Dracula’s Legacy at Bran

The image that we all have today of Dracula is a mélange of real historic facts with several legends related to the rule of Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), a Romanian medieval prince in Wallachia. To these a series of unfavorable chronicles added with the intention of ruining his reputation at the epoch. Last but not least, all these were rounded by Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula, written in 1897.

The truth about Vlad the Impaler (1456-1462; 1476)

Despite the negative image that this prince has abroad, he is in fact one ofRomania’s most respected medieval rulers. Convinced that only a strong rule inside the country would provide order and would help him organize defense successfully, Vlad the Impaler adopted an authoritarian rule which imposed honesty and diligence as virtues to his subjects, dishonesty (theft), laziness and cunning being punished harshly by impaling. This might seem a cruel punishment, but it can be understood only in relation to the times in which he lived, an era of great cruelty, which has seen other punishments, just as harsh, such as burning at the stake, hanging and so many others. His severe measures helped him bring order in the country. But his actions drew the hatred of many of his contemporaries. They wrongly accused him of coming to agreements with the Turks against the interests of the country so he was imprisoned by orders of the King of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus.

The truth about Dracula

Bram Stoker believed that Vlad Tepes was not an ordinary man because people had been spoken of him for centuries as the most skilful, the most cunning but also the most valiant of the sons of this country. But once Bram Stoker’s novel appeared, Vlad was no longer seen as a real historical figure, but as a cruel vampire whose actions have no connection whatsoever with justice. What is interesting to note is that there is also no connection whatsoever between Bran and Vlad the Imaler as he never actually lived there. This castle being his residence is in fact as much legend as Dracula’s very existence. Foreign tourists that came inRomaniain search of Dracula found this mysterious castle, with a Gothic – like appearance and assumed it was their vampire’s castle.

Bran’s fame rests upon this connection with Dracula but it is not one that not many Romanians are fond of because it unjustly distorts the image of Vlad the Impaler. Or maybe because it is not an authentic Romanian legend …

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