Visiting Vlad

I thought that negotiating my way to Snagov Monastery was going to be difficult, with me knowing very little Romanian and the Romanians knowing very little English. But one look at me dressed all in black, with black hair and black make-up, and the guide instinctively knew my destination. With arms crossed against his chest in imitation of a corpse he asked “Dracula?” I nodded. We then got into his row-boat and slowly travelled to Vlad Tepes’ burial place in the quaint Orthodox monastery on the small island of Snagov.

On arrival I was greeted by the monk who takes care of the church and surrounding land. Ironically he was dressed from head to toe in black: an Orthodox custom that eerily reflected the vampiric persona attached to Tepes. Language again proved no barrier as the sprightly priest used sign language to show off his beautiful church. Pride of place, at the foot of the altar, lay Vlad Tepes’ grave. A portrait of the warrior prince graced the site. Showing my camera, I gestured that I wanted to take photographs. In perfect English the monk quickly replied “twenty euros”; it was the only English he spoke. I was happy to pay, as the money goes to preserving this fragile structure. The fee paid, the monk quickly left me alone to photograph the grave and monastery at will. When I finished inside, he took me outside to introduce me to his dog and to show off the surrounding pastoral lands complete with goats and cows. Scribbling in the dirt with a stick, the monk slowly explained that the ancient well before me was built by Vlad Tepes himself. Before leaving, I went back to the monastery and paid a fond farewell to the man whose legend inspired Stoker to name his famous fictional vampire after him. It was with great reluctance that I left Dracula’s final resting place.

Visiting Vlad

v-something

Point Cook, Australia

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Artist's Description

Musings on my visit to the burial place of Vlad Tepes, aka the Impaler, aka Dracula.

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