Ever been curious about the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” novel?
Yesterday, I took a mini 40km expedition to the Bran (“Dracula”) Castle in Transylvania. This is the legendary castle of “Vlad III the Impaler”, who impalled or tortured 40,000 to 100,000 people during his rule in the 15th century over modern day Romania.
The Bran “Dracula” Castle
5 things I learned about Dracula
- “Vlad III the Impaler” ruled over what is modern day Romania in the 15th century.
- His father, Vlad II, was a knight in the “Dragon Order”, which protected the empire against Turks. The order’s coat of arms had a dragon on it and Vlad II was nicknamed “Dracul” (the Devil).
- Vlad III the Impaler signed himself as Draculea, the Devil’s son, and that name later became “Dracula” in Bram Stoker’s novel.
- During his rule, he impalled, skinned and boiled 40,000 to 100,000 criminals, Turks and conspirers. According to legend there were sometimes forests of stakes with enemies’ heads.
- Bram Stoker, the Irish writer, read stories these stories, which helped form the character in the “Dracula” novel published in 1897.
Approaching the castle, I expected the atmosphere to be dark, but against clear blue skies, it was far from creepy all. Inside the castle, there were exhibits of furnishings, clothing and information about past castles residents, all crowded by energetic Romanian children on school trips.
I did walk in an unlit secret passage (something I always daydreamed about as a child!) between the first and third floors, but the passage just lead to another room of school kids.
Fortunately, in the week I’ve been in Brasov, I’ve seen no signs of vampires or paranormal creatures, only large stray dogs (maybe werewolves?!)
Along the way to the Dracula Castle, we also stopped at the Rasnov Citadel.
Rasnov Citadel, Transylvania
The Rasnov Citadel was also built by the “Teutonic Knights” in 1215 (a Catholic order and defended against invading Turks).
Directions & costs
- Admission to Bran (Dracula) Castle: 20 lei ($6.75)
- Admission to Rasnov Citadel: 6 lei ($2.00)
Transportation costs from Brasov
- Bus from central Brasov to large bus station: 1.5 lei ($0.50)
- Bus from Brasov to Rasnov: 3.5 lei ($1.20), 25 minutes, 17km
- Bus from Rasnov to Bran: 3 lei ($1.00), 15 minutes, 15 km
- Bus from Bran back to Brasov: 6 lei ($2.10), 40 minutes, 40km
Other resources for Dracula Castle and Rasnov
- Romania 101 on Wikitravel
- Ghost sightings at Rasnov Citadel
- Rasnov on Wikitravel (including how to hitchhike!)
>> Would you have expected Dracula’s castle to be more scary? Are you curious about visiting Transylvania, Romania? Leave your comments below!
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