Growing up, I watched umpteen horror shows, each portraying a different flavor of Dracula.
Sometimes they were blood sucking bats,
Sometimes Vampires and
Some times just monstrous undead.
I always wondered – “How we came to believe in the existence of Dracula?”
Last winter, I visited the city of Brasov in Romania. It was then, when I heard about the Bran Castle, also known as -“The Dracula Castle”. Curious to uncover the mystery of Dracula, I visited this castle.
According to a legend, “The Original Dracula” stayed here in the 15th Century. He was a notorious prince named ‘Vlad Tepes’, who had a brutal reputation of a murderer. He took over the name ” The Son of the Dracul” – dracul meaning a dragon, in Romania.
In 19th Century, the first novel on Dracula was published. (by Bram Stoker). Deemed to be inspired from this prince, the novel set its background in this castle.
The climb to the castle was a bit mountainous and it had plenty of wind from all directions. I visited this in a cold winter and it seemed pretty dark and daunting then. The outside of the castle was old and more like an ancient fort. When, I went inside, I was surprised by its cozy interior.
It looked very modern with wooden furnishings in every room. I understood later, that the castle was renovated in 19th Century by the last residing queen of Romania – Queen Marie.
The castle held an exhibit in a room called “The torture chamber”. It demonstrated several tools of torment used in earlier centuries.
The gory stories of the past reminded me of the “Original Dracula” – Prince Vlad, as he employed several methods of torture and mutilation to his enemies
A story goes that he did not shy away from boiling or skinning his victims alive but preferred to drive a wooden stake through their bodies, leaving them to die of exposure. Some particularly gruesome accounts also claim that he liked to dine among these impaled bodies and would dip his bread into their blood.
Yuckk! I felt glad, having not witnessed that century. No wonder why the Dracula still invokes fear.
Some walls in the castle also shared the tales of Dracula. They set a vibe of this historical connection.
After strolling through the castle for around an hour, I discovered from a guide that there is in fact, an entirely different side to this story. It could be – that this is no Dracula Castle at all.
Some evidences suggest that Prince Vlad never set a foot in this castle. Bram Stoker, in his novel – Dracula, wrote about a castle but also, never set his foot in this castle. A lot of people, therefore doubt if this indeed is the house of Dracula.
For what is still interesting to know, is the fact that Dracula captures its essence from prince Vlad (the son of Dracul) who lived in a castle in Romania. And this is perhaps the only place that fits all descriptions of that Castle.
So, I like to believe that I’ve been to the house of dracula.
Dracula Castle – checked!