Dracula: between legends and true events
Curiosity of Dracula: between legends and true events - A journey in the footsteps of Count Dracula - one of the most mysterious and controversial literary characters - through Gothic castles, history and unspoiled nature. Between legends and true events, Transylvania, a region located in the north-west of Romania, really presents itself as a place to be discovered.
A journey in the footsteps of Count Dracula - one of the most mysterious and controversial literary characters - through Gothic castles, history and unspoiled nature. Between legends and true events, Transylvania, a region located in the north-west of Romania, really presents itself as a place to be discovered.
Contrary to the sinister fame of its famous "first citizen", Transylvania is a rich and luminous land, which boasts splendid medieval-looking villages, mountains and national parks with immense green expanses inhabited by many protected species of animals.
The origin of the myth of Dracula is due to the famous Count Vlad, protagonist of the novel by the writer, Bram Stoker. The character of the Transylvanian vampire is inspired by a real person: the bloody ruler who reigned over Wallachia from 1456 to 1462. Certainly not a real vampire, but a ruthless man, to the point of having gone down in history with the nickname of "impaler ” for the habit of killing his enemies in this cruel way, but at the same time he is also remembered as a hero and father of the country for having fought for a long time against the Turkish invasions.
A tour in Dracula's footsteps cannot fail to start from the house where he lived.
Although the reigning Vlad never stayed there, Bran Castle, thanks to literary fiction, has gone down in history as the home of Count Dracula. Built in the 14th century by Ludovico I D'Angiò, the castle is a fortress perched on a rock face in the heart of a dark and sinister gorge. The position, strategic from a military point of view, has certainly contributed to fueling the gloomy and "noir" charm of the house and its owner, as well as the typical Gothic-style architecture with creepy stairways, underground passages and gloomy towers.
A few kilometers from the Castle, it is worth visiting the city of Brasov, an important medieval center famous for the Black Church, the splendid central square and the first school in all of Romania. Also known as the "Prague of Romania", Brasov was founded by the Teutonic knights around 1200 and fortified by the Saxons: it still appears today as a perfectly preserved ancient city, with a maze of narrow streets, Baroque facades and Gothic spiers, surrounded by walls built in the fifteenth century twelve meters high, three kilometers long and with seven bastions.
Another obligatory stop on the tour on the trail of the vampire is Sighisoara, where Vlad III was born in 1431: declared a UNESCO heritage site, it is a perfectly preserved medieval village, complete with an old city, a museum of weapons and a clock tower.
Not far from Sighisoara, the village of Biertan is definitely worth a visit. Immersed in the Transylvanian vineyards, the architectural complex of this town not only has a high aesthetic value, but has preserved in an exceptional way the core of the XV - XVI century: three concentric levels of defensive walls thirty-five meters high, connected by towers and gates, surround the complex and make the church, the main building of the village, an authentic stronghold. Built on a hill in the center of the town between 1495 and 1516, the Church is in late Gothic style with Renaissance and Baroque elements. The internal walls were frescoed in 1500 while the wooden door of the sacristy is unique in its kind, built in 1515 with a particular locking system. The entire building has seven towers and preserves an organ with 1290 pipes.
Finally, a stop at the city of Sibiu. Founded in 1190 by the Saxons on an ancient Roman settlement, it was the richest of the seven walled citadels and was located along the trade route between East and West. The historic center is divided into the Upper Town and the Lower Town and is characterized by narrow and steep streets overlooked by 17th century buildings. In the Upper Town there are three squares: the Piazza Grande, with the Baroque Roman-Catholic church, the Council Tower and the late Baroque-style Brukenthal Palace, the Piazza Piccola lined with shops and cafés, and the Piazza Huet where several buildings stand Gothic and the Evangelical Cathedral. The Lower Town is less monumental and is connected to the upper part by the Bridge of Lies, the first wrought iron bridge in Romania.