Dracula: Fact or fiction?

10 April 2018

You probably don’t need an introduction toDracula. Bram Stoker’s fictional vampire is the star of his infamous 1897 horror book, who has since gone on to become an international cultural reference when it comes to talk of all things ghastly and ghoulie. He’s even starred in his own movies.

Set in Transylvania, many travellers have Dracula in the back of their minds when taking a holiday to Romania. So, let’s take a look at the facts and myths surrounding Stoker and Dracula.

Did Bram Stoker visit Transylvania?

No. Bizarrely, Stoker never visited the area that his most famous piece of work was set in! He got the inspiration from old Romanian tales that were shared with him, along with inspiration from his home country, Ireland.

Was Count Dracula a real person?

No. But he was based on a real person – Vlad the Impaler. Vlad III was a pretty blood thirsty ruler, who gruesomely avenged his father by impaling a blunt stake through the abdomens of noblemen. He also got rid of the sick and poor by burning them alive. In summary: he wasn’t a very nice man.

Was Dracula a real name?

Yes. ‘Dracul’ was Romanian for dragon, and so Dracula meant ‘Son of Dragon’. Vlad’s father was a member of a secret society called Order of the Dragon. It’s all very Game of Thrones before its time.

Do people go vampire hunting in Transylvania?

Yes. In fact, Gray Line organise a day trip to Dracula’s castle…if you dare. It takes you to Bran Castle, which casts the most iconic Gothic silhouette over Transylvania. After a tour of the castle, an eerie walking tour through Brasov includes the Council Square, the Black Church and the Old Walls of the fortress.

Was Dracula the first vampire?

No. Although he’s certainly the most famous one, vampires were featured in earlier pieces of fiction. Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and Varney the Vampire by James Malcolm Rymer are two examples.

Are the locations described in Dracula’s Transylvania real?

Yes. Sighisoara is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and his remains are said to be buried at Snagov Monastery. Poenari Fortress is said to be the original Dracula castle and tales are still rife in the village of Arefu.

So…can I defeat Dracula if I meet him on a holiday to Transylvania?

Yes. Carry around a crucifix and bulbs of garlic with you – he is repulsed by both. He is also a lot less powerful through the day time. But if you want to end him for good, you’re going to have to decapitate him and stick a stake through his hard. Easy, huh?

Was Dracula real?

Well that’s for you to go and find out for yourself. Book a Romania holiday with Gray Line today, and set off on a trail to find vampires. Just remember to eat something garlicy for your lunch beforehand.

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