Count Dracula – as he is perceived today – is a fictional character but have the roots in historical events and personages associated with the imposing building of Bran castle.
His name derives from the nickname Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia.
Vlad the II or Vlad Dracul was governor of Transylvania.
His son, Vlad the Impaler the IIIrd, Prince of Wallachia, 1456-1462 nicknamed Dracula (the son of the Dragon) or Vlad the Impaler, was famous through his acts of barbarism. The historians of that time described him as a ruthless and bloodthirsty despot. Originally, the name Dracula is not scary at all. It derives from the name given to Crusaders of the Dragon Order, which have been associated with both Vlad the Impaler or his father, Vlad Dracul.
Vlad the Impaler the IIIrd, Prince of Wallachia, 1456-1462
Count Dracula character first appeared in the novel “Dracula” written by Bram Stoker and published in 1897 in England. The rest of Dracula’s myth is due to the influence of Transylvanian legends and folk beliefs about ghosts and vampires.
Bram Stoker has never visited Romania. In describing the imaginary Dracula’s Castle, he started from a presentation of Bran Castle. Indeed, the castle, as it appears looks strikingly well with Bran Castle.
Bran Castle was built in 1377 as a fortress to strengthen the customs between Romanian and Hungarian Country.
In 1427, Bran Castle passes from Brasov Administration in the ownership of the Crown of Hungary, which financed its strengthening and expansion works. In 1498, Bran Castle was rented by the Hungarian royalty to Brasov Administration.
Bran Castle may have housed Vlad the Impaler for a few nights during his fight with the Turks in 1462, following their attack on the Poienari fortress on Argeş Valley.
Following the association of Bran Castle with Count Dracula character, this has got this fame.
Dracula, the character of the novel with the same name, is a Transylvanian count, master of a castle built somewhere high on the cliff top, from where it guards the valley through the Principality of Transylvania. As Bran Castle is the only one in Transylvania that corresponds to the description of Bram Stoker, worldwide it is referred to as Dracula’s Castle.
In 1920, Brasov City Council donated the castle to Queen Maria of Romania, in recognition of her contribution to the Greater Union. At the Queen’s death in 1938, the castle was inherited by his favorite daughter, Princess Ileana, married to a former member of the Habsburg imperial family. After 1948, Bran Castle was nationalized and became the property of the Romanian state. The castle has been opened to public visits since 1956 and is arranged as a museum of history and feudal art. In 1987, started the restoration work largely completed in 1993. The castle was reopened as a museum and tourist circuit.
In the neighboring villages of Bran, and beyond, there is a belief in the existence of evil spirits, named ghosts. It apparently refers to undead people, who led a normal life during the day. With the coming of the night, while sleeping, the spirit left their bodies spirit to haunt, from midnight until the first singing rooster. Vampires suffer from the curse of “immortality” says Stoker, “they go through the times multiplying the number of victims, spreading evil in the world”. Dracula character is born from these myths.
In Romanian mythology, there are also dead ghosts, those spirits of dead people that come from former ghosts in their lifetime or to whom some of the funeral ordinances went wrong, so they lost the way to the afterlife or did not have the means to pay customs. In addition to the damage they do to living people, the dead ghosts eat in turn a member of their family or they eat only their heart and suck their blood.
With the fierce image of Dracula in thought, the tourist, who comes to Bran, will meet the castle completely renovated and furnished for guests in the picturesque places in this mountain area, shepherds with herds to grazing or mowing the grass, whose women are waving textiles that adorn the interiors of homes or preparing traditional dishes (the shepherd bulz, ham, buttermilk etc.) both in their own household or in hostels prepared especially for those who want to spend time to Bran from the sunrise till the sunset or even overnight, when maybe, in their dreams, will come Dracula, the vampire, whose strength will fade at the view of the clove put above the entrance door by the housewife defending the house from evil spirits.
Dracula has been and remains an imaginary character and a beautiful legend that interweaves history of several centuries with local mythology and with the imagination of the American writer.