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Legend and History

Vlad The Impaler

Vlad the Impaler, better known as the source for Bram Stoker's late 19th century bodice-ripper, Dracula, was however a real ruling prince of Wallachia, who lived in the 15th century. His rule began in 1448, then continued between 1456 and 1462 and ended in 1476, when he was killed. He fought the Ottomans during his brief rule and managed to stop Mehmet II's attempt at conquering Wallachia.

Later, he had some disagreements with Saxon merchants he had asked to pay taxes. After his quarrels with the Saxons, they schemed and faked Vlad's letters, which caused him to be arrested by his own relative and ally, Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary.
After spending some 14 years in Hungarian prisons, he was released and ruled for a brief period before being killed in a fight.

Among Romanians, he is best remembered for having been a righteous prince and of strict character. Romanian legends say that he used to punish all wrong-doers and even dignitaries by impaling them on a stake. This caused him to be later called the Impaler. Inspired by tales of his cruelty, some Transylvanian authors wrote stories about his alleged habits of drinking blood and rejoicing over his victims' torments. Bram Stoker drew liberally on all these tales to write his now famous book.

While travelling in Vlad the Impaler's footsteps, we shall concentrate on the actions and life of the real Vlad, the ruling prince. A complete itinerary should take in the Princely Courts at Targoviste and Bucharest, the fortress grandees built under threat in Poienari, as well as Sighisoara, where he was born and Snagov Monastery where he is allegedly buried. Other places, such as Bistrita or Borgo Pass have by now become symbols of the vampire Count, but the best-known of all is, no doubt, Bran Castle in southern Transylvania.

We will explore all of the above during several sightseeing tours of Bucharest and tours of Romania, but we may also design a special 'all Dracula' tour for those with a real passion for the legend. All you have to do is let us know what you are interested in. The rest is up to us.

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