Sighisoara in Romania has a look and atmosphere that immediately makes us think of Count Dracula. We should not be surprised, in fact Sighişoara is located in Transylvania and was the birthplace of Vlad III the Impaler. A historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker to write the novel Dracula. It was not fa coincidence that Vlad was really called Vlad Dracul.
The medieval centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you will immediately understand why. Visiting the centre is certainly a unique pleasure.
The centre had 14 defense towers, each managed by a different guild and corporation, this was an area often attacked by the Turks. The towers have been used a lot. Now 9 of these towers survive, for example the shoemakers’, the tailors’ and the blacksmiths’ towers remain. They are generally closed to the public but are nice to photograph from outside.
The clock tower which dates back to 1300 is not closed to the public. Not only is it beautiful to look at but you can also climb it to have beautiful panoramic views.
Many will want to visit Vlad Dracul’s house where there is now a restaurant, but if you go there and ask the waiters, for a small fee they will show you Vlad’s room.
Sighisoara in Romania; the place of Vlad the Impaler
The unpronounceable Piaţa Cetăţii is the market square that was the centre of medieval life of the town, here there were also the many executions by Vlad.
The church of the Dominican monastery has a decidedly Baroque look and was in fact rebuilt in 1600 after a raging fire. The church has existed here since at least 1200. Visit it just to see the carpets from Anatolia. Behind the church you will find a statue of a very mustachioed Vlad Dracul.
If you feel like climbing stairs, you can go up to see the church on the hill in a late Gothic style. This church was also older and initially in Romanesque style but was rebuilt in Gothic style in 1300-1400.
There is also a festival dedicated to vampires, during the event you may have problems finding a place to sleep, so book in advance.
Sighisoara in Romania is located on the railway line to Bucharest and therefore easily accessible
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – a pub with a literary history
In Hampshire looking for Jane Austen
Many people when they think of Jane Austen, they think of Bath, in fact, the well-known British writer lived for 25 years in the county of Hampshire.
This county appears relatively little in her novels, but if you go to Hampshire, you can visit some places related to the writer. In particular we can visit a museum dedicated to her which is located in a small brick cottage where the writer lived from 1809 to 1817.
This after having lived in Southampton and Bath. Clearly these larger places gave her ideas and inspiration that she would not have had in the country but it is only after returning to a quiet place that Jane Austen resumed writing.
The museum is located in Chawton and you can still see the original furniture such as the desk where Austen àwrote some of her works.
Edward, the writer’s brother had become rich and while Austen frequented wealthy circles, she was not from a wealthy family. The brother lived nearby and visiting him meant frequenting a wealthy and fashionable environment. His brother’s house still stands today and is called Chawton House, a 16th century Tudor-style house.
The house now houses in its library a collection of books written by women if you go just outside the house of St Nicholas church you will see the graves of Austen’s mother and sister. If you want to continue your Jane Austen tour in Hampshire you can take the scenic railway called Watercress Line to Aston where the Jane Austen festival is held every June. Aston was where Austen used to shop regularly.
The Vyne is a house definitely worth visiting, it is located near Basingstoke and was a house from the Tudor times, where Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon and many others also stayed. Jane Austen was a friend of the family who lived here at the time and therefore she used to come often and participate in the dances and other social gatherings.
Jane had to leave her beloved cottage when her health deteriorated and so she went to live in Winchester to be near her doctors. That is why her grave is in Winchester Cathedral. Originally her grave did not say she was a writer because all of her books were published anonymously when she was alive
Dunster Castle in Somerset; what you can find
The castle on a hill called Tor has existed since before the Norman invasion, even though it was made of wood until the end of 1100.
In the late 1300s the castle was purchased by the Luttrell family who lived there until 1976 when the castle and land were donated to the National Trust.
On several occasions, especially in the Tudor period, the Luttrell family renovated the property practically transforming it into a villa.
In 1800 it was renovated again to adapt to modern tastes, it was the times of the Neo-Gothic revival and then the castle was transformed into a building in that style that is as you see it now. The architect who worked there was Anthony Salvin, also famous for the works of Alnwick Castle which is Hogwarth in the Harry Potter films, therefore2nm you can imagine the style.
Almost nothing remains of the medieval castle now except the large tower and the ruins of some towers. The castle can be visited in spring and summer and is managed by the National Trust, if you are registered with this organisation you will not pay the entrance fee.
Among the many things to see at Dunster Castle are the interiors which are undoubtedly interesting, a portrait of John Luttrell’s Tudor times showing him along with the three graces and several Greek goddesses.
Dunster Castle is also home to several species of bats that you can find in the park, and don’t miss the gardens which are an oasis of the Mediterranean in the middle of Somerset.
The views of the Bristol Channel that you can get from the park are also not to be missed. You can also visit a perfectly functioning old water mill.
Like all self-respecting castles Dunster Castle has a ghost, rumored to be in King Charles’ bedroom. Dunster Castle also hosts numerous events throughout the year, from falconry to Easter egg hunts.
Concerts coming up!
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