Truths and lies of the (multiple) castles of Dracula
Have you read 'Dracula' and fantasize about terrorizing your castle? Does the mere mention of 'Transylvania' make you shiver with excitement? Do you know the story of the authentic Dracula, Vlad Tepes, and want to know the places where he impaled his enemies? Do you have nightmares - or wonderful dreams - with Gary Oldman's wig and a bloody Monica Bellucci? This article is for you.
A century after the death of Bram Stoker (the creator of the immortal - in the broadest sense of the word - character), We review the real scenarios in which the footprints of the fictional character and his alleged inspiration, Vlad Tepes, are mixed, ruler of Valaquia during the fifteenth century, a hero of Romanian history for defending his territory against the Turkish bites and son of Vlad II Dracul, a word that meant "dragon", but also - oh, the etymology! - "devil".
Relationship with Dracula: void Relationship with Vlad Tepes: virtually non-existent Why is it worth it? It is a medieval castle timely located near Brasov, the beautiful capital of Transylvania and Useful starting point for excursions in the region. Expropriated during communism, the place was restored to the heir of its former owners, which turned out to be a Hapsburg settled in New York to which we imagine that the unexpected inheritance did not finish delusion. After trying uselessly to sell it, he reached an agreement with the Romanian authorities to keep it open to tourism, for our joy. Inside there are explanatory panels about the myth of Dracula, the history of the castle and its total lack of relationship with the historic Vlad Tepes, who apparently did not even spend a night there. And yet It is so overwhelming, photogenic and its silhouette so similar to the vampire castles of the collective imaginary that the visit is inescapable.
Views from the heights in the fortress of Poenari © Flickr Travel & Photo
The fortress of Poenari
Relationship with Dracula: void Relationship with Vlad Tepes: absolute. Why is it worth it? Vlad Tepes knew, in addition to creative ways to torture his enemies, how to choose locations well. The one thousand five hundred steps that you have to climb to reach the top of the fortress will serve to momentarily get into the skin of the Turkish slaves that were used in its construction. Although it is in ruins, it is worth approaching because it was built by the authentic Empalador and its views, overwhelming five centuries after its construction. If the place is not able to move us or we do not find it terrifying enough, the road to Transfăgărăşan, whose curves and unevenness will scare the most experienced driver.
The castle of Slains in which Bram Stoker was inspired to write the novel © Corbis
Hotel Castel Dracula
Relationship with Dracula: It is the reason for its existence. Relationship with Vlad Tepes: We assume none. Why is it worth it? A few years ago someone decided that the myth of Dracula was not sufficiently exploited and that a new tourist claim could still be created: a Dracula-themed hotel in the place where, in the novel, the castle was located, near Bistrita (The last place Jonathan Harker is staying before facing a horror salad that will leave him marked and graying for life), north of Romania. If you decide to stay in it (yes, it also has coffins) you have to go without prejudice, aware that It is a mixture of hotel, Dracula theme park and tourist attraction. Not suitable for those who are afraid of it… kitsch.
Relationship with Dracula: He owes the character his "life." Relationship with Vlad Tepes: not even. Why is it worth it? All these Romanian sites are very interesting places except for a small and insignificant detail: Bram Stoker never visited Romania (Let's finish!) And the place he had in mind when describing the count's abode was much more at hand: the ruins of Slains Castle in Scotland, in the United Kingdom. They have the right presence and atmosphere to inspire any horror novel. And you can't deny that they are much closer to London, place where, after all, most of the novel takes place.