A journey into the Realm of Count Dracula

It’s that time of the year — golden leaves are on the trees, a chill is in the air and Halloween has us excited for all spooky things. Time to get your spook on. Trick or treat ?

Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is celebrated on October 31 each year, primarily in regions of the Western world; the traditions and importance of the celebration vary significantly between geographical areas.

It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which comes from the Old Irish for “summer’s end”, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

Straddling the line between fall and winter, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition.

In Romania, the Halloween is celebrated around the myth of “Dracula”.

With its dreadful reputation, Romania ranks as one of Europe’s most charming and untouched regions, charming its visitors with a stunning Gothic architecture, wild forests and friendly people.

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The most successful Halloween Party in Transylvania takes place in SIGHISOARA, the citadel where Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) was born. Now imagine being there, when the clock ticks midnight… on Halloween!

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BRAN CASTLE, built around year 1377 as part of the Transylvanian defense ring, belonged to Dracula’s grand father – Mircea the Old – and was constantly disputed by Vlad Dracula. The castle is a real “must see” !
Don’t miss the best of all Halloween parties at the Mystery Night at Bran Castle. With witches, dancing, music, darkness, crimson wine from the castle and ,of course … the one and only Count Dracula.

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HUNYAD CASTLE, also known as Corvin Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, in the region of Transylvania, Romania. Built by King Charles I of Hungary, the castle was finished sometime around the year 1315. During the mid-14th century, it became the residence of Transylvania’s ruler, Iancu de Hunedoara.

The two main legends of HUNYAD CASTLE are both related to prisoners that may have been located there. The first was Vlad Tepes, better known internationally as Vlad the Impaler and the supposed inspiration for the Count Dracula myth. It is not completely confirmed that Tepes was imprisoned in the castle, but the timing does fit with periods where Tepes was known to be captured, so this story could be quite true. The other legend is of a group of Turkish prisoners that were executed. According to the story, these prisoners were forced to dig a well in the castle to a depth of 30 meters, with the promise of their release once the task was finished. However, the wife of Prince Iancu of Hunedoara changed her mind and executed the men once the well had been dug. In response, an inscription was written on the walls of the well that translates roughly to “you may now have water, but you don’t have a soul.” Other castle attractions, such as a bear pit where prisoners were said to be thrown only add to the mystery of the building.
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POIENARI Fortress, is a ruined castle in Romania, notable for its connection to Vlad the Impaler. The castle is located on a cliff, near a canyon formed on the Argeş River valley, close to the Făgăraş Mountains.

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The legend says that, realizing the potential given by its position on top of a steep cliff, Vlad the Impaler decided to rehabilitate POIENARI fortress. Vlad knew that not all the people in the nearby town of Targoviste were on his side. So he decided to use them in reinforcing the old Castle of Poenari. In the first day of Easter, as the legend says, Vlad and his men attcked the boyars who were celebrating. He impaled the old ones and started to walk with them, in their holiday clothes, on spikes. Frightened, the other boyars swore to obey him. He gathered all the people and commanded that they would start the reinforcement of the Poenari Fortress. The chronicles of that time note that those people worked so hard at the castle that their clothes got torn to pieces. Many of them died of exhaustion.
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Tales about ghosts and supernatural events had been circulating in Romanian folklore for centuries when Irish writer Bram Stoker picked up the thread and spun it into a golden tale that has never been out of print since its first publication in 1897. To research his immortal tale, Stoker immersed himself in the history and legends of Transylvania, which he called a “whirlpool for the imagination.” Count Dracula, a fictional character in the Dracula novel, was inspired by one of the best-known figures of Romanian history, Vlad Dracula, nicknamed Vlad the Impaler, who was the ruler of Walachia at various times from 1456-1462.
The real Vlad wasn’t a vampire, of course (oppss, do you still believe in Santa and fairies?!), but he did enjoy impaling enemies on stakes.
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