Unraveling the True Castle Dracula Romania: Legendary Poenari Castle
When the name “Castle Dracula Romania” is mentioned, most travelers envision the picturesque Bran Castle nestled in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. However, the real haunt of the infamous Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration behind Count Dracula, lies hidden among the rugged peaks of the Făgăraș Mountains. In this travel blog post, we venture into the lesser-known but authentic Castle Dracula – Poenari Castle, unraveling its chilling history, dramatic location, and the legend of the historical figure who inspired the world’s most iconic vampire.
Vampires and Such:
Almost all countries and cultures of the world include vampires in their mythology. Romanians however, don’t (unless you count Strigoi )
Ironically enough, Romanians are famous for vampires. There’s no doubt that once you hear the word Dracula, you immediately think of Transylvania and Castle Dracula Romania.
The Dracula myth, whether we like it or not, places Romania on a bloody map of vampirism. Now, with a few different famous movies and tv series of sexy vampires taking over the hearts and minds of young girls all over the world, this may not be such a bad thing for Romania. Do not forget though, that Dracula is based on a true character, (though some even debate this) a Romanian lord from the Middle Ages, namely Vlad The Impaler. He was nicknamed Vlad Dracul (Vlad the Devil) as he was well known for his cruelty towards his Turkish enemies and for the fact he fancied impalement. Hence the other nickname, Vlad the Impaler.
Although Vlad the Impaler was indeed really cruel, he knew what true love was. He was married to Anastasia Holszanska, the Queen of Poland’s niece, but fell madly in love with Katharina Siegel, a beautiful 17 year old blond girl with blue eyes.
Their relationship lasted for 20 years and they had 5 children together. They never got to officially marry, but their connection lasted beyond Vlad the Impaler’s death in 1477.
His beloved went to a monastery till the end of her days, incapable of facing a world without Vlad in it.
Is Castle Dracula Romania Castle Bran?
Good question. Most tourists who come looking for Castle Dracula Romania and the home of the King of Vampires go to Castle Bran, the place where myth, history and magic come together. This is actually the only castle in Transylvania that is similar to the description provided by Bram Stoker, the creator of the myth. But Bram Stoker never visited Romania and when he researched for possible locations for his character he came upon a description of Bran castle available in England at the end of the 19th century.
Historians don’t really know if Vlad The Impaler actually conquered the castle or not. Anyhow, it was never the residence of the Wallachian ruler, though it does seem he stayed there a couple of times. It looks spooky enough to continue to attract the interest of many visitors coming to Romania, but technically, this is not, nor never really was, Castle Dracula Romania.
So where is the real Castle Dracula Romania?
Castle Dracula Romania:
1. The Blood-Stained Legacy of Vlad the Impaler:
Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler, was a 15th-century ruler with a fearsome reputation for his ruthless tactics against enemies. He ruled the region of Wallachia and was infamous for impaling his adversaries as a form of punishment. Vlad’s legacy and his penchant for gruesome executions inspired Bram Stoker’s character, Count Dracula.
2. Poenari Castle: The True Castle Dracula:
Unlike the romantic allure of Bran Castle, Poenari Castle is a stark, imposing fortress located on a sheer cliff, accessible only via a challenging climb of 1,480 steps. This remote and dramatic setting showcases the castle’s strategic significance in Vlad’s rule and reflects the brutal nature of his reign.
3. A Journey of Endurance: The Climb to Poenari Castle:
As we embark on the journey to Poenari Castle, the breathtaking landscapes of the Făgăraș Mountains surround us. The arduous ascent, though demanding, serves as a reminder of the castle’s historical isolation and the enduring strength of its rulers.
4. The Haunting Remains:
Upon reaching the summit, the ruins of Poenari Castle emerge, offering an eerie and evocative experience. The remnants of the fortress evoke a sense of historical intrigue and connect visitors to a bygone era of power struggles and turmoil.
5. The Legendary Tunnel of Poenari:
A fascinating feature of Poenari Castle is the secret tunnel that allowed Vlad and his men to access the castle in times of siege or danger. Venturing through this dark passage is like stepping back in time, imagining the clandestine maneuvers that once occurred within its stone walls.
6. Beyond the Legend:
Poenari Castle goes beyond the fictional tale of Dracula, providing a glimpse into the tumultuous history of the region. It is a stark reminder of the harsh realities of medieval life, where fortresses served as symbols of strength and defense.
7. Poenari Castle Today:
While not as easily accessible as Bran Castle, Poenari remains a pilgrimage site for history enthusiasts and vampire aficionados alike. Its remote location adds to the castle’s mystique and allows visitors to connect with Vlad’s authentic legacy.
8. Embracing Romania’s Dark Past:
Visiting Poenari Castle provides an opportunity to explore Romania’s dark and complex history. It offers a chance to reflect on the multifaceted nature of historical figures like Vlad the Impaler, who left behind both fear and fascination.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Castle Dracula Romania:
1. Is Castle Dracula in Romania a real castle?
Yes, Castle Dracula is a real castle in Romania. However, it is essential to clarify that the castle associated with the Dracula legend is not Bran Castle (often referred to as “Dracula’s Castle”) but rather Poenari Castle.
2. Where is Castle Dracula located in Romania?
Castle Dracula, also known as Poenari Castle, is located in the Carpathian Mountains near the town of Arefu in Arges County, Romania.
3. How do I get to Castle Dracula/Poenari Castle?
To reach Poenari Castle, visitors must take a hike up over 1,400 steps to the top of a rocky cliff. The castle is situated in a remote area, and there is no direct road access to the site.
4. What is the connection between Castle Dracula and Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel?
Castle Dracula, or Poenari Castle, is historically associated with Vlad the Impaler, who served as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s fictional character, Count Dracula. While the novel is set in Transylvania, and Bran Castle has often been linked to the fictional Dracula’s abode, the true connection lies with Vlad the Impaler and Poenari Castle.
5. Can visitors explore Castle Dracula/Poenari Castle from the inside?
Yes, visitors can explore Poenari Castle and walk through its ruins. However, it is important to note that the castle is in a state of partial ruin and requires hiking up a steep trail to reach the site.
6. Are there guided tours available at Castle Dracula/Poenari Castle?
Yes, guided tours are available at Poenari Castle. Local guides share historical insights and tales of Vlad the Impaler, the Dracula legend, and the castle’s significance in Romanian folklore.
7. Can I visit both Bran Castle and Poenari Castle on the same trip?
Yes, it is possible to visit both Bran Castle and Poenari Castle during a trip to Romania. However, they are located in different regions, and traveling between the two may require some planning.
8. Is Castle Dracula/Poenari Castle haunted?
As with many ancient castles, Poenari Castle has a haunting and eerie ambiance. Its historical associations with Vlad the Impaler and its ruinous state add to the mystical atmosphere, making it an intriguing destination for those interested in spooky legends.
9. Are there any nearby attractions to visit along with Castle Dracula/Poenari Castle?
Yes, there are several attractions nearby. Visitors can explore the Transylvanian region and discover other historical sites, charming towns, and stunning landscapes, including Brasov, Rasnov Fortress, and the scenic Carpathian Mountains.
10. When is the best time to visit Castle Dracula/Poenari Castle?
The best time to visit Castle Dracula/Poenari Castle is during the warmer months, typically from late spring to early autumn (May to October), as the weather is more favorable for hiking and exploring the castle’s surroundings.
In this FAQ section, the focus is on clarifying the confusion surrounding Castle Dracula in Romania, emphasizing that Poenari Castle is the true castle historically linked to Vlad the Impaler and the Dracula legend. It addresses common questions about the location, accessibility, guided tours, and other nearby attractions for visitors interested in exploring this fascinating historical site.
Now that you know Bran castle is not the real Castle Dracula but a fake, will you still go there? We hope so, as visiting Bran Castle is an enchanting journey into the heart of Transylvania’s captivating history and folklore. Perched atop a rocky hill near the charming town of Bran, this medieval fortress stands as an architectural marvel with its Gothic elements and turreted towers.
The castle’s true history unfolds as local guides share tales of Romanian royalty and their connection to the region’s past. As visitors step inside, they explore well-preserved rooms and chambers filled with historical artifacts, offering a glimpse into the lives of past inhabitants.
The castle’s scenic terraces afford breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, making Bran Castle a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a blend of historical intrigue and enchanting landscapes in the heart of Transylvania.
Location of Bran Castle: 84 miles north of Bucharest/16 miles southwest of Brasov.
Things to Remember:
Castle Dracula Romania: The Realm of Poenari Castle
As we depart from the towering ruins of Poenari Castle, we are left with a profound sense of awe and introspection. This authentic Castle Dracula, perched high among the rugged mountains, has withstood the test of time and witnessed the dark chapters of history. From the legendary legacy of Vlad the Impaler to the haunting beauty of its surroundings, Poenari Castle captivates the hearts of those who dare to uncover the real story behind the world’s most iconic vampire – Count Dracula.
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Castle Dracula Romania – by David John
Castle Dracula Romania Cover Image Courtesy: ct
Castle Dracula Romania flickr images licensed under CC BY 2.0
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