Snagov Monastery


View of Snagov Monastery near Bucharest, Romania

©UBACH/DE LA RIVA/Getty Images

Tiny Snagov Island, at the northern end of Snagov Lake, is home to Snagov Monastery and Vlad Ţepeş' alleged final resting place. The small stone church dates from the 15th century; Vlad Ţepeş’ purported grave is located towards the back of the church.

The island is connected to the mainland by bridge. You can also get here by boat from Snagov village or resorts along the shore. Expect to pay around 100 lei for a ride out and back.

As with many aspects of the ‘Dracula’ story, there is much debate as to whether the body buried here actually belongs to Ţepeş. The bloodthirsty prince died in 1476 battling the Turks near Bucharest. His head was famously lopped off and carried back to Istanbul, where it was paraded on a stick. What happened to the rest of the body was never made clear. Whether or not he’s actually buried here, Vlad Ţepeş apparently had strong connections to Snagov. In 1456 he built fortifications around the monastery. He also built a bridge from the lake to the mainland, a bell tower, a new church, an escape tunnel and a prison and torture chamber. The remains of the prison (behind the present-day church) can still be seen.

There’s been a church here since at least the 11th century, when Mircea cel Bătrân first built a wooden structure. The monastery was added in the late 14th century during the reign of King Dan I (r 1383–86), and in 1453 the wooden church was replaced by a stone edifice that later sank into the lake. The present church came after that.