Târgovişte is the biggest town in Dâmboviţa county, nevertheless a rather peaceful one (at least during the weekend), with a population of around 90000. Situated at about 80km from Bucharest, it is most famous for its history. The town was capital and political-economic center of Wallachia (Ţara Românească) between 1396 and 1714.
This region has been inhabited since the neolithic age, with traces from the Stancevo-Criş, Gumelniţa and Coţofeni cultures. The town was first attested in 1396, in the "Travel Accounts" of Johannes Schiltberger. The most important landmark is the Royal Court Museum Complex (Curtea Domnească), which is believed to have been built before Mircea cel Bătrân (1355 – 1418). Standing as a symbol of the city, the Chindia Tower (Turnul Chindiei) inside the Princely Court was built during the reign of Vlad III the Impaler (Vlad Ţepeş), with it's final form dating back to the XIX-th century. Nowadays the ruins are being reconditioned and are opened to the public for visiting. Inside the complex one can see besides the ruins and the Chindia Tower the royal church and "Sfânta Vineri" Church. The location on the map can be found here, and some more info on wikipedia.
While in town, one shouldn't miss the Chindia Zoo, with all sorts of animals and a very relaxing place, as well as the Chindia park. Some of my personal photos follow, while more can be found here (and also here, but it's not specified what pictures are from the zoo).
Being a town rich in history one can also visit the following (a more complete list can be seen here):
- Stelea Monastery Complex - with medieval buildings, the newest one dating back to the XVII-th century
- the park of the Metropolitan Church (parcul Mitropoliei) - where the ruins of the old church can still be seen along the new church (finished in 1933)
- the History Museum
- the Dealu Monastery (just outside the town), dating back to the XV-th century.
- the Art Museum
- lots of historic buildings and churches, dating from the end of the Middle Ages to the XX-th century.