The Old Princely Court was the first Royal Court built in Bucharest. Initially, it included a Palace, a church, spaces meant for servants and the royal gardens. We know only a few details about the Court’s founder, but according to historical researchers who have studied the history of Bucharest, it was built by Mircea cel Batran. Today, the Old Princely Court is an outdoor museum which hosts quite often cultural events, festivals and medieval art fairs.
The first Royal building in Bucharest, the Old Princely Court was constructed by Mircea cel Batran between the end of the XIV century and the beginning of the XV century. It is one of the most important historical sites from the Capital’s Old Town. In 1972 it was turned into a museum that has the same name and which is an original representation of the vestiges of the royal residences from the XVI-XIX centuries. Even now you can still see the foundations of the XIV century city and the stone walls of Bucurestilor city.
The Old Princely Court was the place where for a couple hundred years the nobles used to gather, where the history of a country that was mostly under the Ottoman’s threat was written. The Old Court was also the place where the first Romanian literature was born, where the national spirit regained its originality through art and culture.
According to historians, the Old Princely Court was located on a very tall hill and it was surrounded to the South by the very high bank of the Dambovita River and to the other cardinal points by very strong walls. The access into the Old Court was possible through two opposite gates.
The first gate which was located at the intersection of Smardan and Halelor Street had several names like the Upper Gate, The German Tower, the Royal Bell, and much later after the stone tower was ruined, the Red Tower. The second gate, the Lower Gate, was located in the place where Mosilor Street begins.
In the XV century, Vlad Tepes, the ruller of the Romanian Country, consolidated the city and turned it into his royal residence, an alternative to the one he already had in Targoviste.
The old Princely Court suffered over the years numerous restorations works, starting with second half of the XIV century, from Basarab cel Tanar and until Mircea Ciobanul, Matei Basarab and Constantin Brancoveanu.
After the fire from 1718 which destroyed almost the entire Bucharest and after the earthquake in 1738, the Old Princely Court was closed.
Nowadays, the Old Court is just a cluster of ruins – a few ancient Turkish baths and old walls that mark the limits of the former royal palace. The ruins of the Old Princely Court become a protected archaeological site, turned into a museum named “Old Princely Court Museum”. It is a very interesting and fascinating tourist attraction in Bucharest that offers a rich and unique cultural experience.