Legends of Dracula’s castle

Bran Castle. (Wikimedia Commons)
Bran Castle. (Wikimedia Commons)

Bran Castle, known as the castle of Count Dracula, is being sold in Romania. The castle is located 30 km away from Brasov. It is an important national monument and tourist destination that attracts many fans of myths and legends annually.

The castle was built in 1226 as a defense fortress. But it acquired its fame in 1898 when the Irish writer Bram Stoker wrote his novel „Dracula.“

Bran Castle is located near a gully and it hosted the prototype of the book vampire – Count Vlad the Impaler (Dracula). Although the castle did not belong to the Impaler, the local always associated it with the name of Dracula.

Unimaginable cruelty

Vlad III has received the nickname Tsepes (which means „one who splits, pierces“) for the cruelty in persecution of his enemies – he impaled the guilty ones. The nickname Dracula (translated as „dragon“) is left by his father Vlad II, who was a member of the elite chivalric Order of the Dragon.

Vlad III. Рublic domain
Vlad III. (Рublic domain)

Vlad III ruled medieval Wallachia (a region of Romania) and was famous for his unthinkable cruelty. He could kill innocent people for fun and take baths in their blood.

According to some data, Count the Impaler was a sorcerer and had made a deal with the dark forces. After his death,there were rumors that Count Dracula became a vampire. According to one version it happened because his body disappeared from the tomb. According to another – because many of the count’s victims cursed him before their death.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The image and the name of the count impressed Bram Stoker so much that he made Dracula the main protagonist of his novel and in doing so immortalized his name along with Bran Castle.

Bran Castle is shrouded in mystery. It conceals a large amount of underground tunnels and labyrinths, through which one can enter the castle undetected or to escape from it. There is a well in the courtyard of the castle. One legend says that once a year, at midnight on 31 September, the souls of Dracula’s victims emerge out of it. But September has only 30 days.

The well in Bran Castle. (Jaysmark/flickr.com/CC BY 2.0)
The well in Bran Castle. (Jaysmark/flickr.com/CC BY 2.0)

There is a room with a bed, in which, according to the legend, Dracula drank the blood of his victims. But Vlad the Impaler, according to various reports, spent the night in the castle only one or a few times. So the credibility of this myth is quite questionable. But the legend attracts tourists like a magnet.

No one knows the location of the grave of Vlad the Impaler and whether it actually exists. But many fans of mysticism believe that the remains of the tyrant lie in this castle. Locals say that his ghost roams the local forests. According to other versions the remains of Dracula are on an island, located in Lake Snagov, not far from Bucharest.

It is rumored that the body, beheaded in battle with the Turks, was committed to the ground in front of the altar of the monastery, located on the island. But these information was not confirmed, excavations show no sign of human remains or graves. There are rumors that Dracula’s body disappeared after his death and that convinced the fans of the legends of this mystical story.

The island monastery where Dracula was buried, according to the legend. (fusion-of-horizons/flickr.com/CC BY 2.0)
The island monastery where Dracula was buried, according to the legend.
(fusion-of-horizons/flickr.com/CC BY 2.0)

Anyway, Bran Castle and its surroundings are full of legends and appear to be a favorite spot for many tourists. Aproximately one million people visit the castle of Count Dracula every year. Unfortunately we can not look back into the depths of the centuries and understand the whole truth about the life and death of the bloody Count.