Immortal Monday: The Castle of Vlad Dracula “The Impaler”

Beautiful scene on the right, isn’t it? Age old castle set on a wintery hilltop. Perfect for an immortal story on Immortal Monday, wouldn’t you agree? What you are looking at is actually Bran Castle in Transylvania. It sits over the beautiful countryside of Romania. It’s a mighty grand, historic place built in 1212 by the Teutonic Order.

Towards the end of the 13th century it would change hands, falling under Saxon rule. There are stories of many underground tunnels hidden beneath the castle, some of which were found in 1920. For what purpose they were used, one cannot say precisely. But there is a lever mechanism hidden off the fountain in the courtyard, now well protected, that is believed to have run an old elevator now stopped in the shaft running from the fountain.  Curious investigation turned up an old tunnel entrance (or exit) in the village below that was a sad let down. It ran back into the side of the mountain, where it ended with nothing to see. The elevator shaft appeared to be here, but the elevator is not at the lowest level. It’s possible there is another level somewhere between the castle courtyard and the tunnel below where it has been stopped. It’s said the elevator design was added during the time of Queen Marie.

But do not be fooled! Many wander to this historical site thinking it is Dracula’s Castle, the original home of Vlad III Dracula (called Tepes pronounced tse-pesh) – the last prince of Wallachia – The Impaler. They are mistaken.  Today, the actual Castle Dracula sits in ruins on the cliffs near the Arges River and is called Poenari Castle.  It is considered one of the most haunted places in the world.

Located in Central Romania in the Vallachia Region, this functioned as Vlad Tepes residential castle or home. It sits at the top of a very steep hill, making it virtually impossible to defeat in battle. Attackers had to practically crawl on their faces to get up the hill. Imagine trying to do that against arrow fire.  It’s no surprise the castle never lost a war.  Especially with a ruthless ruler like Dracula in charge. 1500 steps up the hill had to be climbed to carry in supplies. Can you imagine?

1500 step climb to the castle

Lines where the stones change dictate years in the building

Inner crumbling walls

Poenari Castle ruins as seen from a distance

Painting of how it would have looked in its prime

Poenari Castle was first erected at the beginning of the 13th century by the first Romanian rulers. By the 14th century it had become the main citadel. Over the next few decades, the name and residents would change until it would eventually be abandoned and left to ruin. But in the 15th Century Vlad III Dracula saw the great defense potential in the site’s location, it being perched up on such a steep precipice of rock, that he had the site repaired and made it his home. It would remain his castle until his death, only again to fall into ruin.

Vlad Tepes was ruthless and harsh. He made a name for himself and inspired Bram Stroker’s immortal creature, Count Dracula. His story is one of true fascination. It’s possible he was a product of his situation and the events that happened to him. Most of the written information available on him is primarily from German pamphlets, due to the newly invented printing press and Vlad’s tendency to raid and destroy German villages.  He was often depicted sitting on a grassy knoll eating his dinner while surrounded by a forest of impaled bodies. It was this behavior that made him and Castle Dracula so famous.

Vlad died in battle having reached the ripe age of fifty. He left behind a legacy of death of blood. To some he was cruel, to others a fierce and strong defender.

Practically every month, like clockwork I get an email for a Dracula Tour. I don’t recall how I found them or if they found me, but I’m on their radar now. It’s pretty cheesy. Yet – I relish the idea of heading out to Romania and touring the castles.  They actually have the wrong castle marked as Dracula’s Castle on their site. Should I tell them? *Laughs* I  believe they are actually going off the vampire novel and not historical facts. So they may have everything marked just the way they want it.

Anyone want to plan a cheesy (expensive) field trip? Or hunt some ghosts? Mwwahahaha.

Now, because I have to go there…

What did you think when reports came out saying researchers had linked relations between Pattinson and Dracula? Apparently this link comes from his distant tie to the royal family. He is a distant cousin of Prince William and Prince Harry, who are both said to be distant nephews of Vlad. Did this information validate his role as Edward the vampire in your mind in any way?

Vlad "The Impaler"

Sparkly Edward

Count Dracula

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 While you are here, I invite you to check out other Immortal Mondays if you haven’t already.

Still interested in more Dracula? Count, that is. Check these great posts out:

Please know that I always appreciate your time and love it when you stop by plus take the time to comment. Huge thanks! If you enjoyed this post or any of my previous posts, I’d be delighted to have you follow by email or RSS for any future posts! Wouldn’t want you to miss out on an Immortal Monday installments.

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About Debra Kristi

Debra Kristi is a mother, an author, a Pinterest addict, and sometimes DIY home decorator. Hang with her to organize your everyday and leave your mind open to the fantastical.
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32 Responses to Immortal Monday: The Castle of Vlad Dracula “The Impaler”

  1. Well, now I think I know when…and where…agoraphobia originated. Who wouldn’t be afraid to leave that castle…knowing they’d have to climb those stairs to come back home? 🙂

    As always I learn the most interesting stuff on Immortal Monday’s. Not sure how I missed hearing Pattinson’s tie to Dracula. Especially since my daughter keeps up on everything Twilight. Looks like they kept in in the family, hmm?

    It doesn’t matter though. Neither one of them are Damon so… 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      LOL Well, they probably had really strong leg muscles. 😀

      Pattinson’s tie makes sense if he is related to the royal family. After all, traditionally royals kept marrying other royals thereby keeping it all in the family. See what I mean? They would have to branch out amongst the other countries or there would start to be “problems” in the bloodline. But you’re right, neither are Damon, or Ian. 😉

  2. Your Immortal Mondays are always so interesting! For me, Dracula has always been an intriguing character, probably because he was based off a real person.
    I would LOVE to visit the castles (and do a little ghost hunting!) one day too. They have so much history and so many stories that took place within their walls. Sigh, if only those walls could talk…
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      I really want to go there. I love old castles, and the history is just fascinating! Somehow it keeps getting slotting behind Hawaii (which we’ve done several times already.:() Vlad III Dracula (Tepes) was/is a very intriguing character. Oh, to get inside his mind.

  3. Fascinating post, Debra. I’ve added this castle to my bucket list – it would be amazing to see. and I totally understand the amount of research and effort went into this post. take care of you

  4. Emma Burcart says:

    I don’t know why, but I have always been fascinated with the story of Dracula. Maybe it’s about cool history, because the whole Twilight thing doesn’t really interest me. I loved Gary Oldman as Dracula! But Edward? Mmmm. Not so much. I loved the werewolves in Twilight, though, until the latest movie. Now I think of it like The Little Mermaid or another Disney movie. But this real history stuff you’ve got going on. Awesome!!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Gary Oldman made a cool vampire. Although, not a lot of cool pictures of him as one on the internet. 😦 And I don’t think you can compare Twilight to Dracula because they aren’t on the same playing field. Twilight is all about the relationship and love story. Dracula is more than that. Edward made the poll simply because of the blood relation aspect. It was just a fun twist. But not one to be taken seriously. 🙂

  5. Great post, Debra! Fascinating as always. Btw, attacking that castle would certainly have been a nightmare, but how’d you like to build it? I think I’d rather take my chances trying to storm it than carry all that stuff up there.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      I thought about the building aspect since the stone change is so evident. Obviously it took a very long time carrying all the supplies up that steep sloop. I’m sure they rigged some sort of pulley system, but still. What an ordeal. What a feat. It boggles my mind every time I read about an abandon castle. I always wonder, why? Why would they just walk away?

  6. Melinda VanLone says:

    I had no idea of any of this. Other than Dracula was based on a real person, that is. Not sure I’d want to climb those steps just to see the castle either. Fascinating to see the pics!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Oh, come on Melinda. Climbing all those stairs would be good exercise. 🙂 I jest. I suspect that there is now a paved road up to the ruin for tourist to drive up there. Glad I could arm you with some new information for your well of inspiration.

  7. Wonderful post, Debra. I have always loved old castles and really enjoyed the pics. Without doubt, Vlad was not a man to mess with. Storm his castle, hell no. Cut off his supply lines and starve the bugger out, that would be my plan. tee hee I can be a savage too.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      You’re a smart woman Prudence. That is the way to think. That was probably the best way to get at the man. He’d probably come out fighting, but then the fight would be on your terms and not his. I like it.

  8. Love the fascinating history! About the castle, I had the same idea as Prudence: that castle might be hard to breach, but what a nightmare getting supplies in!

  9. When I was a kid I remember being fascinated by all things Dracula, Transylvania,etc. I remember pretending I could time travel just so I could check it all out. 🙂
    Oh and castles, love those too!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Time travel would be AWESOME! As long as we could do it Dr. Who style. Just kidding. Any style works for me. 😉

      The castles, villages, stone bridges – love it all!

  10. Emma says:

    Very cool post; I love reading about the origins of the Dracula legend. To get some idea of how ruthless and violent Vlad was, check out this film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvG_YiEzyYs Dracula is played by the same actor who played Dracula in Buffy!!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Thank you for the video Emma. It’s a nice compliment to this post. It covers stuff I read about but chose not to include for the sake of post size. I recognized the actor immediately!

  11. I will totally go on that trip with you. Vlad intrigues me to no end. I had no idea there was an elevator in the castle! How cool is that. So, they have the wrong castle? I think you should definitely tell them.

    What I really want to know is, how do William and Harry feel about their cousin Robert? 😉

    • Debra Kristi says:

      We would have so much fun on that trip together Tameri! Just let me sell a few million books so I can afford to go. 😉

      As for William and Harry, I think we can make a pretty good guess.

  12. Debra Eve says:

    Thanks for the shout out, Debra! I’m completely intrigued by the whole Vlad/Dracula tale, historical, fantastical and otherwise. I don’t think this new breed of angsty, sparkly vampires can hold a candle to Vlad or Dracula!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      You are most welcome, Debra. It was my pleasure. I agree with you, the new age can’t compete. But I will give them this, they got a boat load of girls reading that weren’t reading before. So sparkly or not, they have done good for writers and books.

  13. Very nice compilation of information! I had no idea Robert was distantly related to royalty. No, it doesn’t make me swoon. 😛

    My favorite Vlad depiction in books so far is Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. And, Vlad is getting his own series soon! Once Burned comes out…well, some time this year.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      No swooning? He he. I think that’s left for the younger crowd (mostly). 😉 I know a lot of 13 and 14 year olds that have his poster on their wall.

      I haven’t read anything from the Night Huntress series. I’ll have to check that out. My TBR keeps growing, and growing, and growing…

  14. Another fun, informative post, Debra! Hubby and I went to a Dracula play in Hollywood a couple of years ago… It’s amazing how much fun, fear and entertainment can stem from one character. From movies and books to chocolatey cereal… 😉

    • Debra Kristi says:

      My kids beg me for the Count’s cereal every time we’re at the market, but I don’t buy sugar cereals. You’d think they’d learn by now. A play! How fun! I used to do that sort of stuff all the time – a long time ago. It is amazing sometimes, when you think about, how much one character can grab up so much more attention over another.

  15. Just discovered your blog. This was a fun and interesting post, an I loved the pics! I’ll be following from now on.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      So glad you liked it, Laura! I like to cover a wide range of topics on Immortal Monday. Hope you enjoy! Thank you so much for stopping in and for the follow!

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