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A visit with Count Dracula

Transylvania, Romania

By Novel AllenPublished about a year ago 8 min read
Original portrait of Vlad Tepes (Count Dracula), taken at Bran Castle, Transylvania.

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, Moldova to the east, and the Black Sea to the southeast. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate.

On my recent visit to Transylvania, Romania, I stood in front of the Vampire detecting mirrors of Tepes Castle, fully hoping to see no reflection of myself. I secretly hoped that I was a Vampire, you see. My disappointment was deep and sad. Alas, I am a mere mortal with no Vampirish DNA at all. How dreadfully boorish and normal. Ah well! I got to visit Dracula's home of Bran Castle later in the day. Oh JOY! I felt quite at home, surrounded by the beautiful Carpathian Mountain range in all its cloud embraced splendor.

Carpathian mountain range at dawn in Romania

I learned the true history of the man we have come to know and maybe have a love/hate relationship with. Count Dracula. His was a short and mostly tragic life.

Vlad III, commonly known as Vlad the Impaler: Vlad Țepeș, or Vlad Dracula, Romanian. Vlad Drăculea, 1428/31 – 1476/77), was Voivode (Semi-independent ruler of Transylvania) of Wallachia (renamed Romania) three times between 1448 and his death in 1476/77. He is often considered one of the most important rulers in Wallachian history and a national hero of Romania.

He was the second son of Vlad Dracul, who became the ruler of Wallachia in 1436. Vlad and his younger brother, Radu, were held as hostages in the Ottoman Empire in 1442 to secure their father's loyalty. Vlad's eldest brother Mircea and their father were murdered after John Hunyadi, regent-governor of Hungary, invaded Wallachia in 1447. Hunyadi installed Vlad's second cousin, Vladislav II, as the new voivode.

During his short life, Vlad was made Voivode or ruler at the tender age of 17. He ran away once or twice and ruled on three different occasions. He was imprisoned by the Hungarians in Transylvania for 12 years. He then returned to rule once again, but was killed in an overwhelmingly outnumbered battle with the Ottomans who were strongly reinforced.

Vlad was very brave and fought for his people to maintain their independence. He was successful and kept the enemy at bay. Lies and rumors led to his downfall, as his enemies found him charismatic and intelligent. Vlad outsmarted them at every turn. He would capture his enemies and have them impaled and put on display with their leaders prominently placed on higher poles in the front. (Hence his nickname (Vlad the Impaler). Vlad was held in captivity in Visegrád from 1463 to 1475. During this period, anecdotes about his cruelty started to spread in Germany and Italy. He was released at the request of Stephen III of Moldavia in the summer of 1475. In Russia, popular stories suggested that Vlad was able to strengthen his central government only through applying brutal punishments, and a similar view was adopted by most Romanian historians in the 19th century. Vlad's patronymic inspired the name of Bram Stoker's literary vampire, Count Dracula.

After his death his people were overpowered and came under the rule of the enemy.

The Carpathian mountain range spans a great distance across Romania, and presents you with an extremely breathtaking view. The vast portions of the mountains are mainly located in this country and can be seen for miles. During our visit, we could see the clouds nestled between the ranges, not unlike being cradled in loving arms. I could gladly stand and watch the view for hours. It was really lovely to behold.

From the top of the famous Bran Castle (which is really a fort where Vlad moved to when his original castle was destroyed by his enemies) the mountain is visible in every direction. No enemy could escape detection from this glorious view. Such a pity it was all about war. I would have been happy to stand side by side with Vlad in perfect peace and harmony.

castle and Wishing well

Front entrance to Bran castle

Mountainous view from the Castle/Fort
Kingly attire

Coat of arms

A child sentinel (my grandson)

Dracula's eyes have always mesmerized me. I always imagined him paying me a romantic tryst one misty moonlit night, as wolves howled, and the full moon cast her magical blood lust gaze down from high above the heavens. We would then fly off into the beckoning hills and have a delightful date. I offer my neck. He bites, and I am transformed into a most lovely olive- skinned Vampiress. Freed from my mortal coil, I become free to walk the nights, feeding on blood. I bid you beware; no neck is immune to my appetite. I would make a kingdom of vampires all my own.

Original Bran Castle, Transylvania, home of Vlad Tepes (Count Dracula).

Our Airbnb provided us with earplugs when we first arrived, we found out why later. We were in the heart of the historical district. On weekends the "nights come alive with the sounds of music", really loud music. Music that goes on all night until 7am in the morning, even on Sunday night. Romanians get Mondays off, to sleep and recuperate. Lucky people folks, or maybe not so lucky, hangovers abound. Kind of makes one want to stay there. I would stay just to awaken to the mountain view every morning with a warm cup of steaming something hot.

The buildings are really strongly built and formidable, most were built hundreds of years ago. There is the Parliament building, a dinosaur museum, and a replica of the Arc de Triomphe. Many historical buildings stand firmly, proudly, each with an amazing story to tell. A sad but hopeful saga of the trials and struggles of its people.

The Arcul de Triumf (Romanian; "Triumphal Arch") is a triumphal arch located on the Kiseleff Road, in the northern part of Bucharest, Romania. The monument, designed by Petre Antonescu, was built in 1921–22, renovated in 1935–36, and renovated again starting in 2014. It commemorates Romania's victory in the First World War and the coronation of HM King Ferdinand and his wife Marie.

Nowadays, the Arcul de Triumf is one of the well-known symbols of the Romanian capital. Military parades are held beneath the arch each 1 December, with the occasion of Romanian National Day.

Beware the cobblestones when venturing out for a stroll. They are different and attractively placed, but many stones are loose, allowing for stubbed toes and a stumble or fall. Sunday found us on a very long bus ride to visit the palaces, with a lot of walking, a perfect workout for any day.

Chateau Peles

Peleș Castle (Romanian: Castelul Peleș) is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914. Its inauguration was held in 1883. It was constructed for King Carol I.

When King Carol I of Romania (1839–1914), under whose reign the country gained its independence, first visited the site of the future castle in 1866, he fell in love with the magnificent mountain scenery. In 1872, the Crown purchased 5 square kilometres (1.9 sq mi) of land near the Piatra Arsă River. The estate was named the Royal Estate of Sinaia. The King commissioned the construction of a royal hunting preserve and summer retreat on the property, and the foundation was laid for Peleș Castle on 22 August 1873. Several auxiliary buildings were built simultaneously with the castle: the guards' chambers, the Economat Building, the Foișor hunting lodge, the royal stables, and a power plant. Peleș became the world's first castle fully powered by locally produced electricity.

Bear in mind that this was the king's summer home. It is said that his fascination for the place kept him adding more and more rooms over the years. Had he not died while still constructing rooms he would have continued building into perpetuity. When he died, he had unfinished rooms which were left just the way they were in remembrance of him.

Do not be fooled by the exterior of the chateau. The interior is vast, and many guards are placed at the innumerable entrances to the twists and turns of the mazelike structure not unlike a museum, once a summer home to a king. Without the guards we may never have found our way out again. Phew!

The building of a beautiful dream

"Italians were masons, Romanians were building terraces, the Gypsies were coolies. Albanians and Greeks worked in stone, Germans and Hungarians were carpenters. Turks were burning brick. Engineers were Polish and the stone carvers were Czech. The Frenchmen were drawing, the Englishmen were measuring, and so was then when you could see hundreds of national costumes and fourteen languages in which they spoke, sang, cursed and quarreled in all dialects and tones, a joyful mix of men, horses, cart oxen and domestic buffaloes". (Queen Elizabeth of the Romanians).

Chateau Peles is very exotic and beautifully decorated with ornate and elaborate furnishings, art, and stained-glass windows. This was all done with the perfection and artistry of a surprising craftmanship for its dated construction. It holds many and myriad tales of history and interesting details, from Queen Elizabeth 11, and a host of royal historical figures, to very masterfully carved furniture, including many archaic forms of weaponry. My favorite among the decorative pieces were the Harp and Vampire mirrors.


Seeing myself in the Vampire Mirror (Look but don't touch)


The ceiling with fabulous designs.

One set of Windows out of many

Hill to Bran castle and the Big red chair at the end of the day

Fun facts about Romania

Romania is home to many Palaces with a rich history and interesting stories to every one of them. It is also rich in natural resources.

Romania enjoys a considerable wealth of natural resources: fertile land for agriculture; pastures for livestock; forests that provide hard and soft woods; petroleum reserves; metals, including gold and silver in the Apuseni Mountains; numerous rivers that supply hydroelectricity; and a Black Sea coastline that is the site of both ports and resorts.

Did you know that Bitdefender is a Romanian cybersecurity technology company headquartered in Bucharest, Romania, with offices in the United States, Europe, Australia and the Middle East. The company was founded in 2001 by the current CEO and main shareholder, Florin Talpeș. Bitdefender develops and delivers cybersecurity products and services, including endpoint protection, cloud and managed security, antivirus software and IoT security. (Wiki)

Cantacuzino Castle, Romania: was used to film the Netflix series WEDNESDAY. It is located in the Carpathian mountains.

After a most enjoyable trip, we bid goodbye to a lovely country and her mountains. I bought myself a souvenir coffin, just in case Vlad does change his mind and pays me a visit one eerie, mist laden and romantic moonlit night. A girl has to be prepared. I would need a place to sleep during the day after all.

family traveleuropeculture

About the Creator

Novel Allen

Every new day is a blank slate. Write something new.

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