Introductory photo Valentin Grigore
Text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
Design Florin Alexandru Stancu-

Starting from an image with Dracula’s Tower Chindia in Targoviste,
accompanied by the Moon and Venus,
which Valentin Grigore took in 2018 August 14,
I invite you to another place connected to the memory of
the former great ‘voievod” and “domnitor” of
the Romanian Land of Wallachia.

In the end of July 2017
I began to follow moments from a new lunar cycle
just because a partial lunar eclipse was “programmed” on August 7.

I continued in the beginning of August.

On August 5
I went to the Youth Park in Bucharest (Children’s World zone)
to recollect myself in front of a statue of Vlad Tepes Dracula,
just a few hours before starting to…
the Vlad Tepes Island,
a place where it is supposed that
the great “voievod” and “domnitor” was buried.

I enjoyed the dusk, the Moon
and the star adorning Dracula’s cape,
which seemed to be the sister of the planet Jupiter,
visible among the tree branches.

On the next morning
the star of Dracula seemed to be overtaken by the planet Venus,
firstly in urban environment and than in a natural one,
and I started to the Snagov Lake,
remarking more new aspects in the northern surroundings of Bucharest
(such as a modern mosque close to a traditional Chinese gate,
and a wooden crucifix close to the destination).

Snagov is one of the most famous lakes in Romania,
surrounded by forests and used for
relaxation and fishing,
after it was a shelter during the foreign invasions
even from Geto-Dacian times.

In the 1930s it became the headquarters of Romanian nautical sports,
hosting many national championships and international competitions,
and being the main base for training of the Romanian rovers,
who won 19 gold medals at the Summer Olympics until today.

Also in the 1930s
a member of the Romanian Royal Family, Prince Nicolae,
built a palace on a bank.

But the most attractive place of the lake is a small island,
where a few monks made a monastic center in the 11th century
as a base for a future monastery.

Then the island attracted the attention
of more “voievods” and “domnitots” of Wallachia:

-Vladislav (Vlaicu) II made a wooden church (14th century);

-Mircea cel Batran (the Elder) made a stone church (around the 1400s);

-Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) Dracula made walls and a tower (in the 1450);

-Neagoe Basarab re-made the church in the current form (1521);

-Matei Basarab brought here a printing press (the 1660s);

-Constantin Brancoveanu brought a better one
and his “mitropolite” (Orthodox Church leader), Antim Ivireanul,
used it to print religious books in Romanian,
Greek, Slavonic, Arabic and Georgian
for the Christians from the countries occupied by the Ottoman Empire,
so that we can say that the island became, for a short time,
even the main cultural radiant of world Orthodox Christianity.

The island served in time also as prison, bank, museum and school,
and today it is named the Vlad Tepes “Ostrov”,
especially because, after a legend,
Dracula’s relics could be hidden here.

Anyway, to walk to this monastery-island,
with the close vision of the Snagov Palace,
gives birth rather to an angelic feeling,
so no traces from the horror atmosphere created by the vampire
from Bram Stoker’s novel,
named also Dracula.

Thinking of Bram Stoker’s Dracula
As being something historically fake,
I said: “It’s true!” when I saw the Sun
Over Dracula’s Island on the Snagov Lake.

After this visit to the island named after a brave defender
of his country and entire Christianity
(Dracula defeated
the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople,
close to Tower Chindia in 1462)
I returned to Bucharest
and I watched the Moon again.

One day later, in the last part of August 7
I enjoyed a beautiful crepuscular time,
followed by the partial lunar eclipse
(don’t worry,
I didn’t see any varcolac
-the stronger variant of a vampire,
after old traditions-
biting the natural satellite).

The similitude between
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
And Vlad Tepes Dracula
Is the same with
The similitude between
A vampire-varcolac
And the Earth’s shadow.

Vlad the Impaler,
Would you use your military art
To defend the sky of your country when
The Moon is eclipsed in part?


© 2019 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)