Was Dracula real?
The story of Vlad Tepes (Impaler) or Dracula as known by many, is a story that combines historical data and fairytales. Believed to be Born somewhere between the years 1428 and 1431 in the small town of Sighisoara ( about 1 hour from Targu Mures). The fortress he was born in can be visited now days, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site and also the only inhabited medieval citadel in Europe.
Vlad was 3 times prince of the historic region Wallachia, in now days Romania. Prior to becoming prince of Wallachia he and his brother were held captive in the Ottoman empire to secure his father’s loyalty. His father Vlad Dracul who was allies with both the Turks and king Sigismund of Luxemburg was removed from the throne and killed by nobleman in the year 1447, Which led to Vlad Tepes’ claim of the throne through the help of the Turks which ultimately led to the war against the people who killed his father, which led to their cruel death punishment via Impaling, a torture method learned by Vlad from the Ottoman empire.
He then soon got to be very famous for his methods of bringing justice over people, and the Saxons did not like the fact that he was punishing dishonest noblemen and businessmen so they started creating tales about him, that traveled all over Europe.
Where is the real castle of Dracula?
One thing is for sure. Bran castle has nothing to do with Vlad the Impaler, but it does look scary, and has been artificially associated with Dracula. Vlad’s actual residence was the “Poenari Fortress” 5 hours from Targu Mures. It’s located close to the Transfăgărăşan road in Argeş County, on a cliff near the Făgăraş Mountains. The structure has been mildly maintained and can still be visited today but to reach the ruins of the castle you need to climb 1462 steps.
Traditional Romanian fairytales about Vlad Tepes AKA Dracula. First a couple of nice ones:
The Gold Cup
It is said that Vlad the Impaler had managed the country as no one had ever done so before. It was no longer the land of thieves, greedy and dishonest. You could leave a bag full of money on the street and no one would dare to take it.
Wanting to confirm that no one in his country would dare to steal, he one day decided to put a golden cup alongside a well, at a busy crossroad, for the hikers to drink water from the well.
– Will the cup not tempt the hikers, should we not put a guard on it?? one of the companions of Tepes asked.
– Tepes replied everybody should drink from it and it’s only guard should be honesty.
People stopped at the well, marveled at the beauty of the cup, drank water from it, and put it right back, no one dared to take it.
A few years later, a woman who came to the well discovered that the precious cup had disappeared. Immediately she exclaimed surely Vlad the Impaler, the enemy of thieves and thieves, is no longer!
And exactly what was exclaimed. The once ruler had lost the throne of Wallachia.
The Hungarian merchant
A merchant from Hungary once visited the capital of Valachia(Targoviste), were Vlad, in order to prove the loyalty and correctness of his people had ordered the golden wagon possessing pieces of Gold belonging to the merchant to be left in the middle of the street unguarded overnight. However, in the morning, 160 pieces of gold from went missing.
Vlad told the merchant:
– Go now, and tonight you’ll have the gold back.
He ordered his troops to shake the city in search of the thief and added that if he was not found he would personally handle the problem and destroy the city.
Vlad then put the gold back in the wagon, from his personal treasure, adding one extra piece of gold to the initial amount.
The next day, the man was surprised to discover the gold and the extra piece, and presented himself to Vlad to tell him what he had discovered.
During the night the thief was caught and Impaled, and Vlad replied to his guest: “Go now, for if you had not told me about that extra piece of gold, I would have also Impaled you as well as the thief.
Due to his gruesome, hair raising acts of torture, horrific stories started coming to life, stories that inspired Bram Stoker to write about Dracula. The stories were meant to hurt his reputation and were mostly created by the Saxons and disseminated in the empire.
Beggars and Vlad
Vlad tepes invited all those who were sick, poor and homeless to his palace where he had organized a big party full of food and wine. He then during the middle of his party had stopped and asked them: “Would like to have no more worries and be happy?” Too which his guests replied in as one: “Yes, Your Majesty!”
Vlad the Impaler then left the room and ordered the windows and doors be shut and the house to be set on fire. Outside those who heard the cries and screams were horrified and Vlad said: “I did this so that they would no longer be a burden to anyone. I freed them, so that they would no longer have to suffer in this world of poverty or of any helplessness. “
At the table with the ruler
Vlad had brought over 30,000 merchants from the fortress of Brasov in order to Impale them, due to the various crimes they had committed taking interest in those who had supported the turks.
In order to be able to enjoy the event properly, he ordered they Have a have a table with food set on it at the site of execution and invited some noblemen to join him.
During the meal, he noticed that one of his guests was holding his nose to avoid the odor from the surrounding dead bodies
Vlad then took it upon himself to personally impale the nobleman and he set him higher than the others, in order to not feel the unpleasant smell!
Impalement is not a fast death, it takes days excruciating pain which ultimately leads to death.
The 2 monks
Two monks once visited Vlad at his palace, Where he led them through the dungeons and then into the yard where the corpses of dead bodies were exposed at different stages of Decomposition.
When he asked for their opinions of what they had witnessed, one of the monks replied:
– You were chosen by God to punish the villains!
The other monk was terrified of what he had seen and condemned the ruler for his actions.
Vlad then punished the first because he was not honest and congratulated the second because he had the courage to express himself, and not put his personal interests firsts.