5. Where legend and history meet… Vlad Tepes, Dracula

I always hesitate when I approach this subject. There has been many things said about the subject, different sites tell different stories and in fact, what is it about?

The title is not embellished.  In what concerns the story of Vlad Tepes, also called Dracula, the history truly meets the legend. Where the truth ends and where the legend begins? I guess finally that depends on what every one wants to believe as I cannot guarantee any of it.

So I will tell you, my dear traveler, a story. Still… not a bedtime story :).

It is said that he was born on a blessed land, Transilvania, in the beautiful city of Sighisoara, in 1431 and later he become the ruler of Valachia.

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His father, Vlad Dracul, was a knight of the Dragon Order, an east- European order that had as main purpose to stop the expand of the Ottoman Empire witch was a threat for all Europe at that time. The flag of the order showed a dragon (for ottomans) and a cross (for the Christianity). Vlad wore this symbol many times and it was also on his seal.

As a child, he was raised an hostage at the Ottoman court while his family was assassinated by the Turks. Probably this is why he raised a great hatred and as a ruler he became so punitive.

The nickname “Tepes”  (Impaler) was given to him due to his way of punishing the enemies, witch was a brutal and painful death. It is said he liked watching these executions and often he would organize feasts before those who died in tortures.

Though, Vlad was a highly respected ruler and great fighter. Despite his sadism he was just, people both feared and adulated him.

Although tourists know Vlad Dracula as a bloodthirsty character, in the Romanian memory he remains the ruler during who’s reign one could drink from the fountain of Targoviste with a golden cup and the cup would not be stolen. In fact historic sources confirm that the golden cup really existed until Vlad’s death.

There are not many information about Vlad’s death. There are some hypotheses… But then…I cannot tell you all the secrets. You must have one more reason to come and visit Romania so here it is.

Dracula really existed. Was he the bloodthirsty vampire that many think? Who knows, maybe if you come to Romania to follow his footsteps you will find out for yourself.

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