Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Dracula’s novel is a masterpiece of the fantasy literature. Although the idea itself can be considered terrible, it is a very interesting reading, and the book is very well written. Bram Stoker describes the dark side of vampires and creates a mysterious atmosphere, scary, interrupted by dramatic or romantic scenes.
The story begins with the lawyer Jonathan Harker, which is in Transylvania visiting Count Dracula, to help him with buying a property in London. Harker is very frightened by the Count and his castle. The Count has terrible habits and seems to be really a bloodthirsty monster. Harker manages to escape the castle and to meet with his fresh wife, Mina Harker. Mina Harker is terrified for several reasons: first, for what happened to her husband, and secondly because of the condition of her friend, Lucy Western, who was losing blood day by day. Lucy Westerna seems to have a very mysterious disease: she is pale and losing blood, and at the neck she has two small bites. The only ones who can help her are Arthur Holmwood (her boyfriend), Dr. Stewart, Mr. Morris and Professor Van Helsing. The cause of the disease, from the point of view of Professor Van Helsing, is a dark creature, a vampire. Lucy Westerna dies soon and the vampire, who is truly Dracula himself, finds a new victim: Mina Harker. The curse that has come upon Lucy after being bitten by Dracula is inevitable: she turns into a vampire. Professor Van Helsing keeps his nerves and “kills” Lucy, who became a living dead.
The end of the book is an alert adventure, trying to rescue Mina Harker from a cruel fate and killing Dracula. All ends well, despite the fact that there are sacrifices.
Dracula’s diary – Marin Mincu (2008)
“Dracula’s diary” is a book about the most famous and most disputed Romanian personality of all times – Vlad the Impaler – and about the permanent state of siege in which the Romanian people live. Writing in a diary form, the author refers to reliable historical sources, returning a fascinating image of Dracula, cloudy and sinister, but very different from that which was transmitted to us by the legend. The historical character has nothing to do with the popular bloodthirsty vampire that comes out of the tomb in the full moon nights. Marin Mincu evoke the “real” figure of the feared warrior, Vlad the third, and the origin of his “misdoings”, revealing an unexpected image of Dracula, philosopher, humanist, man of very fine European culture, polyglot.
Dracula the Un-Dead, 2009
Dracula: The Un-Dead, a book written by Bram Stoker’s great-grandson – Dacre Stoker together with Ian Holt, a New York writer, is a story about a character who almost became the Romania’s “country brand”, and also an inspiration to hundreds of movies and vampire stories.
The action of “Dracula: The Un-Dead” takes place in 1912, 25 years after the end of the adventures described in Bram Stoker’s novel.
The plot of the new book about the Transylvanian Count spins around Quincey, the son of Jonathan Harker (the central character pictured by Bram), who doesn’t know, but will find out on the way, about the “clash” that his parents had with Dracula.
Terrible deaths in London and Paris and a Europe-wide vampires hunt shows the terror that the “prince of darkness” spread around.
Here is a list od some of the best Dracula movies from the last decades:
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Released on September 28, 2012, the computer-animated comedy film tells a story of the Count Dracula, the owner of an extravagant five-star hotel opened in 1898.
In The Hotel Transylvania monsters and their families can feel comfortable without being bothered by people. In a very special weekend, Dracula has invited some of the world’s most famous monsters – Frankenstein and his wife, Mummy, Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and many others – to celebrate the 118th birthday of his daughter Mavis. But Dracula’s world will collapse when an earthling will set foot for the first time in his hotel and … will become friends with Mavis.
Van Helsing (2004)
In the XIXth century, the famous vampire hunter Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, accompanied by the Wolf Man and Frankenstein, heads to Europe for a confrontation with his old rival, Count Dracula. On his side is the beautiful Anna, the heiress of a rich and respected family in the area, which is determined to destroy all the evil in the world.
Seeking the past, Van Helsing will be able to find answers in Transylvania where he will face Dracula. Van Helsing is the only one able to lift the Anna Valerious family’s curse.
Dracula II: Ascension (2003)
An ancient evil is unleashed in the 21st century, presented in this terrifying and thrilling successful sequel to the big hit screen, Dracula 2000.
Ascension is the story of a group of students from the Faculty of Medicine who discovers the body of the world’s most famous vampire.
When a mysterious stranger appears and offers the students 30 million dollars to harvest the vampire’s blood and to sell it at auction, they are in front of an offer they can hardly refuse.
But as the richness temptation collides with unimaginable terror, the students are in the position to be constantly pursued by a vampire killer from the Vatican.
Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002)
In 1897, a strange and mysterious visitor from the East, Dracula, arrives in London, and is invited into the home of wealthy and pleasure-loving Lucy. Soon he seduces and puts her under his spell.
Dracula next sets his sights on Lucy’s best friend, Mina. When Lucy’s behavior becomes more erratic, leading her to bite Jonathan, her fiancée realizes something is very wrong. So, vampire hunter Van Helsing is brought in to kill the monster.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula follows the tormented development of this prince from Transylvania, extremely seductive, moving from Eastern Europe to London at the end of the 19th century. After centuries spent in the solitude of his castle, in the ruins, its attraction to mankind has become daring and full of desire. His story speaks about damnation and redemption, about horror and romantic passion, about renunciation and sacrifice.
The film shows that behind the vampire myth there are hiding eternal human feelings. It is a love story so thrilling that was ranked as one of the greatest epic stories of all time.
The fortress of Poenari is situated on a sharply edge at Arges Keyes entrance. The fortress dates back to the beginning of the XIV-th century, being rebuilt by Prince Vlad Tepes in the middle of the XV-th century.
The fortress is first mentioned in a document issued by Ludovic the V-th where the Hungarian king asks the Sibiu residents to perform repairs in order to use the fortress as a resistance point against the Turks.
The fortress is located 4 km from the dam of Vidraru in the top of the Fortress Mountain. The fortress can be reached by climbing 1480 of concrete steps meandering through a beech forest. Here, at an altitude of 850 m, protected by steep slopes, ascended the fortress called “the eagles nest of feared heroes” that was part of a chain of fortresses that defended the northern border of the Walachia.
The role of the castle was to ensure refuge for the ruler and to shelter a small garrison (5-7 soldiers).
The castle was built in two parts:
- the donjon tower, probably in the XIII century
- the walls and the semicircular towers were built during the XV century (1457) during the rule of Vlad the Impaler
From an architectonic point of view, the central tower presents Transylvanian influences, and the walls present Byzantine influences. the foundation and the first half of the wall is made of stone, for resistance and durability, and the superior part has been rebuilt with bricks. As the only siege known was the one of the Turk soldiers in the summer of 1462, we can date these remakes during the reign of Radu cel Frumos, the brothers of Vald the Impaler.
Over 700 years ago there was only a tower of stone, but in XIV century, the fortification was covered with thick stone walls coated with bricks in the upper layers. The historical events showed that Vlad the Impaler took care of rebuilding the fortress. The “Cantacuzino Chronicle” says the fortress was built by the order of Vlad the Impaler who, wanting to punish the boyars ”took them to Poenari and put them to build the fortress until they torn their clothes”.
The Poenari Fortress, the refuge of Vlad the Impaler, remains until today a fortress almost inaccessible.
The fortress was the last refuge of the voivode before leaving in Transylvania. It was one of the fortifications that contributed to the final victory of the Wallachs in 1462. Vlad the Impaler, has the merit of delaying the advancing of Ottoman armies in the south-central Europe for at least seven decades.
A large parte of the northern wall has collapsed after the 1915 earthquake, along with the rock on which the wall was built. The walls are built straight on rock, using oak beams for leveling and cohesion. The interior rooms of the semicircular towers are paved with rectangular bricks and at the floor level there are openings for the firing artillery. At a height of 3.5 m inside the semicircular towers there was built a guard passageway or a platform, as the traces of wooden beams in the wall of the towers mentioned lets us understand. The last restoration of the fortress was made between 1969-1972, when the walls were rebuilt and consolidated, and it was built an access level that allows visiting the entire fortress in good conditions.
Hidden between mountains, the old fortress of Poenari hides yet its secrets, although in the last decades is being searched brick by brick by Dracula’s modern admirers. Looking for ghosts, spirits hidden in the grass, or traces of blood, the vampire hunters are a little disappointed to find, at the end of an exhausting journey, just a few reddish and silent ruins: the walls that once defended the fearful voivode.
A legend about Poenari Fortress, known as the Lady’s River, talks about the wife of the voivode, who, knowing that the Turks are near and feeling that she has no escape, climbed on the battlements from the Arges River and shouted to the soldiers that she prefers to die than be imprisoned by the Turks. Then the wife of the voivode threw herself over the cliff, and her body was smashed on the rocks watered by the river. The place where she fell turned red because of the lady’s blood, and this is visible nowadays.
Another legend says that Vlad the Impaler, during 1462, flee from the armies of Mehmet II “al Fatih”, and retreated to the Poenari fortress with some of his faithful soldiers. The Turks bombed the fortress from a nearby mountain called Pietraria and destroyed its tower and walls. The ruler flee to the village of Arefu and, helped by the peasants, managed to return to his army.
Located in Rucar-Bran Step, at 30 km from Brasov, Bran Castle is one of the most recognized emblems of Romania. The legend behind the Bran Castle has is based on the famous Count Dracula, a character that has as a correspondent in prince Vlad Tepes. Dracula is alive thanks to the novel written by the Irish author Bram Stoker in the 19th century.
The novel has become so popular over time and helped evolve the image of Bran Castle, attracting many tourists each year, especially during the autumnal festival of Halloween known as the spirits and beings celebration beyond the depths.
Since this novel, things took a strange turning, considering that the history denied that Vlad Tepes, the prince with vampire traits, would have ever lived in Bran Castle. However, the story is so widespread over the entire world, that nobody cares how true it is, therefore, Bran Castle was the place where, over the years have poured a lot of thematic films. At Bran Castle are organized periodically theme parties including masked balls, scenes that seems detached from the darkest corners of hell, and exhibition of handmade objects, souvenirs and others.
Being built since 1211 under the architectural work of Johaness Schultz and Karel Liman, Bran Castle was completed in 1377. The first document attesting Bran Castle dates from the 14th century, when Sigismund of Luxembourg used Bran Castle as a military base in a raid, removing Vlad the Usurper, which was, at that time the one who actually owned the Bran castle.
In the first instance, the Bran Castle was built on a foundation of stone with wood, and over the times it was fortified.
Bran Castle history started to be even more interesting when Ludovic began his reign in Hungary, and when he promised to move the customs from Rucar to Bran. However, in the 13th century, the Bran Castle enters under the jurisdiction of Alba Iulia, which is uncommon considering Alba Iulia city location compared to the Bran Castle. Only in the 14th century, the Bran Castle passes under the property of Brasov throne, also going under the Hungarian crown. Along with new owners, the Bran Castle got new clothes and it was strengthened. In this period the Dracula’s Castle thrived and became more beautiful and powerful.
Later, since 1920, the Bran Castle will be donated to Queen Maria of Romania as a reward for her support on the Union of 1 December 1918, the union that put a stamp on Romanian history.
The Bran Castle prides itself with a museum spread over four floors and that houses a priceless furniture, clothing items of Queen Maria of Romania, weapons, ceramics, armor, plus many other items used at that time. Also, inside the Bran Castle museum we can find a real collection that can be found in a medieval village museum.
HOW TO GET TO BRAN CASTLE
As mentioned above, the Bran Castle is located 30 km from Brasov, and we can get there by bus, using one of the regular trips at small range, for tourism purposes. The main route is the Brasov highway that leads to Campulung. Bran is also known to produce various cooked pork and beef, but also several types of cheese. Consequently, the trade in the area is very common, which is the main source of income for the inhabitants of Bran – Bran Castle homonymous village.
Bran Castle is located in Brasov county, 30 km from the town with the same name, in the Piatra Craiului Mountains.
Address: General Traian Mosoiu Street, no. 28, Bran, code 507025, Brasov County, Romania
Phone number: +40 268 238 332, e-mail: email@example.com
The museum visit program runs from Tuesday to Sunday, between 9.00 and 19.00 and Monday from 12 to 19 hours. You must take in consideration that the last entry will take place at 18.00. The ticket price will cost 12 lei (~2,7 euros). There is a photo fee of 10 lei (~ 2,2 euros), and a video fee of 18 lei (~ 4 euros).
Between 1428 and 1436, Vlad Dracul took refuge in Transylvania and established his residence in Sighisoara. His first son, Mircea, was born there, then the second, Vlad, around 1430, who would become famous under the name of Vlad the Impaler.
In the fortress of Sighisoara, Vlad had a childhood similar to that of the western knights. Vlad learned writing, reading and weapon handling, something very useful for a descendant of a noble family.
In 1442, Vlad Dracul together with his sons Vlad and Mircea were called by the Ottoman Porte and accused of betrayal and thrown into prison.
Consequently, Vlad came in contact with the Ottoman Empire, learned the language and get used with the Ottoman’s organization, habits and military techniques.
After his father is murdered, in 1448, Vlad Tepes was allowed to return to the country as prince of Walachia, with the support and interest of the Turks.
Aware that only a strong reign could ensure him the realization of his ambitions, Vlad pursued a bold objective: strengthening the central authority. It was the only way to end the social struggles, to stem the boyars betrayal and to stop the escalating of social disorder. Thus, soon Vlad the Impaler establishes an authoritarian regime based on terror.
As any great nation founder, Vlad Tepes leaves behind, among other things, the Royal Court in Bucharest, a city first mentioned in documents in September 20, 1459, the Snagov Monastery and the Poienari Fortress, that is located in the central Carpathians, in Fagaras mountains, near the Arges River.
The mystery that wrapped Vlad the Impaler during his life followed him even after his death due to legends and terrifying stories about Dracula, which spread uncertainty even about the place where he was buried. A possible location is Snagov Monastery, near Bucharest.
Vlad the Impaler is the most famous character in the Romanian history, and his fame spread over the centuries from Europe to the entire world; his fame was expressed through a rich literary production which has spread since the XVth century in all Europe.
Unfortunately, this fame is a negative one, representing the voivode as a wicked criminal, a representative of evil. The origins of this image come from the nickname added to his name, the Impaler, as he is known in the Romanian history. It appears mentioned for the first time in the Turkish chronicles of the XVth and XVIth centuries, where the voivode of Wallachia appears as “the voivode who impales”. Vlad was given this nickname due to his cruel methods used in the execution of prisoners, of those sentenced to death and of his opponents.
The name that made him even more famous was Dracula. The cause was discovered once again by historiography: Vlad the Impaler was part of the Order of the Dragon, known as the Order of The Draculesti. The order, as organization, was made by the King of Hungary, Sigismund of Luxembourg and by Queen Barbara Cilli, and aimed to ensure the royal family’s protection and later to protect Christianity against any enemies, mainly the Turks.
A proof that Vlad was part of this order is his signature on the official documents: Dracula. Along the centuries, this signature got unexpected connotations.
On purpose or not, Vlad the Impaler’s name together with his acts, reserved a special place for him in the Romanian folk tradition but not as a wicked criminal. He was ruthless with the boyars that didn’t respect the law, but at the same time a protector of the poor. For the peasants of Wallachia he was their prince and their hero that served their cause.
The wide distribution of the so-called “German narratives” in Europe created Dracula a bad reputation. He was described as an antichrist, a wicked criminal and a cannibal.
The term of vampirism has its origins in the darkness of time. Since Prehistory the hunters discovered that when an animal is killed the blood drains from it, and so does life. The humans associated blood with the source of life and the link between a ruthless prince from the east with mystical creatures that feed on blood was not hard to make.
The Dracula character was created in 1897 by the Irish writer Bram Stoker in the novel with the same name. As the setting for the fascinating events, the author chose Transylvania, one of the three large regions of Romania. The association between Count Dracula, the vampire imagined by Bram Stocker and the historical character Vlad Tepes the Impaler-Dracula – prince of Wallachia (1448,1456-1462, 1476), who spent his childhood in Transylvania, is due to the bloodthirsty and punitive character of the voivode.
Through his father, Vlad the Impaler was the direct nephew of the great voivode Mircea the Old (1386-1418) of the Basarab Dynasty, and through his mother, daughter of Alexandru the Kind, voivode of Moldavia (1400-1432), he was a descendant of the Musatin Dynasty. He was a first cousin of Stefan the Great, the glorious voivode of Moldavia (1457-1504).
The popular nickname “Tepes” (the Impaler) was caused by the cruel custom of the Wallachian voivode to impose capital punishment by impaling, and the other “Dracula” (meaning Devil’s son in Slavonic) was inherited from his father, Vlad Dracul, who was awarded by Sigismund of Luxembourg , King of Hungary, in Nuremberg in 1431 with the Order of the Dragon, superior class. This knightly order in Eastern Europe aimed at stopping the Ottoman expansion. The order of the Dragon crest a dragon (Ottomans) and a cross (symbol of Christianity), and Vlad Dracul wore this symbol everywhere, on flags, coins and seals.
At that time, in all feudal Europe, there was a climate of cruelty, and Vlad the Impaler was characterized by its enemies as a sinister person, thirsting for human blood. Known for his sadism, Vlad was respected both as a fighter and as a prince who does not tolerate injustice. Vlad “Dracul” was a worshiped hero, but also feared by his people.
Re-edited numerous times, and translated in many languages, Bram Stoker’s novel inspired dramas, movies and all sorts of articles and papers, as Dracula’s character still continues to have universal renown. The novel’s hero, Count Dracula, an original monster, even more famous than the historical character, may be the result of several suggestions the author discovered in the history of Transylvania where the old fortresses seem the ideal setting for bloodthirsty phantasms and terrible vampires. Quite possibly, Bran Castle was a source of inspiration for the castle of Count Dracula.