fortified fortress in Bucharest, Curtea Veche, but the Medieval curse connected with it is out of Context 🙂 Bucharest is a vibrant, beautiful city, filled with history, art, and wonderful people.

thursday doors, 100 words story

Thursday Doors is a blog feature everyone can take part in, hosted by Dan Antion over at No Facilities – where you can discover more doors from around the world.

31 Replies to “Vlad Tepes, Bucharest, and a Medieval Curse out of Context”

    1. I can only see the picture in WP editing feature. Each one is under 100Kb. Can’t see them in the preview, though.
      I’ll give WP some time. Can’t see what else is the problem.
      Thanks, Jo 🙂

      1. But I could read the text. I’m one of the wonderful people who live in Bucharest. 🙂 I was moved by you defending Vlad Tepes with such heartfelt words. ❤️ I like Vlad Tepes as well. He’s one of my fave. rulers of Wallachia.

      2. Yay! I can see the pictures now. But something is not quite right. Do you still have the wordpress blog?

        1. Hi Jo.
          No. No more word press because I removed Jetpack. But I have images.
          I searched for a plugin I can use instead, but found none.

          I’ll keep an eye on Jetpack after their 6 April update. See if they fixed my issue.

  1. acel Io e fenomenal….. Yo Vlad:)))

    “S-a scris în septembrie 20, în cetatea București, în anul 6968 (1459) Io Vlad voievod, din mila lui Dumnezeu, domn”.
    “Written on September 20, in the citadel of Bucharest, in year 6968 (1459), I Vlad voievode, by the mircy of God, ruler.”

  2. Thanks for the history and for setting to rest the curse. I find things like that fascinating. I also find structures from the 15th century fascinating, as we have nothing like that. The door at the end is my favorite. Stately, strong wood panel door. It’s a thing of beauty.

    1. My pleasure, Dan.
      Glad to hear you were able ti visualize the images. For some reason I still can’t, and a friend from Romania couldn’t see them either. I can see them, though, in WP post edit. My Media Library is working, I can see them there too. But in preview or f I open the browser, not.
      I’ll look at Plugins, and wait for an update from WP / plugins.

  3. Well done incorporating love and history of your homeland with Thursday Doors. I visited Bucharest two years ago … wow … quite the busy city! We had a small group late-afternoon/evening eating tour. Yum! Loved the Old City!

    1. Kind thanks, Frank. Ah, thrilled to hear this! Yes, Romanian cousine is yummy-lishious 🙂
      The Old City is a marvelous area, indeed.
      Thank you for visiting 🙂

  4. My only memory of Bucharest was that the trees of the camping grounds were so tall, that it took 2 days for our clothes to dry after the rain. (hubby has been there more times) – can’t remember I told you this before.
    Still some historic things to be found in your city. I chuckled at the threat of Vlad. How times change. To destroy ones flesh and being put in hell would not have any effect right now for evil doers:).Great and interesting post:) Jesh

    1. Thank you, Jesh.
      So happy to hear that you’ve been to Romania 🙂 Camping in the mountains? Lovely! Met any bears? 😉

    1. Thank you for letting me know. It appears to be an issue with any blog post I create starting with 25 March and I add images to. The images show in Media Library, but not in blog post. Not even in its preview.

      I have a few blog posts scheduled, those appear to be okay.

      I’ll keep on searching.

  5. I love that bank building! I have to laugh at your title. It made me wonder whether it’s better to have a curse in context. 🙂 Interesting information as well as photos.

    janet

    1. Thank you, Janet,
      I am happy to hear that you were able to see the images. Dan could too, yet I cant, and other visitors from Europe couldn’t either. I am still trying to get to the bottom of this as it appears that the Jetpack plugin is causing it.

  6. Yeah, photos are back! Have a look, it might be that one is still missing. There is a little square just beneath the first vertical photo of Vlad. I was in Bucharest twice and it’s always interesting to learn more of its history. I didn’t know that there was a language called Slavic. I thought Slavic was the family of languages spoken by all Slav nations, such as Slovenian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Slovak, Czech, Polish, Russian etc etc.

    1. I removed Jetpack, still it left havoc behind as some images returned, others didn’t so now I go through all my posts and manually reinsert what’s still missing.
      Apparently when used Jetpack also pute images in its own folder, “jetpack/tiled-gallery”.

      I used Slavic as a collective noun here, for the language used in official documents besides Latin, as it wasn’t Romanian yet.

      I hope you enjoyed visiting Bucharest 🙂

      1. I did! I had my Slovenian friend who studied Romanian language there as the host and the guide. Now he translates Romanian novels into Slovenian. 🙂 I remember the grand palace of course, and one lovely park, and the Cinemateque, and a bar in an old Turkish-style courtyard.

        1. I know exactly what you remember, Manja.
          The House of the People, now housing the parliament.
          The Cismigiu Park, and nearby the Cinemateque, I often went there.
          And the Passage Villacrosse with its yellow glass roofs and Turkish/Egyptian cafes.

  7. Good day to you Patricia! I had to jump into your site because I saw you had shown interest in what I just wrote in that reblog, and want you to fully understand me!

    First I think you are genuine and do an incredible job with your work and site! That is what I was referring to when I said it’s not all bad out here in cyberspace; you’re a shining example and gem! That is a fundamental given; because there are still so many good honest even God fearing human beings in this world, but, we are in dire straits, so I tend to focus or get called to that reality too often for my own good; as it makes me sad and stresses me too much!

    I was one of the oldest in a large family and was born to worry about everyone’s business or difficulties even to a fault and ignoring my needs; more of a parent than a sibling, and yes that is something many have gone through in life, but in my case I look back and see how I served a purpose that was worthy and honorable to stick by my family, when I could have ran from it all, at the time. Eventually I was never married and still live alone so this cyberspace is a place I put that old learned habit of telling others what to be weary of and not to fall into any traps. The human race in many respects being on the brink now, makes this ever so more important but if I serve a good purpose and die doing it; that is fine by me!

    I hope you are healthy and safe doing what you must and are doing it for and by the grace of God!
    God bless you and yours,

    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence

  8. Good day, Lawrence.

    Thank you for your kind words an for sharing such precious memories from your extraordinary life.
    Family values are what makes this great and busy world worth living, I think. And they are the building blocks of our memories. Hopefully good ones. For this is what we really take with us, wherever we travel.

    Wishing you a blessed weekend and a great week further. May blogging provide you with many reasons to smile.
    Kind regards,
    Pat

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