Since it's almost Halloween I wanted to share some pictures from a trip that I took to Romania a few years ago this month. Everyone probably knows that Bram Stoker based the character in his novel Dracula off of Vlad Tepes, a real person. Vlad was born in Sighisoara, Transylvania which is now part of Romania.
There is a bust of Vlad in the center of Sighisoara and this marker on the street where he lived:
Vlad lived in this house from his birth in 1431 until 1435. Vlad was the Voivode of Wallachia (an area in Romania) three times and earned a reputation for cruelty that gave him the nickname Vlad the Impaler. The marker refers to Vlad by his family name Dracul, which means dragon.
Another element in the Dracula legend is Bran Castle. Bran Castle is a fortress located near Brasov, Romania. It sits on the border between what used to be Transylvania and what used to be Wallachia (now all Romania!) Historically, there is little indication that Vlad Tepes ever spent any time at Bran Castle, but the castle makes an excellent location to set a vampire tale.
It has great architecture, some secret passageways and general creepiness. It also has some diligent knights still guarding the pass.
The best thing of all is that the local Romanians are totally for all of the tourism they get from the Dracula association.