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  • TheCastle where NataliaOreiro filmed a music video
    TheCastle where NataliaOreiro filmed a...
    by Bombonel
  • Vlad Tepes / Draculea / Dracula
    Vlad Tepes / Draculea / Dracula
    by josephescu
  • View from the Castle
    View from the Castle
    by Nobbe

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    THE REAL DRACULA

    by josephescu Updated Aug 1, 2006

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    Vlad Tepes / Draculea / Dracula
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    Favorite thing: 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.

    Fondest memory: 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

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    Good viewing

    by Dabs Updated Jun 21, 2005

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    Favorite thing: 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.

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    Good reading

    by Dabs Updated Jun 21, 2005

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    Favorite thing: There is quite a fascination with vampires, I was surprised to see just how many books and films had been made on the subject.

    If you want to get a historical perspective on vampires and Dracula, I'd highly recommend In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires by Raymond McNally and Radu Florescu. There is an extensive listing of Dracula/vampire related books in the appendix.

    If you are looking for some good vampire fiction, you really should start with the Bram Stoker classic Dracula which started the vampire craze even though his was not technically the first.

    More contemporary works include Stephen King's Salem's Lot which scared the pants off me when I was younger and Anne Rice's series of books that started with Interview with the Vampire

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    Castle Tower

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    Castle Tower

    Fondest memory: 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...

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    View from the Castle

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    View from the Castle

    Fondest memory: In Eastern Europe, vampires are believed to be afraid of garlic. Farm animals can be rubbed with garlic to protect them, while garlic often hangs from doors and windows to keep vampires out. Anyone who does not like garlic can be suspected of being a vampire.

    Thorns of wild roses will also keep vampires away. Because vampires are compulsive counters, poppy seeds are often tossed around cemeteries, so that when the vampire awakes, he will spend the night counting and be forced to return to the grave before dawn.

    Vampires dislike mirrors and silver, so silver crosses or icons were frequently displayed in houses for protection.

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    View from the Castle

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003
    View from the Castle

    Fondest memory: Various methods have been used to protect against vampires. Driving a stake of ash or aspen wood through the heart during the daylight hours will kill one. Until 1823, when it was made illegal, it was common practice in England to drive a stake through the heart of suicides. In Romania, red-hot bars were often used. The vampire's body whould then be burned or reburied at a crossroads.

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    Castle Tower

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    Castle Tower

    Fondest memory: What's a Vampire?

    According to tradition, a vampire is a person who does not die, an "un-dead," whose corpse rises from the grave at night and seeks to suck the blood of the living. The vampire must return to the grave at dawn.

    Excommunicated people, unbaptized children, criminals, babies born with teeth, witches, magicians, and the seventh son of a seventh son can all become vampires.

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    The Bran Castle

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    The Bran Castle

    Fondest memory: Vlad Tepes used Bran Castle as headquarters for his incursions into Transylvania.

    VLAD TEPES - The Impaler (DRACULA) Prince of Wallachia 1448,1456-1462,1476
    Son of Vlad Dracul (Knight of the Order of the Dragon-1431) and Grandson of Mircea the Great, King of Wallachia (1386-1418).

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    The Castle Walls

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    The Castle Walls

    Fondest memory: Adopting a totalitarian leadership, Vlad Tepes introduced a very strict order in Wallachia, strengthened the army, helped the trade with the neighboring countries, and was merciless towards those who went against him, be they noblemen (boyars) or of a lower status. Externally, he fought The Ottoman Empire, against which he scored famous victories.

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    Entrance Tower

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    Entrance Tower

    Fondest memory: Dracula or Vlad the Impaler was the son of Vlad Dracul. 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.

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    The Castle Entrance

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    The Castle Entrance

    Fondest memory: Dracula's renown reached the West through the Saxons from the Transylvanian towns of Brasov (Kronstadt) and Sibiu (Hermannstadt), who often gave shelter to those who claimed the Wallachian 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.

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    The Door Knock

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    The Door Knock

    Fondest memory: 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.

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    Dracula's Bed

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    Dracula's Bed

    Fondest memory: Vlad's 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 impalling 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, Turks, Saxons and those who conspired against him; more than once it happened that a whole forest of sharp stakes with enemies' heads would rise around Târgoviste, the capital of Wallachia at the time.

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    View from a "hole" in the wall

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    View from the castle

    Fondest memory: Horrified by these atrocities, 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.
    In 1897, the Irish writer Bram Stoker published Dracula, which made Vlad the Impaler famous world-wide. Stoker read the stories about Dracula printed in the 15th and 16th centuries and was struck by his acts of cruelty. He decided to make him his character; he also read several books about Transylvania (a name of Latin origin, meaning "the country beyond the forests"), and thought that this "exotic" land would make a proper setting for Dracula's deeds.

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    Castle Tower

    by Nobbe Updated Nov 12, 2003

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    Castle Tower

    Fondest memory: In fact, Stoker used Vlad only as a source of inspiration, since in his novel, Dracula is not prince Vlad the Impaler, but a Transylvanian count living in a mysterious castle where he lured his victims. His story takes place in the Bistritza area, and the castle lies near the Bârgau Pass (in the Carpathian Mountains). As Stoker had never visited Transylvania, most places and happenings were pure fiction.

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