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Dracula - Vlad Tepes

Original version
Dracula is more than 100 years old and still alive! Dracula is a fictional character inspired by the real historical character Vlad Ţepeş. Vlad Tepes was born in December 1431 in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania. Vlad's father, governor of Transylvania, had been inducted into the Order of the Dragon about one year before. The order — which could be compared to the Knights of the Hospital of St. John or even to the Teutonic Order of Knights — was a semi-military and religious society, originally created in 1387 by the Holy Roman Emperor and his second wife, Barbara Cilli. The main goal of such a secret fraternal order of knights was to protect the interests of Christianity and to crusade against the Turks. The boyars of Romania associated the dragon with the Devil and decided to call Vlad's father "Dracul," which in the Romanian language means "Devil;" "Dracula" is a diminutive, meaning "the son of the Devil." In the winter of 1436-1437, Dracul became prince of Walachia (one of the three Romanian provinces). Legend: Vlad's cruelty is well documented in historical texts, but what often goes overlooked is how he combined this cruelty with cunning to terrorize his enemies. Vlad Tepes adopted the method of impaling criminals and enemies and raising them aloft in the town square for all to see. Almost any crime, from lying and stealing to killing, could be punished by impalement. Being so confident in the effectiveness of his law, Dracula placed a golden cup on display in the central square of Targoviste. The cup could be used by thirsty travelers, but had to remain on the square. According to the available historical sources, it was never stolen and remained entirely unmolested throughout Vlad's reign. Crime and corruption ceased; commerce and culture thrived, and many Romanians to this day view Vlad Tepes as a hero for his fierce insistence on honesty and order.
Alternative versions
Some say that Transylvania sits on one of Earth's strongest magnetic fields and its people have extra-sensory perception. Vampires are believed to hang around crossroads on St. George's Day, April 23, and the eve of St. Andrew, November 29. The area is also home to Dracula, and it's easy to get caught up in the tale while driving along winding roads through dense, dark, ancient forests and over mountain passes. The only real link between the historical Dracula (1431-1476) and the modern literary myth of the vampire is the 1897 novel. Bram Stoker built his fictional character solely based on the research that he conducted in libraries in London. Political detractors and Saxon merchants, unhappy with the new trade regulations imposed by Vlad, did everything they could to blacken his reputation. They produced and disseminated throughout Western Europe exaggerated stories and illustrations about Vlad's cruelty. Vlad Tepes' reign was, however, presented in a different way in chronicles written in other parts of Europe.
Main characters
The Impaler, Vampire, Dracula, Vlad Tepes
Connected artistic / architectonic / historical heritage
Dracula's Castle Bran, near Brașov, Romania Coordinates- 45°30′54″N 25°22′02″E Historical heritage: Although Vlad Tepes was one of the most famous rulers of Wallachia, many of the inhabitants of the villages surrounding his medieval castles feared he is actually a terrifying, blood-sucking creature. This fear lived on throughout the ages and managed to place him in the minds of many generations as a highly controversial character called Count Dracula. The night attack at Târgoviște, 1462, when Vlad Tepes impaled twenty thousand men, women, and children. Architectonic heritage: Bran Castle situated near Bran and in the immediate vicinity of Brașov, is a national monument and landmark in Romania. The fortress is situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. Commonly known outside Romania as Dracula's Castle it is often erroneously referred to as the home of the title character in Bram Stoker's Dracula. From 1920 to 1957 Bran served as royal residence, a gift of the people of Brasov to Queen Marie of Romania. The castle is now a museum open to tourists, displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. The Caslte and the Count Dracula is a landmark of Romania, lots of tourists are visiting and also the film industry ithaves Both the Castle and the character "Dracula" are emblematic for Romania, being a point of interest for tourists internationally. Vampires in general are still a topic of interest for literature and films. Artistic heritage: Based on the night attack at Târgoviște, 1462, when Vlad Tepes impaled twenty thousand men, women, and children and the other stories made from Vlad one of the best-known Romanian medieval rulers. And even more made Bram Stoker to publisg the Dracula novel, based on a connection between Vlad Dracula and vampirism. Bram Stoker took as inspiration for Dracula's Castle the medieval Bran Castle (some are saying that was the Poenari Castle). Bran Castle was widely marketed as being the real Dracula Castle, and thus Transylvania became the home of the vampires that we all love (or fear) today. And while vampires may not be real, one thing is for sure. Stoker's Dracula became one of the most representative images of the rich and authentic Romanian folklore, a true ambassador of all the Carpathian vampires, a Romanian vampire.
Local traditions or historical connections
Local traditions: In Romania, the night of St. Andrew (30 of November) is a magical one, in which all evil spirits (vampires) go out to hunt. The Romanians protect in this night with garlic and frankincense. There is common belief that the garlic frightens the vampires and malefic spirits. Historical connections: Though Dracula (the legendary vampire, created by author Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel) is a purely fictional creation, Stoker named his infamous character after a real person who happened to have a taste for blood: Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia or — as he is better known — Vlad the Impaler. The morbid nickname is a testament to the Wallachian prince's favorite way of dispensing with his enemies. Vlad III was born in 1431 in what is now Transylvania, the central region of modern-day Romania. Stoker's Dracula is linked to Transylvania, but the real, historic Dracula — Vlad III — never owned anything in Transylvania. Bran Castle, a modern-day tourist attraction in Transylvania that is often referred to as Dracula's castle, was never the residence of the Wallachian prince. Because the castle is in the mountains in this foggy area and it looks spooky, it's what one would expect of Dracula's castle.
Didactical Relevance
Study of the name of Dracula: The name of Dracula has its origin in Vlad Tepes father's name, Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad the Dragon, a name he received after becoming a member of the Order of the Dragon. Dracula is the Slavonic genitive form of the word Dracul (Dragon), and it means Son of the Dragon. In modern Romania, drac means "devil", and this contributed to Vlad III's infamous reputation. Throughout his life, Vlad the Impaler was one of the fiercest enemies of the Ottoman Empire, and stories of his cruelty rapidly spread throughout Europe. Pope Pius II included several stories about Vlad III in his Commentaries, and others wrote poems and told tales of how cruel he was. In Romanian history, he is known as Vlad Țepeș, and he is called "the Impaler" because his favorite method of execution was impalement. History: The night attack at Târgoviște: On the night of June 16th, Vlad Țepeș broke into the Ottoman camp and tried capturing or assassinating the sultan, in order to cause chaos and panic among the Ottoman army. However, his attack failed, because they confused the tents and assassinated two viziers instead. When Mehmed entered Târgoviște in June, the town they found was deserted, but instead, they found a forest of twenty thousand men, women, and children, all impaled, with their bodies decaying, and birds nesting in their entrails. After seeing this, Sultan Mehmed II was amazed and decided that he can not deprive of his country the man who had done such an act.
Didactical Activity
Activities you can enjoy: -visiting Bran Castle, -visiting and hiking around the medieval city of Sighisoara, - listening to local stories told by the elders of the city, -compare The Dracula Castle with other seen, -enjoying the beauty of the nature there, -how can you, as a student, to deliver the correct message about Count Dracula? Is his legend meant to scare everybody interested? Why do you believe Vlad the Impaler was so cruel? Arts and crafts: Make the most scariest Dracula Castle you imagine, Draw Vlad the Impaler winning a battle, create a tower in Sighisoara that you have visited. Essay: Knowing his thirst of blood, point the main characteristics of Dracula, How is Dracula described in Bram Stoker s book? Reading: The students will read another legends and then compare them. Must find similarities and differences between different legends. Maths: Approximate how many stairs are in Bran Castle, how many rooms and how many coffins, multiply with the number of you climbing them / divide on the number of towers, approximate the number of visitors in one day – multiply with the price of the ticket and show how much money are cashed in one day/ per week. Another perspective: Students are asked to tell the legend from their point of view. Debate: how strong you need to be to become a legend? Movie : students are asked to create a small movie about Vlad the Impaler from historical point of view. History: Vlad the Impaler, the Law Defender Quiz about Vlad The Impaler


Vlad The Impaler : The Real Dracula
Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler, was voivode (or prince) of Wallachia three times between 1448 and his death. He was the second son of Vlad Dracul, who became the ruler of Wallachia in 1436.
Vlad the Impaler - the real DRACULA - IT'S HISTORY
Some of us know that Dracula actually existed, but hardly anyone knows his biography. Vlad Tepesz was the ruler of Wallachia and a fierce enemy of the Ottoman Empire. His nickname originated from his most favorite form of punishment - impaling his opponents, which to this day remains one of the most cruel and gory forms of death.


Vlad Tepes: The Real Dracula
Bran Castle
marketed as being the real Dracula Castle, and thus Transylvania became the home of the vampires
The night attack at Târgoviște
Painting by Theodor Aman
Portrait of Vlad the Impaler

External Sources

History of Dracula
Discover the history of Dracula, and of his connections to the land of Transylvania. Bram Stoker never visited this historical region, but many say that he got inspired by the infamous Vlad the Impaler. Find out the true story of the vampire lord, and see how he became Romania's most famous brand ambassador.
The Real Dracula: Vlad the Impaler
Few names have cast more terror into the human heart than Dracula. The legendary vampire, created by author Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel of the same name, has inspired countless horror movies, television shows and other bloodcurdling tales of vampires.
Dracula's Homepage
is a treasure trove of information compiled by Elizabeth Miller, an internationally recognized expert on Dracula — the novel and the folklore.

PDF version of the legend in national language