Before going back to Bucarest, and because we are in Transylvania, heart of the myth of Dracula, we planed a day trip to the Bran Castle.
We have to confess, it was a little desapointment. The castle is well-maintained and rather interesting (with a litte bonus: the torture chamber, where there is a lot to learn…), but the entry fee is a bit high…
Little historical point on Dracula’s myth inspired from the life of a real prince.
Well… to get straight to the point: he was not a vampire. Yes, everybody lied to us.
His name was Vlad Basarab also know as Vlad Țepeș (the “Impaler” in Romanian) or Vlad III the Impaler. And nicknammed: Dracula.
Born in the XVth century (around 1430) in Sighișoara, his father was Vlad II the Dragon (Vlad Dracul). His nickname comes from his participation to dragon order (not vampires).
He had a peacefull childhood, sent to the ottoman empire as hostage of the sultan Murad II. Pretty nice. Nevertheless he lived a life of prince with certains privilegies, such as having his own servants (slaves in fact)…
He met some very friendly people in the ottoman empire and went to his firts impalement parties (if you change some letters to “impalement” you may find: “a nice torture, involving the delicate encounter between a stake and a human body, both ending interwoven…”)
In 1448, back from his holidays on the ottoman territories, Vlad took advantage of the lack of any chief and took, discreetly, control of the region. Major Succes. He staid on the throne for 2 months. Chased away, he fled and kept a low profile for a while.
In 1456, he was benefiting from a little chaos in the region (just after the fall of Constantinople) to return to power, to kill the old chief (to be sure that he will never come back) and to create a sympathic terror regim against aristocratia. He fought corruption, impaled (for example) several robbers, and became adulated by the people. That’s all.
After different struggles, he succeeded to remain in power until 1462, year during which he broke his alliance with the Ottomans. The latters, in revenge decided to invade the Walachia region. This mission was offered to Radu cel frumos (Radu the Handsome), who accepted, no matter the fact that he was the brother of Vlad… (just a small war between brothers and so many possibilities to create a great Hollywood movie!). Vlad, loosing ground on this war, left different surprises to Ottomans, who, around Târgoviște found one hundred ottomans officers impaled on stakes (this is known as the “Stakes forest”)… Finally, the little “bro”, Radu the Handsome” acquires the throne in august 1462.
Requiring the support from hungrian people, which turn to be not so supportive, Vlad Țepeș was made prisoner in Buda (capital of Hungaria)… For 12 years (not so kind the Hungarian…)
Once released, he went back to Walachia and developed the little town of Bucarest that will become the capital of the principalty.
In 1476, Vlad came back as Prince but died the same year, in mysterious circumstances (strangely the possibility of a murderer has been considered…)
So, Vlad Tepes is the one who inspired Brams Stoker’s character “Dracula”, the book published in 1897.
Bran Castle shows only few evidences of the presence of Vlad Țepeș but presents some intersting pictures of Queen Maria who governed Romania until 1938.
After this quick historical interlude, we let you with some pictures of the Castle and of our little walk in the surrounding woods.