What is Dracula's real name

Bram Stoker from Dublin (1847-1912), who has never been to Romania himself, gave his novel, published in 1897, the name of the famous ruler. But who was Dracula really? Here I have tried to collect as comprehensively as possible all information I know about the historical Prince Dracula from books and the Internet.

Bram Stoker

The page is divided into the following sections:

~ Dracul, Dracula, Dracula, Draculea, Tepes, Zepes, Tzepes - what was his real name? ~

~ The Order of Dragons (Dracula's name origin) ~

~ What did the real Dracula look like? Part 1 ~

~ The life story of the real Dracula ~

~ Dracula's tomb ~

~ Anecdotes about Dracula (folk tales) ~

~ The Dracula's Castle ~

~ Dracula's descendant ~

~ Dracula - Errors and Geographical Errors ~

~ What did the real Dracula look like? Part 2 (dated paintings with descriptions) ~

~ Dracul, Dracula, Dracula, Draculea, Tepes, Zepes, Tzepes ~
What was his real name?

Like his father, he was called Vlad Dracul and was called Draculea - which means something like "son of Dracul" with this appendix. The word "Dracul" is derived from Latin and shows the affiliation of Draculea's father as a knight of the Dragon Order (see below). Later in Romanian, "Drac" also means "devil". This is how the term "son of the dragon" or "son of the devil" often used for Draculea follows. The name Dracula is just the short form of Draculea, the spelling Dracula is incorrect.

Vlad was nicknamed Tepes (from the Romanian teapa = stake) by the people, based on Vlad’s ability to impale people on stakes. The sometimes used (incorrect) spelling Zepes or Tzepes is based on the pronunciation ("Tzepesch") of the epithet Tepes. In Romania it is still used more often than Draculea, for example.

In some TV documentaries his name "Tepesch" is pronounced, but this is not correct. Due to the fact that his father's name is identical, there are occasional mix-ups and misunderstandings in reports and historical presentations.

In a few sources it can be read that his real name was "Vladislav Basarab".
It is true that Draculea's descent goes back to the Wallachian prince Basarab the Great (1310-1352), but Draculea himself never used the name Basarab (as can be seen in old documents that are copied in Tirgoviste / Romania). Therefore, it is more likely that Draculea was given names such as "coming from the line of Basarab" or "belonging to the line of Basarab", but that he did not have Basarab as a real name.


~ The Dragon Order ~

"Dracul" was the title of a knight in the Dragon Order. The sign of this order was a hunched, self-biting dragon (uroborus).

The first class of this "ordo draconis" (also called "societas draconia" or "ordo draconia") included Vlad Tepes' father and Oswald von Wolkenstein (1377-1445, one of the most important poets and composers of the Middle Ages). The order of knights was founded in 1418 by Emperor Sigismund II of Luxembourg to fight the Ottomans and the "secretly angry Christians" (especially the Hussites), (1368-1437. Margrave of Brandenburg 1378-1388, Hungarian King from 1387, German King from 1410, Bohemian King from 1436, Emperor from 1433).
The motto of the order was: "O how merciful is God, how just and pious". An irony when you consider that the most famous of all bloodsuckers and vampires, Dracula, indirectly owes its name to this order.


~ What did the real Dracula look like? ~

"He wasn't very tall, but stocky and muscular. His demeanor was cold and frightening. He had an aquiline nose, flared nostrils, a reddish, lean face in which the very long eyelashes shaded large, wide-open, green eyes; black bushy brows gave them a threatening expression. He wore a mustache. Broad temples made his head appear even more massive. A bull's neck connected his head, from which hung black curly locks, with his broad-shouldered body. "
This is how Nikolaus Modrussa (legate of the Pope at the Hungarian court), who knew Vlad well, described him.

These pictures hang in the Turnul Chindiei (evening tower) in Tirgoviste (Wallachia / Romania)


~ The life story of the real Dracula ~

Vlad Dracul III was born in 1430/31 as the second son of Vlad II Dracul in all probability in Sighisoara (in German "Schäßburg"). At least there is evidence that he spent part of his early childhood there. In a brochure from the Romanian Tourist Office from the 1990s, the date of birth is given as "on an icy morning of February 8th, 1431"; this date is absolutely not historically proven, although at least the year 1431 is considered very likely. He was raised mainly by his mother, a Transylvanian nobleman (Princess Cneajna). He had three brothers: Mircea (? - 1447), Radu III, the beautiful (1438 / 39-1500) and Vlad Mircea, the monk (? -1496). An elderly count, a friend of the family, instructed him in the arts of war.

Draculea's (supposed!) Birthplace in Sighisoara
(see under "Errors and geographical errors")

In his youth, probably even in his first battle ever, Draculea and his younger brother Radu were captured by the Turks and spent several years as a hostage at the court of Sultan Mehemets II in Istanbul. Almost nothing is known about this time, but one can be sure that the years of imprisonment must have had a profound effect on the young Draculea. At the Turkish court he must have learned a few lessons in human contempt and vain arrogance, which historians ascribe to him as the main features of his person. Surviving there was extremely difficult and unsafe for a hostage. Sultan Mehmet meanwhile tried to convert Radu and Draculea to the Islamic faith and to make them allies with whose help he could rule Wallachia. He had quickly convinced Radu; Draculea, on the other hand, was more stubborn, but eventually gave in too.

For Mehemet, of course, the two sons of a local prince were valuable hostages. Hearing of the capture of his sons, Vlad's father, Dracul II, had tried several times, unsuccessfully, to negotiate their release. He was finally betrayed by Hungary's King Hunyadi, who had him and his eldest son Mircea murdered by hired killers (Draculea's father was murdered in the swamps of Balteni in December 1447. Draculea's older brother Mircea was met with red-hot iron rods by his political enemies in Tirgoviste blinded and buried alive. Both murders and the gruesome circumstances in which his brother died left a deep mark on Dracula, who had become prince through them.).

Vlad Tepes' captivity as a hostage at the court of Sultan Mehemets II in Istanbul lasted until 1448, Radu stayed longer and became an ally of the Sultan.

At the beginning of 1448, after the death of his father, Draculea was installed with the approval of the Turks in the rank of pretender in the principality of Wallachia. The Sultan Murad II assured him support in asserting his inheritance claims. The Turks had just inflicted a severe defeat on the Hungarians and their allied soldiers, including military from Wallachia under the command of Vladislav II. Vlad saw the time had come to take up his inheritance and moved into the city of Tirgoviste, patronized by the Turks. However, since he did not succeed in building a stable power base, it was easy for Vladislav II on his return to chase Draculea out of the city. The end of his first, short reign had come. He spent the next eight years in exile, traveling across Europe. Since the Turks saw in Vladislav II a submissive regent who paid sufficient tribute, they no longer had any political use for Draculea. When Murad II died, his 19 year old son Mehmet II became Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1451. It is not known historically where Draculea was at this time. As early as 1453, Mehmet II achieved a great triumph when, after a two-month siege, he captured the city of Constantinople, which was occupied by western troops, and renamed it Istanbul.

When the Turks suffered severe defeats in Romania, Draculea saw his chance to take on his inheritance again. He raised Transylvanian contingents and invaded Wallachia with them. Vladislav II lost the decisive battle and was executed. The 25 year old Draculea climbed as Vlad III. the throne in Tirgoviste. Through his travels in exile, he had gained a solid education in the areas of war strategy and power politics. In order to expand his power further, he made himself a vassal of the Turks. But resistance against him soon arose in his own country. The Transylvanian Saxons, who once helped him defeat Vladislav, turned against him. Thereupon Draculea and his troops invaded the cities of his opponents, burning and murdering. Those who did not perish in the flames were impaled on stakes along the way. This was probably the hour of birth of his nickname "Tepes". Vlad III also committed other atrocities. Draculea in their own land. Once the prince invited his boyars (large farmers) to a festival at his castle. After the feast, the prince asked his boyars how many princes they had served with. Some could name up to thirty. He went on to ask why some ruled for so short a time. Tepes immediately gave the answer himself: The greedy boyars only wanted princes who only appealed to them. The big farmers were shocked at this accusation and dead silence ensued. Then the prince's bodyguard began to round up the guests. The boyars and their wives were impaled and their descendants were sentenced to forced labor. In addition, the land of the large farmers was confiscated. He also had another section of the population that was a thorn in his side invited to a feast. After they had had a good meal, the prince asked them if he should rid them of all their worries. When they said yes, he had the doors bolted and the whole room burned down. Nobody survived. The inhuman logic of a cruel ruler - Abolish poverty by abolishing the poor.

Dracula statues in Sighisoara (left) and Tirgoviste (right)

With the support of Johann Hunyadi, the same man who years earlier had betrayed Draculea's father and brother and sent them to their death, he fought against the common enemy, the Sultan. After driving his brother Radu out of Wallachia, he climbed as Vlad III in 1456. again the Wallachian princely throne. Draculea had been willing to put Hunyadi's offense to the past in order to fight against the common enemy, the Sultan, and finally to become the rightful prince of Wallachia.

Soon after taking power, Draculea wanted to clarify the exact circumstances of the murder of his brother Mircea, about which he had only heard rumors. To do this, he had Mircea's unnamed grave opened in the Tirgoviste public cemetery. When the lid of the coffin was removed, he found that his brother was lying face down and with his body twisted, as if he had been struggling for breath until shortly before his death. The gruesome discovery seemed to confirm the rumor that he had been buried alive. Draculea vented his bitterness in an outburst not inferior to Ivan the Terrible. But Draculea, despite all the madness, always remained calculating, and planned an appropriate revenge for the crime committed against his brother by executing numerous boyars.

Vlad Tepes gained his famous reputation as a merciless fighter against the Turks from 1460 onwards. Sultan Mehmet II had doubts about the loyalty of the power-hungry vassal and sent an embassy to the Wallachian court. When the Turkish group with their splendid turbans appeared before the prince, he asked them why they did not pull the turbans in front of him. They replied that it was the custom in their country to hold the turban in front of a sultan. The Wallachian prince replied that he would confirm their custom. He had the Turks seized and nailed the turbans to their heads. Vlad Tepes Draculea probably knew exactly what this act could mean for his further political fate. Soon afterwards the sultan's secretary appeared at the Wallachian court, who offered Tepes the sultan's forgiveness, on condition that he would pay 10,000 ducats and four hundred boys in tribute to him. Vlad Tepes declined this offer as humiliating and insulting. The secretary then asked him to at least accompany him to the border. Vlad Tepes saw through this ruse, but he agreed. His loyal soldiers followed him. An ambush attack by the Turkish troops then failed. After the Turks were overwhelmed, the prince ordered the arms and legs of all Turks to be cut off and then to be staked. A forest of the staked was created. The screams, pain and suffering of the tortured and staked must have been unimaginable, as they slowly and painfully died impaled next to each other along the roadside. One has to imagine what piling means; Stephanus Gerlach, a contemporary of Vlad, describes this torture in his Turkish diary:

"... the skewers from Holtz with Unschlitt or Talk ... one ties such evildoers Sailer to the feet, pushes the skewer into their back body ... But first the delinquent kneels down with his head pressed into the dust pulled thighs crossed; ... and the web sufficiently greased, the stake, but not sharpened, but blunted, ... pushes the organs aside, and is inserted fifty to sixty centimeters into the rectum, then erected vertically with the delinquent the body with its weight pushes man or woman down, and slowly the stake penetrates through the body, looking for the deadly path. "

Sultan Mehmet II then had a fit of rage and made preparations for an invasion of Wallachia. Vlad Tepes, meanwhile, relied on the element of surprise and attacked the Turks on the southern bank of the Danube on a broad front. Almost everywhere he and his troops succeeded in taking the Turks by surprise. They advanced far into Bulgarian territory and, with the scorched earth tactics, left a wide trail of destruction and devastation that was intended to hinder the Turkish counterattack.

Mehmet II had meanwhile set up an army with 100,000 men, which was to subdue Wallachia. However, when the Turkish soldiers pushed into the country, they found only deserted areas and burned villages. Draculea had instructed the population to go underground in the thick oak forests of the Danube Plain, drive the cattle with them, burn the houses and poison all the wells. The Turkish troops found neither water nor food. In one night Tepes gathered 7,000 men, at the head of which he invaded the main Turkish camp. The losses of the troops caught by surprise were high. In addition, his soldiers kept ambushing the advancing Turkish troops and ambushing them. It was mainly his successful guerrilla war that established the fame of Vlad Draculea, known as Tepes. In Romania, Tepes is still considered a popular hero (albeit a cruel) by some even today.

After about 8 years, towards the end of his rule, tensions arose with Hungary, which the Turks took advantage of under their new Sultan Suleiman II and invaded Wallachia. Draculea recognized their superiority and tried to penetrate the Sultan's camp by a surprise attack with a small unit and kill him. It was supposed to demoralize the sultan's men. This failed, however, and the sultan was only slightly injured. Draculea and his men escaped without any loss. Draculea was now planning his escape. His first wife, who did not believe in the success of an escape, then, according to the (unproven) legend, threw herself from the cliffs into the river Arges, which from now on was also called "River of the Princess" or "River of Tears". Another tragedy for Vlad occurred while escaping on horseback himself. Pursued by the sultan's men, one of Draculea's companions dropped his son, whom he was holding in his arms. The pursuers were too close on their heels and so he had to be left behind. Draculea had lost his family and home in a short time. The Turks who then arrived in Tirgoviste were greeted by the heads of their spies on stakes and the burning city of Tirgoviste. But that didn't stop them from plundering the city anyway. After a few days black smallpox broke out among the Turkish soldiers and they were forced to leave Tirgoviste and Wallachia again.

In 1462 Draculea sought protection from the Hungarian King Matthias Hunyadi, called Corvinius, who had ascended the Hungarian throne after Johann Hunyadi's death. He thought he was a spy for the Turks and first threw him into dungeon. (Many boyars and also the Saxon cities of Transylvania, who had survived the many atrocities of Tepes against their own people, were looking for revenge against Draculea and therefore lodged a complaint with the Hungarian king about him. Letters from Tepes also appeared in which he formed an alliance with the Ottoman Empire. These letters later turned out to be forgeries. Nevertheless, they served their purpose: Vlad Tepes was captured by the Hungarian king in 1462 for treason.). During this time he was noticed by Corvinius' sister Ilona and with their help he was taken out of the dungeon. He was partially pardoned and married Ilona, ​​who bore him a second son. Partially pardoned meant that he was not allowed to leave the city, but could move freely within its walls and could lead a comfortable life in a large house. It is said that even during his imprisonment (including in Budapest / Hungary, at the Corvin Castle in Hunedoara / today Romania and at Visegrad Castle / Hungary) he could not let go of his cruel machinations. Instead of people he caught birds and beheaded them, tarred and feathered them or staked them on tiny pikes.

The condition of the marriage to Corvinius sister Ilona was Draculea's conversion to Catholicism and a renewed claim to the Wallachian throne (regardless of his previous deeds) - or to die as a hostage. Draculea then turned from his belief, there was no other choice on the occasion of this ultimatum. And the deal was tempting. For Draculea, the throne of Wallachia was certainly worth a Catholic mass.

Meanwhile, tensions between the Ottoman Empire and Christian Europe grew. At this time (1475) Draculea and his legendary battles against the Turks were remembered. When Sultan Mehmet II sent envoys to Hungary to negotiate a peace treaty, the Hungarian general Matthias Corvinius introduced the Turk Vlad Tepes, who in Turkey was only called the "Pfahlwojwode" (Wojwode = warlord or prince). The war was on. Vlad Tepes entered Bosnia at the head of Hungarian troops and took the Turkish occupiers of the city of Srebrenica by surprise. According to reports, Tepes raged cruelly against the Turkish prisoners with his own hand. He is said to have mutilated them, skin them alive and impaled them on stakes.

In 1476 Tepes was again proclaimed Prince of Wallachia. In the meantime, however, the Turkish military commanders had also understood the military tactics and the surprise attacks. On New Year's Eve of 1476/77 a strong Turkish contingent invaded Wallachia and completely taken the Wallachian military by surprise. Here Draculea also found his death.


~ Dracula's tomb ~

There are various reports of the death of the "impal". Some say he fell in the shaft fighting bravely; According to other reports, he was killed in an assassination attempt in which he was stabbed from behind with a sword or beheaded. All that is documented is that his head was preserved in honey and presented to Sultan Mehmet II, who then had it on public display.

The remains of Draculea were allegedly buried in the Snagov Monastery (on an island in Lake Snagov, a few kilometers north of Bucharest). The tomb was opened in 1931, around 450 years after Draculea's death, but it was empty.
On the one hand, it is said that Dracula's body was not buried in, but next to, this grave site to protect it from grave robbers (an investigation requested later was not permitted). According to other reports, Draculea's remains were buried in a secret location not far from the monastery. And yet other stories say that one could look in vain for Dracula's bones on the monastery island of Snagov.

For some, Draculea's empty grave is an indication that Vlad is indeed a revenant.

Incidentally, there were also reports in different versions that a skeleton had been found in Snagov's grave - and that With Head. A modification of this reported a skeleton (also with a head) in an alleged Dracula grave elsewhere. However, both were just false reports.

Snagov Monastery and Draculea's Tomb inside the monastery


~ Anecdotes about Dracula (folk tales) ~

Throughout the country, Draculea was known to expect and appreciate honesty and order. Thieves very rarely dared to carry out their trade in his country - they all knew the stake would be waiting when caught. Draculea was so convinced of his respect for him and his laws that he put a gold goblet down on Market Street. The cup was never stolen during Draculea's lifetime. One day a woman came by and noticed that the mug was gone. She started crying because she knew the prince was dead.

One day a traveling salesman came to Tirgoviste from a foreign country. Knowing that the people of Draculean land are very honest and do not dare to steal anything, he left his car with some valuables unguarded in the courtyard of the inn where he had stopped. When he returned that morning, he noticed that 160 gold ducats were missing. The traveling salesman went to the prince and told him of his loss. Draculea invited him to spend the night in his castle. He will see to it that the thief is found and punished. Draculea then issued a notice - either the thief and the money will be found by dawn or the whole village will go up in flames. During the night he ordered that 160 ducats plus one extra should be taken of his own fortune and placed on the merchant's wagon. The dealer who came back to his car the next morning saw the money and counted it. At the same time he noticed the one ducat too many. The dealer went to Draculea and told him that his money was indeed back and that there was even an extra ducat.
In the meantime the thief had been caught and handed over to Draculea's guards with the stolen money. Draculea ordered it to be impaled and informed the traveling salesman that he, too, would have been impaled if he hadn't told them about the extra ducat.

There are several versions of this narrative. In some, the two monks are from a Catholic monastery in Wallachia or wandering Catholic monks from another country. In both cases the monks would be seen as representatives of another power. In other versions of the story, they were monks from a Roman Orthodox fraternity ("the ancient church of Wallachia"). How one can interpret Draculea's reaction depends considerably on these facts.
But in all the stories, 2 monks visit Draculea in his palace in Tirgoviste. Curious about their reactions, Draculea showed them rows of stakes. When asked about their opinions on the impalations, one of the monks said, "You were obliged by God to judge evil people". The other monk had the courage to contradict the prince and say it was wrong. In the version that was mainly in circulation in Germany, Draculea then staked the monk who had spoken the truth and richly rewarded the other. In the Russian and Romanian traditions, on the other hand, the honest monk was rewarded and the dishonest monk was impaled for his lie.

Benedict de Boithor, a Polish nobleman in the service of the Hungarian king, visited Draculea in Tirgoviste in September 1458. During a dinner, Draculea ordered a golden stake to be brought and placed in a clearly visible position for de Boithor. He then asked his guest what he thought about what would happen to that stake. Boithor replied that he could imagine that a nobleman had insulted the prince and that Draculea was now demanding the just punishment for it. Draculea replied that he had actually set the stake for a certain Polish nobleman. To which the Pole replied that if he had done anything that offended the prince, he should judge at his own discretion. He went on to say that then the prince could not be held responsible for his death, only he himself, because he had offended the prince. Draculea was very pleased with such an answer, showered the man with gifts and explained that if he had answered anything else, he would have been impaled on the spot.

Again there are at least 2 versions of. As with the story with the monks, there is a version that was used in Germany and condemns Draculea's actions, and an Eastern European version that depicts Draculea in a better light. Foreign ambassadors visit Tirgoviste in both versions. When they are granted an audience with the prince, they refuse to take off their turban. Angry about this insult, Draculea had their hats nailed on their heads so that they would never have to take them off again.

In the German version, these ambassadors were Florentines and refused to take off their hats to show their independence. When Draculea asked them why they did not want to take off the hats, they replied that this was not their custom and that they would not take off their hats even for the holy Roman emperor. Draculea immediately had their hats nailed to their heads with three nails each so that they would never have to get off their heads and chased the ambassadors out of his palace.
In Germany and in the West, where there was something like diplomatic immunity, at least orally, this was seen as a barbaric act against a friendly power.

In the version that was common in the East, there were 2 Turkish ambassadors. They too were not prepared to take off their turban when the prince received them. When asked why they would refuse, they replied that it was not a tradition from their fathers tradition. Draculea again ordered their turbans to be nailed onto their heads so that they would never have to break such a glorious tradition. The ambassadors were then sent back to the Sultan. In Eastern Europe, Draculea's actions were viewed as rebellious behavior against the unloved Ottoman Sultan and therefore appreciated.

It should be noted that if one did not take off one's hat in front of a monarch, nailing the hats on to one's head was not uncommon. This method was often used, for example, by the Princess of Moscow when she was once again haunted by unfriendly ambassadors.

Draculea had a lover who lived in a house in a back alley in Tirgoviste. This woman loved the prince and always tried to please him. Draculea, however, was very moody and depressed and the woman did almost everything to cheer him up. When Draculea was a bit depressed again, she got the idea of ​​lying to him to cheer him up. She told him she was pregnant. Draculea warned her not to lie, but she insisted; knowing how Draculea reacted to dishonesty. Draculea had the woman examined by his doctors, who then told him that it was all a lie. Then he took his knife, cut the woman from breast to stomach and explained to those present that he wanted to show where he came from. When this was done, he blew the woman to death in great pain.

On a ride through his realm, Draculea noticed a man who worked in his field and was wearing a caftan that was far too short. The prince stopped and asked the man whether he had a wife or not. When he said he had a wife, Draculea had her bring her and asked what she would spend her days with. The poor, scared woman replied that she would spend her days washing, sewing, and baking. Draculea pointed to her husband's short caftan and sentenced her to impal because she was a lazy woman. Despite her husband's violent protests, she was impaled. Another woman was forced to marry the farmer. She was threatened that if she didn't work hard, she would suffer the same fate as her predecessor.

On St. Bartholomew's Day in 1459, Draculea had 30,000 people of all classes from Brasov stake. In order to enjoy the spectacle as much as possible, Draculea had a table set up in the forest of the Poles, at which he and his guests, all of them noble people, can dine solemnly. During the meal, Draculea noticed that one of the noblemen was covering his nose because of the stench of blood. He immediately had this nobleman staked on a stake, which enthroned everyone else and who raised the nobleman above the terrible stench.

In another version of the story, the sensitive nobleman was an ambassador from the Transylvanian cities of Brasov and Sibiu, who had been sent to ask the prince to spare these cities. While Draculea listened to this, he walked among the stakes. Some of the impaled were still alive. Disgusted by the stench of the coagulating blood and the secretions of the impaled, the nobleman asked why Draculea was still walking between them. Draculea then asked the ambassador if he would find the smell disgusting. The nobleman, who saw a chance to ingratiate himself with the prince, replied that his only concern was the prince's well-being and well-being. Draculea was very angry about the dishonesty and the ambassador was immediately impaled on a very high stake so that he was way above the stink.

Draculea was very concerned that more and more money was being spent on the welfare of the poor and sick. He noticed that the beggars, vagabonds and cripples were growing in number. In view of this, he sent an invitation to all the poor and sick; You were invited to a big festival in Tirgoviste because nobody in this country should go hungry. Upon their arrival at Draculea's castle, the sick and poor were taken to a great hall, where a rich feast was ready for them. People ate and drank late into the night. When Draculea himself appeared, he asked the following question: "What do you desire? Do you want to live without worries, do you want to have nothing to worry about in this world?" When there was a positive reaction, Draculea had the entrances locked and set the hall on fire. Nobody escaped the flames. Draculea later explained this act to the other nobles by saying that nobody in his country had to suffer from poverty.

While Draculea was imprisoned in Hungary for twelve years, a thief broke into his house. A Hungarian army captain pursued him and wanted to arrest and arrest him. Draculea met both of them and killed the officer on the spot, but not the thief. How so? As a gentleman, the officer should have known that you cannot enter a house without being asked to do so.

Dracula offered the Turkish sultan to unite with his troops if he would receive a guarantee that he would not be attacked by the sultan's troops. The Sultan of course accepted and was pleased with the new strength of his army. After having invaded Turkish territory with his army for 5 days, Draculea turns back. On his way home, Draculea's army destroyed everything in their way and brought great annihilations over the land. His army killed, staked and tortured most of the people in these areas.

Whether the historical Dracula, Vlad Tepes, like Bram Stoker's vampire count drank the blood of his victims or whether Tepes even consumed human flesh, as is often reported, has not been historically proven. In Switzerland, however, a more than 500-year-old manuscript about the cruel deeds of the Wallachian voivode Vlad Tepes was rediscovered in the spring of 1998. Karl Schmucki (research assistant at the Abbey Library in St. Gallen) told the Swiss news agency SDA that the manuscript was discovered in 1820, but was then forgotten again. The seven-page text is said to have been written between 1460 and 1470 by two monks who escaped Vlad Tepes before he had them impaled. The manuscript describes how Tepes had 300 Sinti and Roma arrested in order to roast three of them on a spit. The rest of them would have had to eat them.


~ The Dracula's Castle ~

It's such a thing with Dracula's castle ...In Romania several buildings are presented to tourists as "Dracula's Castle" or "Dracula's Castle":

1.) Bran Castle (German name: Törzburg), 25 km southwest of Brasov (German: Kronstadt)
Bran Castle is certainly one of the most famous, most visited and most touristic butchered "Dracula's castles" in Romania. In reality, however, Vlad "Tepes" Draculea never lived in the castle and it has been proven that he never owned it. Likewise, the claim that Draculea was imprisoned on Bran for one night has no historical basis. It is only likely that Draculea used the pass running below the castle one or more times.

Bran is a border castle (Transylvania - Wallachia) from the 14th century.
It was not until the 1970s that the legend of the ancestral home of the vampires came about here. At that time, communist Romania opened up to western tourists and they wanted to be able to come up with a real Dracula castle. Since Bran corresponded roughly to the idea of ​​the vampire castle, Ceausescu's henchmen gave the building its creepy image without further ado.
Only Dracula's grandfather, Prince Mircea (1386-1418), is possibly connected with the history of the castle.

Incidentally, another rumor about the Bran Castle does not correspond to the facts: In some sources it can be read that parts of Roman Polanski's film "Dance of the Vampires" were filmed in Bran Castle in 1967. However, this is not true (the exterior shots of "Tanz der Vampire" were made in Val Gardena / South Tyrol and the film castle was completely set up in the studio).
Presumably this message was put out at some point to attract additional tourists to the castle.

2.) Castle Dracula, 45 km east of Bistrita (German: Bistritz)
This ugly, whitewashed concrete block (in which a hotel with a restaurant is housed) was built in the 80s under the dictator Ceausescu near the village of "Piatra Fantanele" only for tourist purposes on the Borgo Pass, which is actually called "Pasul Tihuta" (Tihuta Pass) , built. So the building has absolutely nothing historical about it and is not reminiscent of the vampire count's gloomy castle in Stoker's novel, either visually or in terms of its location (gentle, grass-covered hilly landscape).

Castle Dracula Hotel

3.) Cetatea (castle) Poienari, near the village of Arefu (25 km north of Curtea de Arges)
Although it is considered likely, it has unfortunately not been proven with absolute certainty whether or not Vlad Tepes is actually connected to the history of the current ruin. The construction of the castle is assigned to the prince according to chronicles of the 17th century, which are based on popular sagas. He is said to have rebuilt it on its ruins with the citizens of the city of Tirgoviste, who he had committed to forced labor.

In the book "Cetatea Poienari" from 1984 it says the following:
"In 1453 King Ladislaus V. Postumul wrote to the residents of Sibiu that they should repair the castle. Since they did not comply with the request, Draculea decided to have the castle restored himself. On April 17th, 1457 he left the Wallachian Capital Tirgoviste arrest all boyars who had plotted against him. As a punishment, he sent them with their families to the castle hill and had the castle rebuilt. In only one week the castle was habitable again.
In June 1462, Draculea fled from the Tatars and Turks, who were commanded by Sultan Mehmet II el Fatih, to Poienari Castle. The pursuers discovered his hiding place and began to bomb the castle from the neighboring mountain Pleasa. However, the prince managed to outsmart his enemies and escape. "

A partly steep path with just under 1500 steps lead up to the ruin. UThe river Arges (which, according to legend, is also called "the river of tears" or "the river of the princess") flows below the castle. According to the legend of the novel, Draculea's first bride is said to have jumped to her death in these.


4.) Prince's Palace in Tirgoviste (85 km northwest of Bucharest)
It is almost certain that Draculea actually lived here for a time and ruled from the royal court. From 1394 to 1659 Tirgoviste was the capital of Wallachia. The city was the scene of many famous episodes about the Vojwoden (= warlord / prince) Vlad Draculea, who ruled here several times (Dracula was, contrary to Stoker's account, not a Transylvanian count, but prince of Wallachia).

The prince's court (Rum. Curtea domneasca) was destroyed by the Turks in 1655, ruins can still be seen from the construction period of the 14th century. Next to the church and the prince's court, of which ruins of the residential buildings, round walls and the foundation walls of a Turkish bath can still be seen, is the Chindia Tower / Turnul Chindiei (evening tower), which was renovated in the 19th century. This was built in the 15th century. The original purpose (watchtower, defense tower or prison tower) can no longer be proven beyond doubt; likewise the claim that it was established under Draculea. Inside the tower there is a comprehensive exhibition about Vlad Tepes.


5.) Castelul (castle) Corvinestilor in Hunedoara (German: iron market), 18 km south-southeast of Deva
This mighty castle in the southwest of Transylvania was definitely never in Draculea's possession, but he stayed there several times (voluntarily and involuntarily).

Castelul Corvinestilor (which is its official name in Romania) has many other names, based on its location and its (former) owners: Burg, or Schloss Hunedoara / Eisenmarkt (German) / Vajdahunyad (Hungarian) / Corvinus, or Corvin ( Abbreviation) / Hunyadi, or Hunyad (abbreviation) / as well as "Black Castle".

The greater part of the castle, located on a limestone rock, was built by Johann Hunyadi around 1452 on the remains of a fortress from the 12th century. The remaining parts were built and expanded under Hunyadi's son Matthias Corvinus and Prince Gabriel Bethlen. After 2 fires, lightning struck the castle in 1854, whereupon it burned out again and sealed its fate. For this reason, Castelul Corvinestilor is also called the "black castle".

As a devious young man, Vlad Tepes met with Hunyadi, who was instrumental in the overthrow and murder of his father in 1447, and agreed a shaky peace with him. Dracula himself was later to be held captive for a short time by Hunyadi's warlike son Mátyás Corvin. The mighty building also offers a few other interesting stories:

In the 15th century, a young woman is said to have been tied naked to a pillar of the knight's hall and a nail driven through her head because her improper love affair with a servant was discovered. Her white-clad, blood-soaked appearance is said to haunt the main tower and was only seen again recently, in 1990. During restoration work in 1873, a female skeleton was actually found under the tower steps, the skull of which had been split open by a rusty nail.

There is a fountain in the rear courtyard of the castle. He had been raised by three unfortunate Turkish men captured by Hunyadi's army. They had been promised freedom on condition that they found water. After digging to a depth of sixty feet with their bare hands for nine years, they found it, but Hunyadi had since died. His successor did not keep the agreement and the unfortunate men were thrown from the walls of the castle into the moat, where they drowned. Their names carved into the rock near the bottom of the well can still be seen today, along with an inscription which translates as: "You have water, but no heart."


6.) Turnu Rosu fortress (the red tower), near Talmaciu-Boita (German Talmesch) 20 km south of Sibiu (German Hermannstadt)
The castle, located about 70 km north of Ramnicu Valcea, on the red tower pass, was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the second half of the 15th century it was supposedly expanded by Vlad Draculea and played an important role in defending against the Turks. Whether Draculea actually lived there from time to time has not been clearly proven historically.

Although the fortress always had a tower painted red, its name probably comes from the Slavic hrad / hrod (= castle).
In some sources, the location of the castle is incorrectly assigned to the village of Turnu Rosu, 12 km further east, due to the fact that it has the same name.


7.) What is also worth mentioning at this point: The current ruins of "Slains Castle" (at Cruden Bay, approx. 40 km northwest of Aberdeen, on the east coast of Scotland) served Bram Stoker at that time partly as a model for the appearance of Dracula's Castle in his novel.

Slains Castle (more photos at www.Ruinenland.de)


~ "Dracula's descendant" ~

In recent years, an alleged Dracula descendant living in Berlin has appeared in the press again and again.

The "Herr von Schenkendorf" actually smelled himself officially called "Ottomar Rodolphe Vlad Dracula Prince Kretzulesco". Only he had neither blue blood nor a real nobility line to show. Formerly the (born in Berlin) was called quite simply Ottomar Berbig. Rather by chance, he met the last descendant of the infamous Romanian noble family in the antique shop that he was running at the time: Katarina Olympia Princess Kretzulesco Caradja. The trained baker Ottomar Berbig was adopted in 1990 by the childless lady, who was 96 years old at the time, because she rightly feared that her dynasty would otherwise become extinct.

Most recently, Ottmar Rodolphe ran a restaurant in his castle, built in 1870 in Schenkendorf (15 kilometers south of the Berlin city limits) and traded in "Dracula wine". He was also a member of the FDP in the district council of Dahme-Spreewald. In March 2007, however, he had to release the castle for foreclosure due to lack of funds. Today it stands empty and is visibly deteriorating.

Ottmar Rodolphe died on November 18, 2007 at the age of 67 as a result of a brain tumor. Ten months earlier, his wife, who was 40 years his junior, gave birth to a son, so that at least the name "Dracula" lives on.

Ottmar Rodolphe (former FDP member) and Schenkendorf Castle


~ Dracula - Errors and Geographical Errors ~

Starting from Bistritz in an easterly direction is the Borgo Pass (Tihuta Pass), on which, according to Bram Stoker, the Count's castle is to be located. The only difference is that there are no decent Dracula walls here - at least until the 1970s. The communist party found a remedy and had a hotel block with a concrete tower and an imitation crypt pulled up: "Castle Dracula". It is unlikely that the historical Prince Draculea was ever in Bistritz.

The mountain Istenszek (God's chair) with its modest height of 1380 meters, which Jonathan Harker described in his increasingly eerie travel diary as "an immense, snow-covered summit", the sight of which made his fellow travelers in the stagecoach silent, is more inviting happy hike than to the vampire hunt. The top of the pass, where Count Dracula awaited the lawyer from London with his carriage at the hour of the ghosts, is in reality not a gloomy rocky gorge where wolves howl, but a wide, sunny plateau with a wonderful view deep into the Bukovina.

In Bistrita (Bistritz) there is actually a hotel-restaurant with the name "Zur Goldenen Krone". Jonathan Harker could hardly have stayed here at the time described in the novel. Because the concrete building has been standing for less than 50 years and was also given the name from Bram Stoker's book for tourists only.

Bran Castle (Törzburg) is presented to tourists as THE Dracula's Castle. It is more than uncertain whether Vlad Draculea ever entered this castle, at least it can be proven that he never lived there. In reality, it was a border castle to secure the trade in goods, which was built in the 14th century on the border between Transylvania (German: Transylvania) and Wallachia. It was not until the 1970s that the invented legend of the ancestral home of the vampires came about when communist Romania opened up to western tourists and wanted to come up with a real Dracula castle.

The historical figure of Vlad Draculea was in all probability actually born in Sighisoara (German: Schäßburg), or at least he spent parts of his early childhood there. The yellow house in the shadow of the clock tower, which is presented as Dracula's birthplace and which now houses a restaurant, was built several decades after Draculea's birth at the earliest (probably after the great fire of Schäßburg in 1676). And one way or another, the exact place of birth of Vlad Draculea can no longer be determined with certainty.
(More photos & information about the Dracula House and the Castle of Sighisoara at www.Rumaenienburgen.com)


~ Painting by Vlad Tepes ~

Second half of the 16th century, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 cm.
The painting hangs in Ambras Castle near Innsbruck.

The portrait of Vlad Tepes, which is not missing in any Romanian history book, is the work of a German master. It was created around 100 years after the sitter's death and it is likely to be a copy of a contemporary original that has now been lost. The resemblance to the (reversed) woodcuts that adorned the "Dracole Wayda brochures" published in 1485, 1488 and 1491 in Lübeck, Nuremberg and Bamberg speaks for its "archetypal character". It is likely to be the painting that bears the greatest real resemblance to the prince.


This portrait, made by an unknown painter around 1575/95, is obviously also a copy.
Oil on paper, mounted on a wooden panel, 13.5 x 10.5 cm.

At the top right there is the note "A. VEIDA DVX WALA (CHIAE)" (Voivode and Prince of Wallachia). The Vlad Tepes picture is shown in the coin cabinet of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna on panel E ("Balkans and Orient").


L.Same-size portrait from the Esterházy‘schen ancestral gallery of Forchtenstein Castle / Burgenland
17th century, oil on canvas, 218 x 130 cm.

The portrait shows the voivod in a red boyar coat trimmed with sable fur, with yellow boots and with the well-known red velvet cap with strands of pearls around it. Strikingly, however, the ruby-set gold star, in which the headdress ("aigrette") of the cap is attached, is missing. In his right hand he holds a mace (similar to the one that was presented to his father by King Sigismund as a token of his rule in Nuremberg), while his left hand rests on a Turkish saber. The top left inscription reads: "Dracula Waida Princeps et Waivoda Walachiae Transalpinae hostis Turcarum infensissimus / 1466" (Dracula Prince and Voivode of Wallachia, bitterest enemy of the Turks / 1466). The year 1466 is a puzzle; possibly the Dracula picture was based on an original dated "1466". In 1466, in any case, Vlad Tepes was in a kind of house arrest on the Danube castle Visegrád, where he had been taken on the orders of King Matthias Corvinus after his arrest in 1462.
If you take a closer look at the Dracula picture at Forchtenstein Castle, you could make an eerie discovery: the iris and pupil of both eyes are scratched out, and have been for decades. The scratch marks can most likely be traced back to superstitious castle staff who wanted to protect themselves from the evil eye of the sitter.

"Martyrdom of St. Andrew". Late Gothic altar wing picture (Sunday side) by an unknown Styrian painter, around 1470/80.
Oil on spruce wood, 81.5 x 71.5 cm.

The "Oriental" with a scepter (to the left of the executioner) is obviously a representation of the Wallachian prince Vlad Tepes. The panel painting comes from the Lilienfeld Abbey in Lower Austria and was handed over to the Austrian Gallery in Vienna in 1953. However, it is not one of the works of the Austrian Gallery Belvedere that are permanently on display.


Surprisingly, Vlad the Impaler was also depicted in contemporary altar painting. Was it just the oriental outfit that attracted the painters to the martial Balkan prince, or was his appearance so well known that it had become a synonym for cruelty and persecution of innocent people (after all, Vlad Tepes had great merits in the fight against the "infidels" acquired)? In any case, the fact is that the persecutors of Christ - the henchmen and their pagan commanders - are mostly dressed in oriental clothes on medieval altarpieces. A corresponding portrait of Vlad Tepes can be seen on a wing painting of a no longer preserved altar by a Styrian master. The picture shows how four executioners under the supervision of a dignitary with the features of the Wallachian prince St. Tie Andreas to the cross.The person assisting the execution seems strangely stiff despite a hand movement in the direction of the martyr, which is probably due to the fact that the painter used an existing Dracula portrait. When it comes to the dating of the altarpiece, experts vary between 1470 and 1480. Thus, the image could have been created while Vlad the Impaler was still alive.


"Master of Mary on the Shore: Crucifixion of Christ". Detail from an altar wing picture from the Maria am Gestade church in Vienna, around 1460, oil painting on wood, 202 x 161 cm. The figure of Vlad Tepes measures approx. 110 cm.

This picture was undoubtedly taken during Vlad Tepes' lifetime. The crucifixion of Christ can be seen on the left overall picture of the section shown here. To the left of the cross stands the group of the righteous (the three Marys with John), to the right, behind Mary Magdalene kneeling at the foot of the cross, the group of Christ's opponents: soldiers, Jews, representatives of the authorities. In the midst of this group, a figure modeled on Vlad the Impaler forms the center. She is depicted in a dispute with a Jew and wears a costly red coat with fur trimmings and the well-known beaded cap. Unfortunately, the mysterious man with his right hand tucked into his coat cannot be assigned to any of the people involved in the crucifixion (such as Pilate). The only thing that is certain is that he belongs to the figurative group of Christ's enemies, which is also underlined by his head turned away from the cross. The artistically outstanding panel painting shows clear influences from Dutch masters, in particular from Hubert and Jan van Eycks, but also from Rogier van der Weyden and Dirk Bouts.

Finally, a few words on our own behalf:
I was accused by email of destroying the myth of (the vampire) Dracula with this site. However, I can neither accept nor really understand this reluctance.

I am very well aware that the alleged vampire count emanates a certain fascination - a fascination that ultimately did not leave me unharmed. But I see no reason why I should stir up or support errors, misinterpretations, half-truths and tourist rip-offs. After all, I'm not in "Aunt Emma's Fairytale Hour" here; and there are already enough misrepresentations about Dracula in my opinion. I think Bram Stoker's novel should be seen for what it is - a successful literary entertainment modeled on a historical figure.
Who himself really interested in the Roman Dracula, should therefore also be interested in the history of the real Vlad. In my opinion, his actual life story also includes myth and the dark - perhaps even more than if you just stick to the text of the novel.

If you travel to Romania ONLY through the eyes of the Dracula reader, you are not doing the country or yourself a favor. Because Romania simply has too much to offer for that! In addition, such a trip could also be somewhat disappointing if you look in the eyes of reality, partly in the form of new concrete buildings and tourist kitsch at supposed "Dracula locations" ...


Here you can find reports and photos of my own trips to Romania

This website is part of www.Gruft-der-Vampire.de