majestic castle still stands today in
the Carpathian mountains.
Castle was originally a fortress built
by the Knights of the Teutonic Order
in the year 1212. King Ludovic I de
Anjou, began the construction of Bran
Castle, to fortify the one of the kingdom
gates against Ottoman Empire danger.It
was known by the name of Dietrichstein
at the time. Bran Castle was used by
Dracula Voivode (Vlad the Impaler) as
fortified citadel on the fight with
Turks after he conquired Brasov in 1460.
Towards the end of the 13th century,
it was taken over by the Saxons in that
region in order to protect the City
of Brasov, an important trade center.
late, the castle has belonged to the
voivode of Romanian country, Mircea
cel Batran. After his death, the castle
has belonged to princes of Transylvania.
Vlad Tepes, well-known as Dracula (The
Devil), made this castle his residence.
Under its walls there were tough fights
againsts the Turks, which were defended.
was a princely prison, too. At the end
of XIX century, the castle was abandonment.
In 1920 the castle was lived by Royal
Family of Romania, which made some changes.Nowadays,
the castle is a splendid Museum of Medieval
Castle, and it used to be one of Prince
Vlad Tepes' temporary residences...
Vlad Tepes used Bran Castle as headquarters
for his incursions into Transylvania.This
castle should not be mistaken for the
actual Castle Dracula (now in ruins),
which is located on the Arges River,
Vlad Tepes, the real Romanian king that
inspired Bram Stoker's book the presumed
residence of Dracula is in Bistrita,
some 300 kilometers north.
Castle returned to owner
Romania's most popular tourist attractions,
Dracula's Castle, is to be returned
to its ancestral owners 60 years after
being seized by communists. The fourteenth
century castle at Bran, near the city
of Brasov, is one of the best surviving
medieval buildings in Romania.
time to approach Bran Castle is after
midnight. Spotlights make the white
walls soar suddenly above the little
village of the same name. The jumble
of pointed towers give it exactly the
sinister air Bram Stoker imagined for
the home of his hero, Count Dracula.
of the castle to Dominic von Hapsburg,
a New York-based architect, is the latest
step by the Romanian government to restore
property nationalised under the communists.
He's a relative of Queen Marie of Romania,
who used it as a summer residence between
the world wars.
is one of Romania's top tourist destinations,
though the links with Vlad the Impaler,
the probable inspiration for the Dracula
figure, are rather tenuous. At best
he appears to have stayed here for a
few nights in 1462 while fleeing the
Thorpe, BBC News
Harker's Journal Continued
stood a tall old man, clean shaven
save for a long white moustache,
and clad in black from head to foot,
without a single speck of colour
about him anywhere. He held in his
hand an antique silver lamp, in
which the flame burned without a
chimney or globe of any kind, throwing
long quivering shadows as it flickered
in the draught of the open door.
The old man motioned me in with
his right hand with a courtly gesture,
saying in excellent English, but
with a strange intonation.
to my house! Enter freely and of
your own free will!" He made
no motion of stepping to meet me,
but stood like a statue, as though
his gesture of welcome had fixed
him into stone. The instant, however,
that I had stepped over the threshold,
he moved impulsively forward, and
holding out his hand grasped mine
with a strength which made me wince,
an effect which was not lessened
by the fact that it seemed cold
as ice, more like the hand of a
dead than a living man. Again he
to my house! Enter freely. Go safely,
and leave something of the happiness
you bring!" The strength of
the handshake was so much akin to
that which I had noticed in the
driver, whose face I had not seen,
that for a moment I doubted if it
were not the same person to whom
I was speaking. So to make sure,
I said interrogatively, "Count
Bram Stoker Chapter 2
Central Romania - Vallachia Region This
is the "real" Dracula's Castle.
It takes 1425 steps to get to the top
but it is well worth it. The castle
is near the city of Curtea de Arges.
by Vlad Tepes: A.D. 1457
is the ruins of a fortress ("cetate"
in Romanian) rather than a castle, located
at the entrance to the gorge of the
Arges River, north of the town of Curtea
de Arges. Poenari was the castle fortification
that Vlad Tepes forced the nobles of
Tirgoviste to build.
is where, according to another local
legend, Vlad Tepes' first wife flung
herself, committing suicide rather than
being taken captive by the advancing
Turks. This castle is where Vlad would
go for refuge in the face of advancing
enemies. And from its towers he had
a commanding view of anyone approaching
from any direction . On top of that
the fortress was practically impenetrable.
The ocher-colored house named "Casa
Vlad Dracula" ( HOUSE OF DRACULA
), house where Vlad the Impaler was
born, better known as Vlad III Dracula.
This is now a cozy restaurant. You can
find inside Gothic-style furniture and
serve good soups and traditional Romanian
Castle was the place where Dracula Prince
was imprisoned 7 years by Matei Corvin.
14 th Century
Gothic castle. It was built on old Roman
fortifications. Hunedoara castle is
also named Corvinesti Castle. Hunedora
is evocative, with three huge pointed
towers, a drawbridge and high battlements.
Five marble columns with delicate ribbed
vaults support two halls (1453), the
Diet Hall above the Knight's Hall below.
The castle wall was hewn out of 30 m
of solid rock by Turkish prisoners.
was extensively restored by Iancu de
Hunedoara from 1452 onwards. The castle
was restored in 1952; a handful of its
50 rooms today houses a feudal art museum.
Anjou family built the castle on the
older Roman fortifications in 1320.
Sigismund of Luxemburg offered the castle
in 1409 to the Corvins as reward for
special military merits. Iancu de Hunedoara
Corvin was the Transylvanian Prince.
Matei Corvin de Hunedoara, Iancu's son
become the King of Transylvania and
Corvin (Johannes Corvin de Hunyad or
Iancu de Hunedoara) enlarged the construction
existing in the XIV century; as a result
of two succesive construction stages,
a new precincts was developed, between
1441 - 1446, equipped with 7 protective
towers - 4 circular ones and 3 rectangular
ones. He also built most of the Chapel,
the palace proper (The Council's Hall,
The Knight's Hall), the tower of the
winding stairway and the South side,
which included house hold facilities,
during the second stage (1446- 1453).
Castle is also known by the name "Hunyadi
is a more internationally recognized
name for the same family, "Corvins"
being used only by Romanians and Hungarians.
impressive size and architectural
beauty sets it among the most precious
monuments of medieval art, subsequent
developments mixing Gothic style with
Renaissance and Baroque. The building
lies on a rock around which flows
the river Zlasti. It has an impressive
draw bridge, countless towers, a number
of interior courts, and two large
halls, "Knight Hall" and
"Diet Hall", as it housed
the diet of Transylvania for a very
castle history is mostly related to
the Hunyadi family, being the place
where Iancu de Hunedoara spent his
chilhood. Today the castle is being
cared for by the municipality, as
there are no recorded descendants
of the Hunyadi that could pledge for
it. Vlad Dracul, the ruler of Wallachia,
father of the notorious Vlad Dracula,
was imprisoned here, as he had fallen
into disgrace with Hunyadi, not providing
the help promised in the battle against
the Ottomans. (Dracula, who had once
been traded as a hostage to the Ottomans
by his own father, later became a
protege of Hunyadi and took over Wallachia
shortly before his mentor's death
of a fever). The castle and surroundings
are often used by international film
companies for the production of movies
about medieval times.
Iancu de Hunedoara continued his father
incursions against the Turks (Ottoman
Empire) and had Vlad the Impaler as
an ally. Vlad attains the Wallachia
throne in 1456, with an army and help
from Iancu de Hunedoara.
Matthias Corvin (known also as Matei
Corvin) succeeds Iancu de Hunedoara
and become king of Hungary.
before, 1455 the Constantinopole, the
Christian gate to Europe, had fall to
Dracula fight the Turkish army and has
a succesful campain along Danube.
On a massive reply the turks made a
big invasion in Romania (Wallachia province)
and Vlad is forced to flew in the Transylvanian
Alps mountains. When Vlad refugiated
and ask for help to fight back the Turks,
he was imprisoned in the Hunedoara Castle
by the king Matthias Corvin. After 7
years Vlad Dracula was recognized at
the court to be an devoted ally. He
got Matthias's cousin sister as wife
and army support. Vlad the Impaler reconquired
the Wallachian (South Romania province)
throne once again from the Turks collaborators.
his imprisonment in the Hunedoara Castle,
Vlad continued his habits: he beheaded
mouses and impaled them. Also he protected
bats and was talking with them. The
guardians were horrified by his requests
to get more flesh in blood at the dinner.
Castle is combining specific elements
of late Gothic style with early Renaissance
style made this castle the most known
nobiliary fortified residence in Central-Est
Europe. The Corvins owned the castle
and the estate of Hunedoara up to 1508,
followed by 22 other owners up to XVIII
century when the castle and estate became
the property of the Habsbourg Empire.
the castle become a museum.
restoration works has been going on
up now, but because because of "unseeable"
inhabitants roaming the castle the workers
House, in St. Cyrus, Aberdeenshire is
another very spooky place. Bram Stoker
used to spend his holidays at nearby
Cruden Bay, and it's said that he used
the old house as inspiration for Count
supposedly haunted due to a curse that
was placed on the original owners, the
started when Osbert Clare Forsyth-Grant
who lived from 1880 to 1911 joined the
Navy against the wishes of his father.
Supposedly, he sailed from Montrose
to command a whaling ship whose crew
was composed of Scots and Eskimos. Something
happened between Osbert and the Eskimos...no
one seems to know what...but they put
a curse on him and his family. Not long
afterward his ship, the Seduisante was
wrecked in a storm and missing. Supposedly,
there was a mutiny and killing on board,
but no one knows what happened for sure,
because only a few Eskimos lived to
tell about it.
body was never recovered. It's said
that his father never quite recovered
from the incident and continually stood
on the terrace, staring into some binoculars
at the sea, and hoping his son would
return. Supposedly, the old man is still
seen walking the grounds today, waiting
for a son that will never return.
Story goes the Forsyth-Grant family
who owned it had a son who, according
to locals, was a bit of a character.
Placed in charge of a whaling ship he
had a crew with mixed backgrounds and
nationalities, including a group of
Whilst in charge of the ship, he briskly
ordered the eskimo's off but not before
attaining their curse. Where upon the
ship shortly after went missing in a
violent storm, supposedly shipwreked.
Rumours have it that there was supposed
to have beeen a violent mutiny and killings
on board, but its curious only the eskimo's
survived - curse or not ?
The Eskimo's had according to rumour
placed the curse only on the ship but
insisted it was the son 'Osbert Clare
Forsyth-Grant' who sent them a shore,
in order for them to perish.
To this day the family crypt has only
one missing place as no body was ever
found. It is also said 'Osbert Clare
Forsyth-Grant' sustained the wrath of
his father for joining the navy and
not the army where the family had a
long distinguished and honoured reputation.
Of course it is still said to this day
that you can hear footsteps along the
terraces, And the figure who is sometimes
seen with binoculars looking out to
sea searching for his sons ship.
Though now ownership is in private hands,
Ecclescrieg House casts dark shadow
over the nearby village.
Monastery with Dracula's Grave
Romanian Prince. Some people believe
he was the inspiration for the fictional
'Dracula' character. Vlad Dracula was
commonly known as Vlad "Tepes"
(tepes means the impaler in Romanian)
he was well known for impaling his enemies
and collecting their blood in jars and
having feasts near their bodies. He
would dip his bread in these jars of
blood and eat it. This site is the supposed
burial place because in 1931 explorers
dug up this site which according to
Romanian legend he was buried in. But
all they found were animal bones.
Burial in Snagov: The village of Snagov
is a short jog north of Bucharest, and
may be a worthwhile trip for any Dracula
enthusiasts. The most notable feature
is the lake, in the center of which
is located an island. On this island
is a 16th century monastery . . . and
in the monastery—you guessed it—is
the tomb of Vlad the Impaler. What setting
could be more perfect for the grave
of one of history’s spookiest
The Legend of Snagov: In one version
of the story, Vlad the Impaler was murdered
in a nearby forest, and the monks of
the monastery took it upon themselves
to inter the villain. Perhaps the monks
felt indebted to Vlad for the additions
he insisted be added to their abode—most
bizarrely, a prison and a torture chamber.
Whatever the reasons, the monks dressed
the body richly and put it to rest in
front of the church alter.
of Snagov Monastery: Less romantically,
there are some arguments against the
body in the tomb being that of the real
Vlad. While Vlad did request to be buried
at the monastery, some say that it was
another nobleman who was placed in this
to Snagov: You can reach Snagov by bus.
The buses run every couple of hours
to Snagov and stop in the village. Make
sure you wear your walking shoes, because
you’ll have to hike a kilometer
or so to get to the lake. There you
can rent a rowboat to take you to the
island, but you’ll have to row
yourself. If you want to enter the monastery,
you’ll have to be wearing the
proper attire, which usually means no
shorts for anyone and headscarves required
in Snagov: It’s possible that
this could be an expensive trip, as
the people who run the rowboat service
and those who allow you access to the
monastery are well aware of the cash-making
potential of their legendary Impaler.
A $3 rowboat rental could cost you three
times as much on an off-hour, and entrance
fees to the monastery probably vary
from traveler to traveler. So be ready
to bargain if you don’t want to
pay the asking price.
Bram Stoker (1847-1912) studied at
Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
He earned a degree in science (with
honors) in 1868 and a master's degree
in mathematics in 1872. Stoker began
work as a civil servant at Dublin
Castle in 1868. He also worked as
an unpaid drama critic for the Dublin
Evening Mail, and later, as a business
manager of the Lyceum Theatre. Stoker's
first book, The Duties of Clerks of
Petty Sessions in Ireland, was published
in 1879. His short story collection,
Under the Sunset, was published in
1882. In 1892, Stoker began writing
Dracula. Stoker's childhood illness,
which had hysteria-like symptoms,
may have led him to imagine the predicament
he would later create for his vampire
Dracula was the Wallachia (Medieval
Romania) king. His hystorical name was
Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler). Vlad
was born in Sighisoara, Transylvania
province. He was very cruel, especially
with thiefs and country enemies (turks).
The only radical low applied was dead
trough splinter. The condamned was introduced
in the tip of a tall sliver (3 meters),
vertically fixed on the ground. The
death was produced by the loose of the
Tsepes Dracula aka Vlad The Impaler,
Prince of Wallachia (1431-76)
Dracula Vampire Legend is very controversial
these days. Numerous historical facts
prove Dracula was the first well-known
vampire in Transylvania.
Romanians think Vlad the Impaler was
a Good Guy?
more generally how the perception of
evil can differ from person to person.
say that Transylvania sits on one of
earth's strongest magnetic fields and
its people have extra-sensory perceptions.
Vampires are believed to hang around
crossroads on St. George's Day, April
23rd, and the eve of St. Andrew, November
29th. The area is also home to Bram
Stoker's Dracula, and it's easy to get
caught up in the tale while driving
along winding roads through dense, dark,
ancient forests and mountain passes.
Dracula, a fictional character in the
Dracula novel, was inspired by one of
the best-known figures of the Romanian
history — Vlad Dracula, nicknamed
Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) —
who was a ruler of Wallachia (1456-1462).
"Dracula Tours" are being
offered throughout Romania. They include
the most important historical places
related with Vlad Tepes, such as 14th
Century town of Sighisoara — Vlad's
birthplace. The house in which Vlad
Dracula was born has a small plaque
on the door and now is a restaurant
and small museum of medieval weapons.
Other Dracula sights are: the Snagov
Monastery — where, according to
legend, Vlad is said to have been buried
after his assassination; Castle Bran
(Castle Dracula); the Poenari fortress;
the village of Arefu — where many
Dracula legends are still told; the
city of Brasov — where Vlad led
raids against the Saxons merchants;
and, of course, Curtea Domneasca —
Dracula's palace in Bucharest. Some
tours also cover the folkloric aspects
of the fictional Dracula. For instance,
eating the meal Jonathan Harker ate
at The Golden Crown in Bistrita, and
sleeping at Castle Dracula Hotel —
built no so long ago on the Borgo Pass,
approximately where the fictional castle
of the Count is supposed to be.
Figure in The Fifteenth Century
by Benjamin Hugo Leblanc - EPHE-Sorbonne
(Paris) & Laval University (Quebec)
Count Dracula is more than 100 years
old and still alive! Of course, almost
everybody has heard about this Nosferatu:
through movies featuring Max Schreck,
Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee or Gary
Oldman; in several books — among
which the recent Vampire Chronicles
of Anne Rice; or even in bedtime stories
told to us in our childhood. We all
have an idea of who or what the Count
is. However, on the other hand, Vlad
Tepes (Dracula), the historical figure
who inspired Bram Stoker for his novel,
is definitely less known.
Tepes was born in December 1431, in
the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania.
Vlad's father, governor of Transylvania,
had been inducted into the Order of
the Dragon about one year before. The
order — which could be compared
to the Knights of the Hospital of St.
John or even to the Teutonic Order of
Knights — was a semi-military
and religious society, originally created
in 1387 by the Holy Roman Emperor and
his second wife, Barbara Cilli. The
main goal of such a secret fraternal
order of knights was mainly to protect
the interests of Christianity and to
crusade against the Turks. The boyars
of Romania associated the dragon with
the Devil and decided to call Vlad's
father "Dracul" — which
in Romanian language, means "Devil";
"Dracula" is a diminutive,
which means "the son of the Devil."
winter of 1436-1437, Dracul became prince
of Wallachia (one of the three Romanian
provinces) and took up residence at
the palace of Tirgoviste, the princely
capital. Vlad followed his father and
lived six years at the princely court.
In 1442, in order to keep the Turks
at bay, Dracul sent his son Vlad and
his younger brother Radu, to Istanbul,
as hostages of the Sultan Murad II.
Vlad was held in there until 1448. This
Turkish captivity surely played an important
role in Dracula's upbringing; it must
be at this period that he adopted a
very pessimistic view of life and learned
the Turkish method of impalement on
stakes. The Turks set Vlad free after
informing him of his father's assassination
in 1447. He also learned about his older
brother's death and how he had been
tortured and buried alive by the boyars
he was 17 years old, Vlad Tepes (Dracula),
supported by a force of Turkish cavalry
and a contingent of troops lent to him
by pasha Mustafa Hassan, made his first
major move toward seizing the Wallachian
throne. Vlad became the ruler of Wallachia
in July of 1456. During his six-year
reign he committed many cruelties, and
hence established his controversial
major act of revenge was aimed at the
boyars of Tirgoviste for for not being
loyal to his father. On Easter Sunday
of what we believe to be 1459, he arrested
all the boyar families who had participated
at the princely feast. He impaled the
older ones on stakes while forcing the
others to march from the capital to
the town of Poenari. This fifty-mile
trek was quite grueling and no one was
permitted to rest until they reached
destination. Dracula then ordered boyars
to build him a fortress on the ruins
of an older outpost overlooking the
Arges River. Many died in the process,
and Dracula therefore succeeded in creating
a new nobility and obtaining a fortress
for future emergencies. What is left
today of the building is identified
as Poenari Fortress (Cetatea Poenari).
Tepes adopted the method of impaling
criminals and enemies and raising them
aloft in the town square for all to
see. Almost any crime, from lying and
stealing to killing, could be punished
by impalement. Being so confident in
the effectiveness of his law, Dracula
placed a golden cup on display in the
central square of Tirgoviste. The cup
could be used by thirsty travelers,
but had to remain on the square. According
to the available historic sources, it
was never stolen and remained entirely
unmolested throughout Vlad's reign.
Crime and corruption ceased; commerce
and culture thrived, and many Romanians
to this day view Vlad Tepes as a hero
for his fierce insistence on honesty
beginning of 1462, Vlad launched a campaign
against the Turks along the Danube River.
It was quite risky, the military force
of Sultan Mehmed II being by far more
powerful than the Wallachian army. However,
during the winter of 1462, Vlad was
very successful and managed to gain
several victories. To punish Dracula,
the Sultan decided to launch a full-scale
invasion of Wallachia. His other goal
was to transform this land into a Turkish
province. He entered Wallachia with
an army three times larger than Dracula's.
Finding himself without allies, and
forced to retreat towards Tirgoviste,
Vlad burned his own villages and poisoned
the wells along the way, so that the
Turkish army would find nothing to eat
or drink. Moreover, when the Sultan,
exhausted, finally reached the capital
city, he was confronted by a most gruesome
sight: hundreds of stakes held the remaining
carcasses of Turkish captives, a horror
scene which was ultimately nicknamed
the "Forest of the Impaled".
This terror tactic deliberately stage-managed
by Dracula was definitely successful;
the scene had a strong effect on Mehmed's
most stout-hearted officers, and the
Sultan, tired and hungry, decided to
withdraw (it is worth mentioning that
even Victor Hugo, in his Legende des
Siecles, recalls this particular incident).
Nevertheless, following his retreat
from Wallachian territory, Mehmed encouraged
and supported Vlad's younger brother
Radu to take the Wallachian throne.
At the head of a Turkish army and joined
by Vlad's detractors, Radu pursued his
brother to Poenari Castle on the Arges
river. According to the legend, this
is when Dracula's wife, in order to
escape capture, committed suicide by
hurling herself from the upper battlements,
her body falling down the precipice
into the river below — a scene
exploited by Francis Ford Coppola's
production. Vlad, who was definitely
not the kind of man to kill himself,
managed to escape the siege of his fortress
by using a secret passage into the mountain.
He was however, assassinated toward
the end of December 1476.
real link between the historical Dracula
(1431-1476) and the modern literary
myth of the vampire is the 1897 novel.
Bram Stoker built his fictional character
solely based on the research that he
conducted in libraries in London. Political
detractors and Saxon merchants, unhappy
with the new trade regulations imposed
by Vlad, did everything they could to
blacken his reputation. They produced
and disseminated throughout Western
Europe exaggerated stories and illustrations
about Vlad's cruelty. Vlad Tepes' reign
was however presented in a different
way in chronicles written in other parts
of Europe. (Excerpts from a feature
published in Issue #5 of Journal of
the Dark, by Benjamin Leblanc).