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Each year when I come back from Romania people ask me, “Did you go to Dracula’s Castle?” Well, this year I did.
I attended a wedding in Columbus, Ohio, in June and there were two young ladies from Romania working there at the reception. When I spoke to them in Romania they were surprised and later admitted that they were afraid that I might have been listening to their conversation that evening. But my Romanian is not all that good. One of the ladies, Manuela, told me that she was from Bran, Romania, and if I would visit there then she would show me around the area. She would be going to Romania the next week, so I took her phone number and e-mail address and we communicated, which is how we met in Bran.
As it turned out, a good Romanian pastor friend, Nelu Glitia and his twin daughters, Rebeca and Debora, took me into that area and showed me around, and we did meet up with Manuela and spent some time with her. From where I first joined this pastor and his daughters the trip back to their home was about 500-600 miles, which took us two full days
The vampire, Dracula, of course is total fiction, but Vlad Dracula was real and he ruled the Transylvania area in the 1400’s. His father was Vlad Drucul (i.e. Vlad the devil) and he named his son Vlad Dracula (i.e. Vlad, son of the devil). Vlad Dracula was also known as Vlad Tepes (i.e. the “Impaler”) because he would execute people by impaling them on a wooden stake. While he was not considered an unfair ruler, he was a feared ruler, and not only by his subjects, but also by his enemies. During his reign he was able to maintain relative security for his people. The history of the area was very tumultuous in his lifetime. Vlad did not live in “Dracula’s Castle”, as he was a native of Sighisoara, a city we visited at the end of our trip; and that is the subject of another photo story. (There is no end to this.)
If you research Vlad Dracula, you will find different variations of the details of his life.
The BRAN CASTLE (i.e. Dracula’s Castle) was the castle described by Bram Stoker when he wrote “Dracula” in 1897 creating "Dracula the Vampire". He probably never saw the castle. Who knows if he took the name from Vlad Dracula or if he chose it because it means “Devil” in Romanian. This Castle is sort of Romania’s answer to Disney World, the more mysterious and exciting they can make it, the more people want to visit it, people like me. The castle was originally built in 1212, but it suffered damage from time to time. A castle is not a "palace". A castle is built primarily for defense; a palace is a "home for royalty"; albeit, royalty did reside there at one time, but Vlad never did.
Headed for Bran, Romania Move over and let us by Watch out for the trains.
Haystacks and plum trees Heading into the mountains Passing by rich gypsy "Castles" on the way
Rich Gypsy house Poor Gypsy house Gypsy village
Gypsy Mansion Orthodox Church New orthodox Church
Inside new Orthodox Church Village and church on the way Finally approaching "Dracula's Castle"
Front of Castle Stairs Roof area
More roof area View from the Castle Upper levels
More rooftops Courtyard Manuela center, twins Becky & Debroa, father Nelu.
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