Veronica Gabriela Villa

Sub Magura 52E, Bran, 507025, Romania
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More about Bran

Photos

Bran Castle, RomaniaBran Castle, Romania

Bran Castle, RomaniaBran Castle, Romania

Stage Performance at Count's ChallengeStage Performance at Count's Challenge

The castle seen from the main roadThe castle seen from the main road

Forum Posts

Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

Now that I'm in the proper forum, I hope someone finds my post...

Is there one of those old fashioned trains that takes a scenic tour through the mountains near Bran or in a driveable distance from there? I have activities planned for the first few days, leaving me stuck for plans after visiting Bran.

So far, leaving Bucharest headed to Brasov with stops over in Ploiesti, Sinaia and Brasov - Overnight in Brasov, or Predeal. Then either on to Bran or a side-trip to Sighisoara and Sibiu, then Bran. Bran seems to have enough to see worth an overnight stay, but then I'm stuck. Would like to travel back through Pitesti and Targoviste on the way back to Bucharest and would like to do something besides look at castles and ruins.

Dince I'm renting a car, should we just drive through the mountains or is there one of those trains that skirt the outer edges of the mountains? Any other suggestions would be really appreciated. I'm meeting mu husband in Bucharest after not seeing him for five months and want this - our first international vacation - to be a romantic and memorable one.
Thanks so much for helping me out.
Shockgirl

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by paradisedreamer

I don't remember seeing nay trains to be honest, we went by bus. Sorry i cant be more helpful. Don't miss the palace at Sinai, it is really stunning!

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

Sinai? That's in Romania?

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by paradisedreamer

Sorry I spelt it wrong Sinaia, yes definitely in Romania. I have a sinaia page if you want to see some photos.

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

Oh yes! I figured it out after I looked at my itinerary. That's definitely a place we are going. I planned for us to stop there on our way to Brasov from Bucharest, with a stop at Ploiesti (sp?) to see the clock museum.
Tell me though, how long can I expect to visit at Peles Castle and, isn't there another castle there, too. I forget the name right now. I'm going to check out your page right now to see what I'm missing, but how much time should I allow to see what's to be seen in Sinaia?

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Romanian_Bat

The narrow gauge train which is still in use can only be found on Vaser Valley, starting in Viseu de Sus, in Maramures. It is far from your itinerary, even though the ride is scenic and interesting. There has never been a narrow gauge railway in Bran area, they had plenty of thgem though in Eastern Szekelyfold area (Harghita, Penteleu, Vrancea Mountains), as well as in Bukovina, Maramures and Apuseni Mountains, not to talk about Banat in SW Romania...

The Clock Museum in Ploiesti is interesting indeed. However a few recommendations: after starting from Bucharest and just before entering Otopeni Town, after crossing a bridge over the railway tracks, take a left to Mogosoaia, where you can visit the fine Brancoveanu Palace settled by Constantin Brancoveanu in his own style, a blend of Byzantine and Baroque styles, beautifully located on a lake shore. Then back on the way to Ploiesti do not miss a side trip to Caldarusani Monastery, on a side road splitting from the main Bucharest - Ploiesti road in Balotesti. Both Caldarusani and St. Nicholas - Balamuci are fine monastic settlements, with Caldarusani preserving an interesting icon painting workshop, while St. Nicholas (located near Sitaru Village) preserves exterior frescoes similar to those of the painted monasteries in Southern Bukovina. One more hint: on the way from Ploiesti to Sinaia, I would recommend a stop in Campina (mind you that the main road does not cross the centre, it passes near the town), to visit Iulia Hasdeu Castle, with a sad but great story. It lies a bit further from the centre on the way to Sinaia, to the left, with a small park around it.

The other castle in Sinaia, except for Peles, is Pelisor, set in German style, but nicely decorated by Queen Maria; I would not miss it even though most tourists do.

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Romanian_Bat

From Brasov I would do the tour to Sighisoara and Sibiu. On the way to Sighisoara, from Rupea Town on the main road, take a left towards Dacia Village and just before entering the village, take a right towards Viscri, go at #141, ask for the Dootzes and they will show you to the fortified church. The village is particularlky beautiful with many old houses of which some have been turned into guesthouses. Then take the dust road (pretty good) to Bunesti where you meet again the Sighisoara road. After visiting Sighisoara go towards Sibiu, but do not miss the side road (left) to Biertan, yet another nice fortified church. None of these are ruins. Then visit Sibiu, with the possibility of visiting the rural area in Sibiel - Marginime zone. Then there is no need to go back to Bran, I would rather take Olt Valley and its nice gorges to Ramnicu Valcea, continuing to Curtea de Arges (beautiful monastery) and then on to Pitesti - Targoviste - Bucharest, or, if you go that way in July - September, I would go from Sibiu to Cartisoara (towards Brasov) and from there I would take Romania's second highest road crossing the Fagaras through a unique scenery (6800 ft. in the maximum altitude point reached by the road), respectively going down to Curtea de Arges Monastery.
If the budget is not a problem, the following place to stay would help accomplish a unique experience: in Bucharest www.capsa.ro or the cheaper http://www.hotelopera.ro/, in Sinaia http://www.scpalacesa.ro/ with Palace 4* being not so expensive and a real legend, in Sighisoara www.casa-wagner.com, in Sibiu http://www.sibiu.ro/en/hotel_imparatul.htm, in Bran area I would stay at this superb place, actually located in the heart of the mountain, in Moieciu de Sus Village: http://www.moeciu.com/sitee.html
Well, as always, let me know whether I can be of any further help.
Alex

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by paradisedreamer

You would need a few hours it depends how long you want to spend, you could do it in an hour I suppose if you are rushed, it isn't that big but I woud say 2 hours to really see it properly.

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

After Sighisoara and Sibiu, you said "then there is no need to go back to Bran. So should I do Bran first, then the trip north to Sighisoara and Sibiu?

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

Thanks ParadiseDreamer, I'll be sure to leave plenty of time.

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Romanian_Bat

Going back to Bran once you are in Sibiu means a long detour, hence my recommendation. Therefore it is easier to visit Bran before. For instance, after leaving Sinaia, on the way to Brasov, just before entering Predeal Resort, take the secondary road to the left, to Paraul Rece - Rasnov. It is a less crowded and beautiful road that eventually drops you near the hill where the nice Rasnov Fortress lies, on the road Brasov - Bran. Take a left in this one and get in Bran in 10 minutes. Then take the same road back and get to Brasov, from where you can continue to Sighisoara. This way you save time and you can enjoy the scenery more than on the main - longer and more crowded - road.
As for Peles and Pelisor, the visit can only be done in groups (which are formed at the entrance). Follow the arrow pointing to the "entrance for foreigners" and tell the lady you wish to join an English-speaking group, for otherwise you can end up with a Romanian or French speaking guide. The visit takes about 40-45 minutes, you cannot stay for as long as you wish. The visit to Pelisor takes lightly less. Also taking into account the waiting time at both castles (as you have to wait until your group turn comes), I would account 3 hours for both, plus the extra 15 minutes per way needed to walk there and from there to the parking lot near Sinaia Monastery where you can leave the car. If paying a fee, you can get by car closer to the castle. To do so, from the centre of the resort go towards Predeal - Brasov and, after crossing Pelisor Stream, there is a gate to the left where the entrance fee is collected. Go until you meet the parking lot in front of the German style Corpul de Garda villas, then it is a 5 minutes walk to the castle.
Alex

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

You are just a dream come true, Alex! I've looked at the non-detailed maps and saw the dilemma with Bran and Sighosoara. Thanks to you, I'll take these towns in an order than won't include any backtracking!

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

OK, now if I do Bran first, then go north to Sighosoara and Sibiu, will I be able to access the Bran - Rucar Pass without backtracking?

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Romanian_Bat

Well, you can do the Bran - Rucar pass without backtracking (as you would be coming from Sibiu straigth towards Brasov and accomplishing a circle without covering twice a leg), however my suggestion was that from Sibiu:
1. if you come in July - mid October you can take the second highest road in Romania across fagaras Mountains, through a superb scenery, the Transfagarasan. The road drops you on the Southern side of the mountains in Curtea de Arges, where you can visit the monastery and then go to Pitesti - Targoviste Fortress - Mogosoaia Palace - Bucharest (look here: http://www.turism.ro/harta.php, the route is Sibiu and then on the thin red road which goes straight to Curtea de Arges, that crosses Fagaras)
2. If you come here at another time of the year, that road is closed due to the snow, so from Sibiu take the road along the picturesque Olt Gorges, going to Calimanesti Caciulata - Ramnicu Valcea - Pitesti - Targoviste - Mogosoaia - Bucharest. This is the main road on the above-mentioned map.
Both these routes are far more beautiful than Rucar - Bran, being more spectacular, I think it is a better option than going back to Brasov to do that route...
Best regards,
Alex

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

And in Targoviste (on the way back to Bucharest) we can take the train you mentioned before?

I was considering the train, etc. before Brasov once you mentioned it, but that messed up the itinerary I've been working on for the last week. Knowing I will hit Targoviste on the way back to Bucharest would fit right into my plans. We are going May 2-13, so I'm guessing I should bring warm clothes? I figured it would warm up by then...but then you said there are roads closed by snow and now I'm all confused.

You are a blessing, Alex-
Angela

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Romanian_Bat

No, the situation with the snow is like this: the Transfagarasan Road I have mentioned goes up to 2042 m.a.s.l. in Fagaras Mountains. In that high area snow accumulates in a big quantity and, especially as the road goes up along an alpine valley, the snow layer lasts quite for a long time in summer, it melts away entirely only in June - July and the road can be opened usually only on July 1. Other than that, all other roads in the area, keeping it at not more than 1100 - 1200 m.a.s.l., are clear by late March - early April, nothing to worry in May. Expect 25-30C in the lowlands and 15-25C in the mountain area, colder temperatures at night, therefore get some warm clothes as well. A sweater, a pair of warm trousers, a pair of boots if you plan to do some hiking and a wind/waterproof jacket should do it fine, no need to overpack.
Now, about the route: Bucharest - Sinaia - Brasov - Sighisoara can be easily done by train. Sighisoara - Sibiu can be also done by train with a change of trains in Medias. Sibiu - Ramnicu Valcea can also be done by train, while from there you have to go by bus to Curtea de Arges, from Curtea de Arges you can go by van / local train to Pitesti and from there again by train to Targoviste with a change in Titu. From targoviste you have a few local trains and a fast train to Bucharest a day, as well as many vans. However I personally think you would save alot of time and you would see more if going by rented car. You would have the chance to see more of the rural areas you cross and meet more local people, you could also visit the pottery centre in Horezu and the local monastery, as well as the rural area in Sibiel, the fortified church in Viscri etc. etc.
So I see no reason to worry. Technically speaking, for this whole tour I would say you need 3-4 days, going relaxedly and stopping, as said, in Sinaia or Moieciu (day 1), Sighisoara or Sibiu (day 2), respectively Horezu or Targoviste (day 3, but this could be cut off easily)...
As always, let me know whether I can help any further.
Alex

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

We are actually spending about nine days touring around. I don't have all the particulars yet, but I should arrive in Bucharest around 12:35 p.m. My husband is hoping to get there a little earlier than I do so he'll be there when I get there. I figured we'd spend the night in Bucharest and leave early the next day. I emailed Cars4Rent and got a quote of about $232 USD, unlimited miles, for a small car for the whole nine days and figured that was the best way to go. I just wanted to take the scenic train ride through the mountains for the experience, maybe spend a night in a village as you suggested, and return to our rental car which I hope to be able to leave safely in Targoviste. Once I figure out my entire itinerary, I plan to post it here and hope you (and anyone interested) can steer me away from any time wasters and point out some things I missed, if you wouldn't mind.
By the way, what do you think about the elvisro hostel? I've emailed and they said they could probably hook us up with a private room in the beginning of May. This is an economy trip and I'd rather wait until the end of the vacation to see if we have enough cash left to splurge on more expensive accomodations in the last couple of days, rather than blow $100 on our first night and run out of money on Day 7...

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

Ouch! I just realized you didn't say the train left from Targoviste, but Timisoara, which is way far west where I was planning to be...

Basically, the outline of the itinerary is like this, just hitting the highlights:
Bucharest
Ploiesti
Siniai
Brasov
Bran
Sighisoara
Sibiu
Pitesti
Targoviste
Bucharest

Are there any trains through the mountains from any of those points or should I rearrange everything and head for points west? We have nine days, but I don't want to spend it all on the road.

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Shockgirl

And one more question for tonight...Please forgive me if I'm bugging the heck out of ya...
But we've discussed two routes after Sibiu, the Bran-Rucar Culoir - which offered exploration of Piatra Craiului, Lezer Mtns. and Damboviciora Cave (which especially sounded intriguing) among other places
and you suggested the picturesque Olt Gorges, going to Calimanesti Caciulata – Ramnicu Valcea – Pitesti and then Targoviste

Is it possible to do both, travel the Bran-Rucar, explore the mountains, visit the cave, the Brusturet Hut, see the lake and dam and then, somewhere, catch the road from Sibiu that goes through the Olt Gorges and arrive in Pitesti or Targoviste before dark or in time to find a room for the night?

It's 2 a.m. here now, so that's my last question for the night. Well, except for this...is that cave an open attraction with a guide or is it one of those spelunker's caves where you have to have ropes and equipment and stuff? That would be a decision maker right there!

Bless you Alex, and everyone else who's helping me discover Romania!
Angela

Re: Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by mariaschmidt

I have been to Romania in June 2004 and had a wonderful vacation - I like to recommend you to stay a night or more in Sinaia for the reunion with your husband there is a lovely hotel there HOTEL PALACE which has a distinguished and nice atmosphere (maybe you find it on the web) and it is a wonderful place to be romantic in - the rooms have view to a lovely park and are very pleasant. Also there are great excursions in the mountain you can do from Sinaia

We took a taxi to Busteni (20 minutes from Sinaia) there we took the mountain lift to COTE 2ooo
and from there walked down to Sinaia (takes about 5 hours) It was great - Also of course the Castelul Peles is wonderful
Brasov is a beautiful lively city and you can take a taxi to Bran or a bus we did it like that.
Also I must tell that Bran Castle was a disappointing TOurist Trap -
We also enjpoyed very much Sighisoara where we stayed in the old City HOTEL SIGHISOARA was great .
That is all - Hope you have a time Mary

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Romanian_Bat

Well, let me take things at a time here:

1. The narrow gauge train.
The mountain, narrow gauge train goes from Viseu de Sus to Coman along Vaser Valley. This lies in Northern Romania, Maramures County, a day's drive from Bucharest or Sinaia; we are talking about a distance of a bit more than 500 km. from Bucharest. The area is beautiful and all, but this would mean alot of driving and twice crossing the mountains to get there. Even though perfectly possible, given your planned itinerary, this would be a huge detour and you would waste alot of time on driving.

2. The Bran-Rucar Pass and the area.
Dambovicioara Cave has a guide, but there are almost no endowments or they are in bad state. This requires alot of care, the lack of possibility of enjoying the limestone formations unless you have a good torch and so on. However the Piatra Craiului area is superb and well worth a visit, but this would once again mean a detour. The idea that springs to my mind now is to make it like this:
Bucharest - Ploiesti - Sinaia - Brasov - Prejmer (near Brasov) - Viscri (en route to Sighisoara) - Sighisoara - Biertan (en route to Sibiu) - Sibiu - Paltinis (beautiful mountain resort near Sibiu with a picturesque convent where Romanian philosopher Constantin Noica is burried) - Sambata Monastery (built by Constantin Brancoveanu, teh same king that had Mogosoaia Palace built) - Bran - Rucar Pass - Piatra Craiului, Dambovicioara et al - Campulung Muscel - Curtea de Arges (definitely recommended) - Pitesti - Targoviste - Mogosoaia Palace - Bucharest.

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Romanian_Bat

This means a small detour, yes, coming back from Sibiu almost all the way to Brasov, but it is not too tiring, as distances are not very long. Concerning Targoviste, you could also fit it in on the way to Sinaia: from Bucharest go to Targoviste, visiting Mogosoaia Palace en route. Visit Targoviste and then take the scenic road to Sinaia over Paduchiosu Mountain, via Pucioasa - Fieni, it is a less frequented road that winds across a wooden mountain, quite nice. Then you reach Sinaia and go Sinaia - Brasov - Sighisoara - Sibiu - Sambata - Bran - Rucar - Curtea de Arges - Pitesti - Bucharest.

3. Accommodation in Bucharest. Elvis' Villa is OK, but it is a hostel. I would rather recommend, at almost the same price, the centrally located http://www.hotelcarpatibucuresti.ro/, just ask for a room with a shared bathroom or with own bathroom, as you wish, they have all their rooms listed on the site.

4. Accommodation elsewhere. If budget is an issue, apart from the above-listed place in Bucharest, I recommend the following places: Sinaia - www.cerbul.ro, Sighisoara - www.ibz.ro, Sibiu - www.11euro.ro, in Sambata you could also stay at the monastery if they have available beds, it could be a very interesting option, just tell them you are pilgrims, it helps, in Bran there are many guesthouses, in Brasov - http://www.aro-palace.ro/arosport_ro.html but mind you that bathrooms are shared, however rooms are very clean and the place is central.

Well, let me know whether I can be of any further help.
Alex

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by iwys

That's very interesting. I didn't know about that train and I do most of my travelling in Romania by train. By the way, I think that Romanian trains are excellent compared to those in England: much better value and more punctual.

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by kitty46

I hope I am responding to the man from England. I would like to know more about trains. I arrive at OTP airport on Mon. April 7 at about 1:30 p.m. Our 5 day trip objective, leaving on April 11 at 3 p.m. is to see Brasov Sighisoara, Cluj, Sanaia, monastaries, Draculas real castle, cemeteries, real people, real architecture. We will have to stay Thursday evening in Bucharest. How easy would it be to take a train from the airport and onwards. I have never been in Romania before and would welcome any suggestions you may have. Thank you

Re: Bran, trains and the Carpathian Mtns.

by Romanian_Bat

OTP Airport is not served by trains. Given the places you intend to see, I would recommend the following:
From the airport take a bus (#783, without going outside of the terminal go downstairs by the escalators just before the windows, exit and you will find the bus stop to your right, next to the RATB kiosk selling cards, 5 lei / 2 ride card) or a taxi to the city (see my Bucharest / Transportation tips about taxis and be very careful with that). If you go by bus, get off at Piata Victoriei; right to the back of the bus stop there is the entrance to the subway station. Buy a 2 ride card (not interchangeable with the bus ones even though they look similar), go down and take the train direction Republica for 1 stop, to Gara de Nord. At Piata Victoriei there are two stations, you have to use Piata Victoriei 2 (as you come down from the street, go straight down, buy your card, validate it and turn immediately to the right, doing still down; it is the train on your left). Get off at Gara de Nord and you will find the railways schedule here: www.infofer.ro. Type in Bucuresti Nord and not Bucharest or Bucuresti. All places you list are not so easily doable in 5 days, but let us see: take a sleeper on the night train to Cluj (R633), get there in the morning and visit the city; you can either stay at www.retro.ro (budget) / www.fullton.ro (3*) or leave with a late afternoon train to Sighisoara. Stay at www.ibz.ro (budget) / www.casa-wagner.com (3*) in the fortress. Then continue to Brasov, where I recommend http://www.aro-palace.ro/hoteluri_sport_en.htm (budget) / www.casa-wagner.eu (3*) in the city centre. If you want to see Bran Castle, do a loop from Brasov (take a trolleybus / taxi to Bartolomeu Codreanu Bus Station and take the bus that departs every 30 minutes to Bran; it takes 30-45 minutes to get there, according to traffic). Then take a train to Sinaia, visit the two castles and the monastery there, continue the same day to Bucharest and reach it on Thu evening. I listed it all like this and not the other way around because Sinaia's castles are closed on Mon and Tue when you arrive in Romania. In Bucharest stay at www.cristman-hostel.ro / www.themidlandhostel.com (budget) or www.hotelopera.ro / www.hotelvenezia.ro (3* boutique hotels), all in the centre except for Cristman, which lies at a 15 minute walk from Romana Square. As for Dracula's real castle, without renting a car to go to Poienari (just North of Curtea de Arges), given your quite tight time frame, it is not that easy. Anyway, it is more in the name than in the looks of the ruins, I would dare say. But you can anyway visit the ruins of Curtea Veche Fortress in Bucharest where, among the others, Vlad the Impaler also stayed during his rule over Wallachia. Other sites you should not miss in Bucharest include Antim Monastery, the Old Quarter, the Royal Palace and the Athenaeum, Cantacuzino Palace, the caravanserais. As you will be in Bucharest on Thursday evening, I would recommend a classical music concert at the excellent Athenaeum. Schedule here, concerts start at 7 PM: www.fge.org.ro. Let me know whether I can be of any further help.
Alex

Travel Tips for Bran

THE REAL DRACULA

by josephescu

Romanians chosen to accomodate Dracula in Bran's Castle since its narrow corridors constitute a mysterious labyrinth of ghostly nooks and secret chambers easy to hide a "vampire".

In reality, Dracula did not even sleep a single night at the castle. Besides, Bran was not a castle under his jurisdiction as ruler of Valachia.

Vlad Tepes (The Impaler) was the son of Vlad Dracul (1436-1442; 1443-1447) and grandson of Mircea cel Batran (1386-1418). Vlad Dracul was dubbed a knight of the Dragon Order by the Hungarian king. All the members of the order had a dragon on their coat of arms, and that is what brought him the nickname of Dracul (the Devil). Vlad the Impaler used to sign himself Draculea or Draculya - the Devil's son - a name which was distorted into Dracula. Dracula's renown reached the West through the Saxons from the Transylvanian towns of Brasov and Sibiu, who often gave shelter to those who claimed the Wallachian (Romanian Country) throne.
In order to escape the peril of losing his throne, Vlad would punish the Saxons. Sibiu and the neighbouring area were pillaged and burnt down by Vlad, and many Saxons were impaled. The same happened to the Saxon merchants who came on business to Târgoviste. In fact, Vlad was called Tepes (the Impaler) only after his death (1476). Vlad was born in the town of Sighisoara. The house in which he was born is still standing. Vlad ruled Wallachia between 1456-1462 and in 1476. In 1462, having been defeated by the Turks, Vlad took refuge in Hungary. In 1476, with the help of the Hungarian king Matei Corvin and the Moldavian prince Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great), Vlad took over the Wallachian throne again for a month. A battle followed, during which Vlad was killed. His body was buried in the church of the Snagov Monastery, on an island near Bucharest. His body lies in front of the altar. In 1935, a richly dressed but beheaded corpse was exhumed at Snagov, a fate known to have overtaken Dracula, whose head was supposedly wrapped, perfumed and dispatched as a gift to the Turkish sultan.

They say that impaling was one of Dracula's favourite punishments, but he was not the only one who made use of it at the time. Other German and Spanish princes would do the same. He used the method for boyars, thieves and criminals, and those who conspired against him (among the latter, Saxon merchants from Brasov and Turks). Soon after coming to power Vlad began his reign of terror. He invited many of the noblemen and their families to a huge feast. Confronting them as traitors and conspirators in the death of his father and brother, he captured and impaled most of them. The younger and healthier ones were marched north from Tirgoviste to the ruins of his real castle at Poenari in the mountains above the Arges River, where they were forced to labor for months rebuilding the old castle. According to the reports, they labored until the clothes fell off their bodies, with few surviving the ordeal.

Horrified by these deeds, the Saxons printed books and pamphlets in which they told about Vlad's cruelty. These booklets also reached Germany and Western Europe, where Dracula became known as a bloody tyrant

Good viewing

by Dabs

In addition to the many, many books on the subject of vampires, there are plenty of movies and TV shows on the subject.

Bela Lugosi's portrayal in the 1931 Dracula is the one that most people think about when they think about Dracula, the black cape, pointy teeth, bug eyed glare and his slow thick Hungarian accent. I just recently watched the film in it's entirety and although I see why in it's day it was scary, now it just seems kind of campy.

Speaking of campy, there's the cult hit Rocky Horror Picture Show which still has US audiences for midnight showings to see Tim Curry prancing in his lingerie.

More recent adaptations include 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula with Gary Oldman as the Count, Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise (in his pre Free Katie days) and Brad Pitt as the undead and Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman in the title role as the vampire hunter.

The Door Knock

by Nobbe

In fact, Vlad was called Tepes (the Impaler) only after his death (1476). He ruled in Wallachia between 1456-1462 and in 1476. In 1462, having been defeated by the Turks, Vlad took refuge in Hungary. In 1476, with the help of the Hungarian king Matia Corvin and the Moldavian prince Stephen the Great, Vlad took over the Wallachian throne again for a month. A battle followed, during which Vlad was killed. His body was buried in the church of the Snagov Monastery, on an island near Bucharest.

Castle Tower

by Nobbe

The Corpse Disappears

Dracula was buried at the isolated Snagov Monastery near Bucharest, which was also likely used as a prison and torture chamber. When prisoners prayed before an icon of the Blessed Virgin, a trap door opened dropping them onto sharp stakes below.

In 1931 archeologists searching Snagov found a casket partially covered in a purple shroud embroidered with gold. The skeleton inside was covered with pieces of faded silk brocade, similar to a shirt depicted in an old painting of Dracula.

The casket also contained a cloisonné crown, with turquoise stones. A ring, similar to those worn by the Order of the Dragon, was sewn into a shirtsleeve.

The contents were taken to the History Museum in Bucharest but have since disappeared without a trace, leaving the mysteries of the real Prince Dracula unanswered...

Spit fire cake

by yumyum

I don’t know what this form of cake is really called but there was a long line of people waiting to buy freshly made ones. The metal spit which is actually thick and round is dipped into the batter and then laid on a bed of coal fire. There the spit is constantly turned and the batter is quickly baked and then flavoured with your choice eg coconut. They then slide the spit out of the batter and finished is the cake. It weighs 400 grams and cost 10 RON.

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