When asking a tourist what is the first place you want to visit in Romania, for sure he is going to answer, “Bran Castle”. Tourists know about Dracula’s Castle thanks to the American gothic horror film directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stocker. Maybe you are wondering what is the origin of Dracula as we know him today?
Well, the story of Dracula begins and ends with Vlad Tepeș, prince of Wallachia and his real life in the 15th century. Vlad was known for his nickname, Țepeș, which means the Impaler. Bram Stocker knew some stories about this terrible man who used to force his enemies to sit on stakes with sharp points and, as their leg muscles gave out, the point of the stake would impale them through the length of their body. Impaling was not the only method of torture and murder that Vlad used because he was very creative. People also knew him for cutting of his victims body parts, as well.
Saxon records indicate that Vlad Țepeș killed between 40,000-100,000 people. It is uncertain if he really drank the blood of his victims or if people created the tale later. What is sure is that this savage ruler’s brutality primarily against his enemies made Bram Stocker create Dracula’s character based on him.
Besides Vlad Țepeș, what else inspired Bram Stocker was this Bran Castle and its location in Romania. This medieval fortress was built in the 14th century as a defensive border point crossing into Transylvania and to prevent the expansion of the Ottoman Empire.
The writer never visited Romania so he just used his imagination for the description of Bran Castle. Nowadays, visiting this castle, situated on a cliff at an elevation of 762 meters (2500 feet) and surrounded by an aura of mystery, still remains a major destination for tourists. Bran Castle is for us a national monument and a landmark in Romania.
If we have you curious, let us help you enjoy a guided tour and find out more stories about Vlad the Impaler with our private guide services. More info here: Following the footsteps of Dracula.