The Chindiei (Sunset) Tower is since many centuries the emblem of the town of Targoviste, seat of Dambovita County northwest of Bucharest. The tower is the most important milestone of the town, a historical symbol associated to legendary figures of Romanian history, ruling princes Mircea the Elder, Vlad Dracul (the Dragon) and the latter’s son Vlad Tepes, the prototype of mythical Dracula.
Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE
Under Voivode Mircea the Elder, the first buildings of the Princely Court were erected — a residence and a church with a chapel.
A controversy persists over the Chindiei Tower. One version says it was built by Tepes’s father Vlad Dracul (1436-1448) around 1440. Another one dates it from Vlad Tepes second reign (he had three, in 1448, 1456-1462, and 1476).
Princely Court in Targoviste
Photo credit: (c) Mihai ALEXE / AGERPRES ARCHIVE
It evolved from a bell tower during the first half of 15th century to a sentry tower, refuge, and defence over the 15th and 16th century, then to clock tower in the 17th century; the later use gave its name.
Architect J. Schlatter of Vienna changed the tower’s features in the 19th century, when he restored it on a commission of ruling prince Gheorghe Bibescu (1840 — 1848).
It is a cylindrical brick building supported by a truncated pyramid based finished with wrought stone. It is 27 meters high, with an 8.5-meter diameter. Three wooden floors divide it inside; climbing is possible on a spiral stair to the top terrace bordered by crenels.
The tower is located inside the princely court of Targoviste, a complex of buildings and medieval fortifications used as residence by 33 Voivodes of Wallachia.
The tower now hosts an exhibition dedicated to the two Voivodes of the Draculesti family, Vlad ‘the Dragon’ and his son Tepes (the Impaler). ‘The Chindiei Tower of the Princely Court of Targoviste monumental complex is an emblem for Dambovita County locals; it’s the most visited tourist attraction in Targoviste. The number of visiting tourists was higher this year, more than 71,000, allowing us to hope for 140,000 by the end of the year,’ museum director Ovidiu Carstina told AGERPRES.
Several promotional items were created for the branding operation, including the Chindiei Tower chocolate and a ‘Voivodes’ wine’ marketed as Princeps Valachiae.
The first edition of the Dracula Medieval Festival was held at the Princely Court of Targoviste in 2014. It featured the re-enactment of the nighttime attack of Vlad Tepes on a Turks’ camp by 100 volunteers, stuntmen and actors, performing among the ruins.
Dracula Medieval Festival — 2014
Photo credit: (c) Cornelia DUMITRU / AGERPRES PHOTO
Local authorities voiced their satisfaction about the event held between June 13 and 16 and announced a second edition in 2015, to attract tourists to the town and the county. Several thousands of visitors attended over the four days of the festival, both in the court and in the Chindia Park. They could visit medieval craft shops, see a parade, shop at the Merchants at Citadel Gate fair, go to theatre and concerts, and witness the re-enactment of Tepes’s exploit.
The organizers want to turn the event into a hallmark of Targoviste.
‘I am happy about the first edition. (…) I want it to become a traditional festival to lead us where we want, that is to promoting tourism in Targoviste and Dambovita,’ said County Council Chairman Adrian Tutuianu.
Local authorities want as many events as possible organized at Chindiei Tower to attract tourists; in August and September, Kemal Basar will direct a performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet there — the same already seen during the medieval festival.
A sound sculpture show premiered at the tower in June; a Swedish artist created it using a multichannel audio system installed inside the tower to play sounds recorded at the polar circle, including snowdrops falling, rain, bells, and reindeer herds.
Last year, the Targoviste Municipal Council discussed the need for a town’s brand, and the Chindiei Tower was considered the best symbol for the purpose. AGERPRES