A virtual tour of three "hot" Dracula spots
When it comes to Dracula's castle people get so confused. Is there such a castle in Romania? And where is it?
The misunderstanding comes from the confusion between Bram Stocker's Dracula and Vlad III Dracula. Start by thinking they are two different characters, the first being pure fictional and the second being a real 15th century man.
Three places point you to Dracula's castle in Romania. Let's see what's the connection with this name for each one of them.
Bran Castle is not Dracula's castle
Many people still think that Bran Castle is Vlad Dracula's castle. This story begun back in '70s, with a group of US people who passed through Bran and heard there is a castle in the neighbourhood. They went to visit this castle. Being Dracula fans and seeing Bran Castle position and walls they said:
"Look, this is Dracula's Castle!"
They went home and spread the word they discovered Dracula Castle, with disregard to the fact that the guide inside the castle couldn't say a word about the connection between Vlad Dracula and Bran Castle.
More and more tourists came in Romania to see Dracula castle. The news spread quickly and Ceausescu consulters convince him to capitalize on this.
So, the manager of Bran museum received an order to do something and bring more tourists. The consequence was that guides start to talk about the connection between Dracula and Vlad the Impaler and between Vlad and Bran castle.
Some guides were more enthusiastic and told visitors that Vlad Dracula stayed in the castle or even more, he owned the castle. Some people were more realistic and told Vlad the Impaler was arrested in the neighbourhood and there is a possibility that Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned in Bran for a while. Well, this isn't a lie.
But doesn't matter what they heard, people went home and told they saw the Dracula castle.
The truth? There are records that Vlad was arrested near Oratia fortress (close to Bran castle). Anything else? Suppositions.
- He could be moved to Visegrad right away.
- He could be imprisoned at Oratia. Oratia fortress was a custom Wallachian fortress; so, they had at least a cell prison.
- Or he could have been imprisoned in Bran cells. But, with Bran being a Brasov custom fortress, I doubt Vlad could remain alive for a day, unless King Mathias Corvin himself stayed there in the same time. But there is not a single record about Mathias Corvin or Vlad III Dracula staying at Bran.
The believe that Bran castle is Dracula castle took so deep roots in western people minds that even today, when all Romanians tell them it's a tourist trap, they come in Romania and visit Bran castle with the same believe in mind. So, not Romanians mislead you, your own people do it. Even without Dracula in its background, Bran castle still worth a visit.
"Dracula castle" Hotel
This is another communist story. It has no connection with Vlad the Impaler. But its story starts with the location of the Dracula's castle from Bram Stocker's book. The hotel is located in the beautiful Tihuta Pass (the old name being Bargau/Borgo Pass), at the border between Transylvania and Moldavia and dominates the surroundings.
When the Dracula madness made people come in Transylvania and search for Dracula traces, at the initiative of a local entrepreneur, Ceausescu ordered the building of a replica of Dracula's castle described by Bram Stocker.
In my opinion this is a really horror castle. Well, not quite that horror you think. You won't find here vampires or ghosts or any other strange entity. The horror comes from the building architecture. No way to look like Bram Stocker's castle. It's only another example of communist architecture. Outside and inside as well. Brrrr!
They tried to keep Dracula spirit by designing a secret Dracula room, organizing Dracula or horror nights. The walls are painted with Dracula scenes from the book and they have even a coffin. Maybe that's why all Halloween tours have this hotel in their schedule.
Poienari fortress is the real and the only "Dracula castle"
Back to Count Dracula page.
Why quotes? If you look at it from the bottom of the mountain it looks like Dracula's castle. But is only a small fortress (not a castle) that Vlad the Impaler built. In fact he reinforced an old ruined frontier tower.
Even today its ruins are surrounded by legends. The gloomy atmosphere created by the clouds that often go down and surround it and the great beautiful view will be the reward for your ascending effort.
Read more about Poienari fortress.
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