Curtea de Arges, generally simply called Arges, is a Romanian city in the Carpathian foothills. It is on the Arges River, about 150 km from Bucharest. The city was an important stronghold in medieval times, and in 1330 it became Romania’s first capital. Every year thousands of tourists come to budget hotels in Arges because of the local connection to the legend of Dracula.
A few kilometers outside Arges is Poienari Castle, also known as the Castle of Vlad Tepes. Vlad was the Romanian prince whose bloody career inspired Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. Vlad built this castle as a defensive measure against the Turks. There are many dark stories associated with this castle, including one about the suicide of Vlad’s wife. The other great attraction for visitors of Arges is the 16th century Curtea de Arges Cathedral. This is one of the most famous buildings in Romania. It has been immortalized by poets and artists. It was built in Byzantine style and is a treasure house of mosaics. The church was built on the grounds of the Curtea de Arges Monastery, which also has the tombs of Romanian royalty. Not far from Arges is the Vidraru Dam, the 5th largest dam in Europe. The artificial lake created by the dam is a popular recreation area. This is the site of the huge statue of Prometheus by Constantin Popovici.