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  • Day18

    Dracula unpacked

    June 3, 2019 in Romania ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    After lunch we visited Bran Castle, aka Dracula's Castle. But how did it become so...
    Here's all the pieces to the puzzle....

    The castle is a medieval fortress built in 1382 in Bran Pass, a strategic location only metres from the border of Transylvania and Wallachia Provinces. Its main function was customs duty collecting and defending the border.

    Vlad Tepes III (Vlad the Impaler) was the King of Wallachia and famed for his favourite method of torturing his enemies by impaling them on greased poles, ensuring a prolonged death and a graphic display to any other invaders of their likely fate.

    Vlad's father (Vlad Tepes II) was admitted to the Order of the Dragon and was known as Vlad Dracul (dragon in Romanian), so his son became Vlad Dracula (son of Dracul).

    Vlad the Impaler only visited Bran Castle a handful of times with his father when he was young. The most time he spent there was 2 weeks... in the dungeon as a prisoner after he was captured by enemy forces.

    In Romanian mythology, the evil part of a dead person's soul (the Strigoi) doesn't leave the body until it is exhumed, and a wooden stake driven through the heart to release the spirit.

    Countess Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian noble woman, whose family ruled Transylvania for a time, who reputedly killed 650 young girls and bathed in their blood in an attempt to keep her skin young.

    Bram Stoker never visited Romania but took the bits he liked from all of the above, added a vampire and garlic, and Count Dracula was born ☺

    Stoker wrote that Dracula "inhabited a decaying castle in the Carpathian Mountains" - the Romanian tourism authorities in the 1970's thought Bran Castle fitted this description and encouraged the link in the pursuit of tourism dollars... which continue strongly to this day!
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