Welcome to Târgoviște, a historic city located in the Dâmbovița County of Romania. Situated 80 kilometers northwest of Bucharest, Târgoviște is a hidden gem that boasts a rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and mouthwatering local cuisine. Let’s explore the many treasures of Târgoviște and reveal why this enchanting destination should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
Târgoviște was one of the most important cities in the history of Wallachia, as it was its capital between the early 15th and 16th centuries. The name Târgoviște is a Slavic name which the city acquired in the Middle Ages. It is derived from the old Slavonic word for marketplace, referring to the place rather than the market itself. The city has a population of 79,610 people, making it the 26th largest in the country.
The area of Târgoviște which was first inhabited is located where the Saint Nicholas-Geartoglu Church and Stelea Veche Church stand today. It was in this place that the first fortifications were built: a small stone building surrounded by a brick wall and a moat, probably belonging to a local ruler. Another nucleus of the city was built by Saxon colonists from Transylvania, in the area where the Catholic Saint Mary Church is located, a church that was built during the early years of the colony. The colonists came around the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century, the same period that Câmpulung was colonized. The town had a night watch which was also known by a Latin term (viglu < vigilia) instead of the local terms such pază or strajă. Under Mircea the Elder (1383–1419), Târgoviște became the third capital of Wallachia. Throughout the period it was the capital of Wallachia, the Princely Court in Târgoviște (Curtea Domnească din Târgoviște) had been constantly refurbished and extended. The compound was surrounded by stone walls and a moat and a new church and a tower had been built. Vlad III Dracula (the Impaler) later added the Chindia Tower, now a symbol of the city. Starting with 1565, for the next two centuries, the rulers alternated the capital between Târgoviște and Bucharest, often on political reasons, as the former was preferred by the rulers who were more friendly toward Transylvania and the King of Hungary. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, Târgoviște was a major trade hub, especially with Poland, Brașov, and Sibiu. As the capital of Wallachia, Târgoviște faced numerous sieges and invasions. In 1395, it was sieged and set on fire by Bayezid I. In 1457, the townsfolk of Târgoviște were punished by Vlad III Dracula for their involvement in the assassination of his brother: the elite of the city were killed, while the young were sent to work at his Poenari Castle. The Ottoman invasion of 1462 did not reach the city, being prevented by Vlad III through The Night Attack. In 1476, the city was taken by Stephen V Báthory following a fifteen-day siege intended to restore Vlad to the throne. Several other battles were fought near the city during the rules of Neagoe Basarab and Radu of Afumați. After the capital was finally moved to Bucharest during the rule of Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688–1714), Târgoviște lost its importance, decaying economically as its population decreased. Today, Târgoviște is a vibrant city that offers visitors a glimpse into its rich history and culture. The city is home to several museums, including the Museum of History and Archaeology, the Museum of Printing and Old Romanian Books, and the Museum of Art. Visitors can also explore the Chindia Tower, the symbol of the city, which offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The city is also known for its delicious local cuisine, which includes dishes such as sarmale (stuffed cabbage rolls), mici (grilled minced meat rolls), and papanasi (a type of doughnut served with sour cream and jam). Getting to Târgoviște is easy, as the city is a railway node, with branches serving Titu. The city can also be easily approached from all sides by road. In the city, public transport is provided by Public Transport and includes bus and maxi-taxi. Târgoviște is twinned with several cities, including Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria and Kruševac in Serbia. In conclusion, Târgoviște is a hidden gem that offers visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you're interested in exploring the city's rich history, sampling its delicious local cuisine, or simply enjoying the stunning views, Târgoviște is a destination that should not be missed.