The Legend of Dracula,
The Dracula tourist industry is more important to Romania
and Transylvania than historical details, which can be such a
nuisance, especially with vampires.
This welcoming figure stands outside the building, now a
restaurant, in Sighisoara where Vlad Tepes (Vlad the
Impaler) was born in 1431. Vlad Tepes is still a Romanian
national hero for being such a fierce warrior against the
invading Ottoman Turks.
Here is Vlad, who impaled his enemies on stakes, bloodthirsty
beyond any doubt. But Vlad Tepes was both a real person and
no vampire. Whether Vlad was ever called "Dracula" is
disputed, along with the name's meaning. However, the leap
is made to link Bram Stoker's fictional Count Dracula, from
the 1897 novel, directly to Vlad Tepes.
A typical Dracula souvenir offered tourists thus contains the
image of Vlad Tepes on everything imaginable, including
T-shirts and beer mugs. A Castle Dracula Hotel stands in a
suitable, distant location as described in the novel. Castles
are a problem, since the one that belonged to Vlad Tepes is a
ruin. Yet there has to be a Dracula Castle for tourists, and
one has been conveniently provided.
Bran Castle, built in 1382, plays the part of Dracula's Castle,
helped by a claim that Vlad Tepes "might" have stayed there
once. But the castle's interior reflects its more modern use by
Romanian royalty, with no sign of Vlad or Dracula. Below
the castle is a vampire supermarket, including Dracula wine,
Dracula vodka, and even a Balinese witch mask, but no images
of Bela Lugosi as Dracula.
Bela Lugosi was Hungarian, and copyright violations make
him an even worse choice for Dracula in Transylvania.