"Dracula's Castle - The Bran Castle" Top 5 Page for this destination Bran by Bombonel
Bran Travel Guide: 101 reviews and 297 photos
Welcome to the Carpathians.
I am anxiously expecting you. Sleep well tonight.
At three tomorrow the diligence will start for Bukovina;
a place on it is kept for you.
At the Borgo Pass my carriage will await you and will bring you to me.
I trust that your journey from London has been a happy one, and that
you will enjoy your stay in my beautiful land.
Your friend, Dracula."
Vlad Dracul was the father of Vlad The Impaler (1430 - 1477), the person who has been identified as the historical Dracula. He was the illegitimate son of Prince Mircea, the ruler of Wallachia, the area of present-day Romania south of the Carpathian Mountains. His Mother might have been Princess Mara of the Tomaj family of Hungary. He possibly spent a period of his youth at the court of Sigismund I of Luxembourg, the king of Hungary, as a token of faithfulness of Mircea's alliance with Sigismund. Thus, Vlad might have grown up in Buda and in locations in Germany. He married and had a son, also named Mircea.
In 1430 Vlad appeared in Transylvania as an official in charge of securing the Transylvanian border with Wallachia. He resided in Sighisoara, where toward the end of the year his second son, Vlad (later called Vlad the Impaler or Dracula) was born. Shortly after the child's birth, it became known that Sigismund had selected Vlad as his candidate to rule Wallachia. Vlad was invited to Nuremberg to be invested by the Order Of The Dragon.
Now bearing the title of prince of Wallachia, he was unable to secure the throne. He eventually created a powerful alliance by marrying Eupraxia, the sister of the ruler of Muldavia, as a second wife. In 1436 he was finally able to secure the Wallachian throne, and in the winter of 1436-37 he moved to Tirgoviste, the Wallachian capital. He had three other children : Radu, a second son also named Vlad (commonly referred to as Vlad the Monk), and a second son named Mircea.
In 1437, following the death of Sigismund, Vlad Dracul signed an alliance with the Turks, In March 1442 he allowed Mezid-Bey to pass through Wallachia and attack Transylvania. However, the Turkish army was defeated and the Hungarian army pursued Mezid-Bey back through Wallachia and drove Vlad Dracul from the throne in the process. He took refuge among the Turks, with whose help he regained the throne the following year. To secure the new relationship, Vlad Dracul left two sons, Vlad and Radu, in Turkish hands. Then, in 1444, Hungary moved against the Turks. Vlad Dracul, attempting to keep his pledge to the sultan but also aware of his obligations to the Christian Community, sent a small contingent to assist the Hungarian forces. They met with a resounding defeat, which Vlad Dracul and his son Mircea blamed on John Hunyadi, the governor of Hungary. In 1447 Hunyadi led a war against Vlad. The decisive battle was fought near Tirgoviste, and as a result Vlad was killed and Mircea captured by the Romanian boyars (the ruling elite) and tortured and killed.
The year after Vlad Dracul's death his son Vlad Dracula ("son of Dracul") attempted to assume his throne. He was unable to do so until 1456. Soon after becoming prince of Wallachia, he avenged the death of his father and brother.
The name Dracula was applied to Vlad during his lifetime. It was derived from Drac, a Romanian word that can be interpreted variously as "devil" or "dragon". Vlad's father had joined the Order of the Dragon, a Christian brotherhood dedicated to fighting the Turks, in 1431, shortly after Vlad's birth. The oath of the order required, among other things, wearing the order's insignia at all times. The name Dracula means son of Dracul or son of the dragon or devil.
In December 1447 Vlad's father was murdered and brother burned alive under the orders of Hungarian governor John Hunyadi with the assistance of the boyars, the ruling elite families of Wallachia. The death of Mircea made Vlad the successor, but with Hunyadi's backing.
Vladislav II, a member of another branch of the family, assumed the Wallachian throne. Vlad tried to claim the throne in 1448, but his reign lasted only a couple of months before he was forced to flee to the neighboring kingdom of Moldavia. In 1451, while he was at Suceava, the Moldavian capital, the ruler was assassinated. For whatever reasons, Vlad then went to Transylvania and placed himself at the mercy of Hunyadi. The alliance between Hunyadi and Vlad may have been possible by Vladislav II's adoption of pro-Turkish policy which alienated Hunyadi. Vlad fought beside Hunyadi, who in the end acknowledged Vlad's claim to the Wallachian throne.
Hunyadi dies of the plague at Belgrade on August 11, 1456. Immediately after that event, Vlad left Transylvania for Wallachia. He defeated Vladislav II and on August 20 caught up with the fleeing prince and killed him. Vlad then began his six year reign, during with his reputation was established. In September he took both a formal oath to Hungarian King Ladislaus V and, a few days later, an oath of vassalage to the Turkish sultan.
Vlad's brutal manner of terrorizing his enemies and the seemingly arbitrary manner in which he had people punished earned him the nickname "Tepes" or "the Impaler" the common name by which he is known today.
At Castle Dracula he was faced with overwhelming odds, his army having melted away. He chose to survive by escaping through a secret tunnel and then over the Carpathians into Transylvania. His wife according to local legend, committed suicide before the Turks overran the castle. In Transylvania he presented himself to the new king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, who arrested him. At this time the first publications of stories of Vlad's cruelties were circulating through Europe. Vlad was imprisoned at the Hungarian capital, by 1475 events had shifted to the point that he emerged as the best candidate to retake the Wallachian throne. In the summer of 1475 he was again recognized as the prince of Wallachia. His end came at the hand of an assassin at some point toward the end of December 1476 or early January 1477.
The actual location of Vlad's burial site is unknown, but the likely spot is the church at the Snagov monastery, located on an isolated island. Excavations there have proved inconclusive. A tomb near the altar thought by many to be Vlad's resting place was empty when opened in the early 1930's.
Source - The Vampire Book - The Encyclopedia Of The Undead
By J. Gordon Melton
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