Did Dracula really exist ?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Working and traveling thru Europe it happened to me to be asked different things about Count Dracula. Sometimes just heard about the movie or saw it, other times they have heard about Transylvania or the vampires.

So here we have the most frequent asked questions about Dracula:

1. By far on the first place there is the question asking if Dracula really existed.

Answer: it depends if we are talking about the warlord that inspired Bram Stoker for its novel, yes it exists. His name was Vlad III Dracula and he lived in the XV-th century in Transylvania and Wallachia.

If we are thinking about a supposed vampire as he appears in the novel, no, there has been no vampire with this name, at least as far as I know.

2. Are there vampires in Transylvania? (yes, I have been asked even that)

Answer: No, there are no vampires, neither ghosts there.

3. Few days ago (February 2007) I have been asked if is true there are a lot of castles in Transylvania.
Answer (exactly the answer I gave to my colleague in Milan): Yes, absolutely. In order to explain a little I have to talk briefly about the history of Transylvania. As you probably know it has been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for centuries. In the 13th century the emperor brought the Saxon population at the south-eastern border and gave them some lands in order to defend the empire. As the middle age in Transylvania was all but not a calm period, they had to build fortifications in order to defend themselves. The most of the Castles date from the 13th – 14th and 15th century. Bran Castle as well as Râsnov are such examples of middle-age castles.

4. This is from two nice Americans I guided through Romania two years in a row: we were really in Sighisoara when they asked me how is Vlad seen in Romania: as a bloody criminal or as a hero.