Be it because you find the legend of Dracula fascinating or because you are simply looking for an amazing place to visit in Romania, Bran Castle is an excellent choice!
Complete with breathtaking sights from the higher points of the castle, narrow hallways with arrowslits and oval staircases that you have to mind your step on
The museum has verious items pertaining to the private collections of its owners [such as furniture pieces and a few art pieces] and it is a genuine treat to see prop costumes from historical movies shot in the communist era by renound director Sergiu Nicolaescu and items from the 1992 adaptation of “Dracula” You are also in for a surprise on the 4th floor of the museum as you are introduced to a series of myths and folk tales from the region – bonus: the earye atmosphere gives it even more of a goth kink 😉
† Dracula vs. Dracula
To Vlad the Impaler the year 1476 was a tragic and sad chapter.
After his reinstatement on the throne was delayed for almost two years, his last reign was as short as the first. It took prince Basarab Laiota only a few weeks to return with Ottoman support and kill him.
Although it is known that he participated in several campaigns under Matthias Corvinus as an army general, we can be only certain of his acts in the winter of 1475 to 1476.
He participated in the battle of Bosnia, where he used one of his signature methods to conquer the city of Srebrenica. During the day of a local fair, 500 of his people gained entrance disguised as merchants and slaughtered the garrison.
The Turks had come to be horrified only by hearing his name!
When, in the late spring of 1476, his cousin Stephen the Great was attacked by the Sultan, Vlad gathered troops in Transylvania and marched with Stephen Bathory [uncle of Elizabeth Bathory] to help Moldova.
Although they did not arrive in time to prevent their loss of the battle, they helped Stephen the Great to drive out the Turks out of his land.
Only then did the three cross the border in Wallachia and Vlad was on the throne of Targoviste for a third time with the help of Stephen the Great and Stephen Bathory.
But he was unable to stand on it for a long time – in the end it was the noblemen who betrayed him.
According to legend Dracula was beheaded and his head was sent to the Turkish Sultan as a reassurement that the dreaded Wallachian prince was dead. His head was exposed in a square in Constantinople so that the Turks could once again feel safe and trust their ruler again after the epic fail represented by the campaign the Sultan had started against Dracula.
For many years is was believed that the body of Vlad the Impaler had been buried at the monastery of Snagov, but recent excavations contradict these data. NO bones were found to match the period of Dracula, and some grave historians hypothesize that they were actually switched to another grave to protect Dracula`s last resting place – recent theories rank the monastery of Comana as a more probable burial site.
† Vlad the Impaler
† Count Dracula
When Vlad Dracul grew apart from John Hunyadi and started to pay tribute to the Sultan he gained an additional foe in the person of his former brother in arms.
The sultan never trusted him, but Vlad realized the futility of the war and decided to retire as not to endanger the economy of Wallachia more than it had already been.
Knowing that the wallachian would betray him at any moment if Hunyadi rebuild his forces, the sultan set a trap and demanded that the tribute from 1442 be paid in person. Vlad Dracul was captured and not allowed to return to Wallachia until two of his sons were brought to Adrianople [Edinet]: Vlad and Radu.
Unfortunately Vlad Dracul returned home only to be killed at the command of John Hunyadi.
Young Vlad was sent with his younger brother in a city from Minor Asia [near Bursa], where he spent several years not in prison as historians previously thought but in a manor. They were treated as princes and had the opportunity to learn the Turkish language and customs.
While Vlad developed a deep hatred for the Turks and studied their military organization [knowledge that was to be extremely useful in developing future strategies in the war], Radu became an intimate of the sultan Mehmet and converted to Islam.
Although after his father died Vlad managed to reclaim the throne in Targoviste [helped by some landowners] he was banished shortly afterwards. This first rule in 1448 lasted at least 2 weeks within a maximum of 3 months.
Over the next eight years would be a ranger, taking refuge first in Moldova with his uncle Bogdan and then in Transylvania taking his cousin Stephen with him [he would later become Stephen the Great].
In the three years spent in Moldova [before Bogdan was overthrown and killed], Vlad reunited with his father`s widow and his step-sister. There are many documents attesting that Alexandra returned to Wallachia at one point after her brother took the throne in his second reign and we find some of her descendants in the following centuries in important families from the areas around Targoviste.
Vlad the Impaler was received in Transylvania for a very short period – Vlad and Hunyadi were not as close as we’d imagined … at least at the beginning, perhaps because Vlad knew that his father died at the command of the Transylvanian governor.
More than likely Hunyadi received him in one of his cities [Brasov or Sighisoara] for fear that he would otherwise resort to using help from the new Turkish sultan, Mehmed the 2nd, who remained recorded in history as the Conqueror of Constantinople.
Just because they were focusing on the siege of the imperial city, in November 1451 an armistice was signed on a minimum of three years, which included Wallahia. Hungary couldn`t intervene in Wallachia in any way, and Vladislav the 2nd was protected from any actions that would remove him from the throne.
Authorities in Brasov had to remove Vlad from the city because of this treaty, after receiving a letter from John Hunyadi, dated February 6, 1452.
The next four years remain a mystery.
We can not know exactly where Vlad Dracula fled, but in 1456 he was already among the protégées of John Hunyadi, and the latter was planning to put him on the wallachian throne.
† Vlad the Impaler
† Count Dracula
Although the Romanians know him up to this day as “Vlad Tepes” – nickname acquired because of his unusual cruelty and his favorite method of torture, foreigners often refer to him as “Vlad Dracula” even since he was still alive.
This nickname remains one of the most controversial; even more as the Irishman Bram Stoker named one of the main characters of the famous horror novel “Dracula” after Vlad Tepes [Vlad the 3rd], son of Vlad Dracul.
That is why Westerners are so familiar with the legends spread about him in medieval times.
By examining documents that have survived the centuries, historians have noted that the name “Dracula” was used in combination with all three sons of Vlad Dracul, thus deducing that the latter was inherited, in order to highlight the relationship of family the royal family. By adding a final “a” to the word “Dracul” we could assume that it meant “son of Dracul”.
No, not “son of the devil” as you may find on many sites… that is just a bad assumption based on the translation of “Dracul” – indeed Romanian for devil.
In this example, Vlad Dracula was the son pf Vlad Dracul and grandson of Mircea cel Batran [the Elder].
His father received the name “Vlad Dracul” among the peasants he ruled because he belonged to the Order of the Dragon, and linguists come to conclude that the Latin “draco” [dragon] gave in Romanian “devil“, and in time it gained and meaning of “demon“.
Some linguists [including Romanian Vasile Bogra] believe that that nickname means “damned man” and quote an excerpt from the notes of a former British consul named William Wilkinson which stated:
In the Wallachian language “Dracula” means “devil”. At that time Wallachs made a habit of giving this nickname to all who were distinguished in battle due to courage, cruel actions or skill.
† Vlad the Impaler
† Count Dracula
This case came into the spotlight in 2009 when the police discovered that the grave of Ghiulten Memedali had been tampered with and the corpse mutilated. But it begins in 2008 when, on the 27th of March, the 39 year old woman from Medgidia [south-est region of Romania] died of a heart attack.
On the 14th of May her grave was assaulted by her relatives and others that lived in the neighborhood of Ali Baba. They claimed that the woman had turned into a vampire and that she was making her presence known to her family by moving objects around, making strange apparitions in the house she once inhabited and having strange conversations with friends of the family [she would demand certain things].
At night they said she wouldn`t let them sleep and repeatedly pinch and slap them.
In May of 2008 the mob [counting 200 people] couldn`t take the necessary actions because the police had been notified of their intentions and squads were dispatched to the cemetery to ensure that nothing illegal would be conducted.
To calm down the public opinion the corpse was exhumed and rituals according to their religion were performed [they were Muslims].
Of course they made their observations on the spot and came to the conclusion that they were right. It seams the cross was bent and there were some strange holes in the ground – presumably used by the undead to escape her grave at night.
Then she was reburied and the mob was dispersed.
At a later date, unknown to the authorities, it seams that the family got it`s way because when Ghiulten was exhumed in September 2009 for [what they believed] the second time she had several strange objects in her coffin and the heart was missing. The chest had a large hole and the ribs were smashed as if something sharp was used on the body to puncture.
At her side they observed: masks, a stake, some clothing and cotton.
What I find interesting about this case is the fact that they chose to practice the “elimination ritual” specific to a vampire on what seams to be more of a poltergeist phenomenon. There were no night attacks reported that could fall into the category of the undead and even more confusing, the newspapers claimed that the woman had appeared in daylight to speak with relatives.
Now I cannot say that this is all true because it is in fact reported by media and we all know how some reporters treat this kind of subjects… but taking into consideration the “symptoms” haunting seams more likely than vampiric activity.
๑۞๑ Related: ๑۞๑
† Vampire Accounts