Saturday, July 4, 2009

Greetings from Vlad Dracul (Dracula)

Dracula - portrait



Bran Castle on top, souvenir market at the bottom

Dracula as a 'sex symbol' (postcard)

Vlad Dracul, who inspired the Dracula vampire movies, was a real figure in romanian history of the 15th century. As prince of Wallachia he had his headquarters at Bran Castle on the top of a high rock overlooking the charming city of Brasov.

At the foot of this rock , there's now a souvenir market based on the images of Dracula and the castle. His face is printed on almost any imaginable and unimaginable item: T-shirts, cups, magnets, postcards, paintings, sculptures, keychains, dolls, wooden-boxes, tableware pieces, masks, etc...


I knew from history lessons that Vlad Dracul the third was considered a brave soldier who fought against the Turk and German invaders , as well as a just and efficient ruler. Nevertheless, on my recent visit in the area I was rather surprised by the affection people have for his personality and by the enthusiasm with which they talk about him. Surprised , because after all , Vlad Dracul ('dracul' meaning 'the devil' in romanian) was a cruel , ruthless man.


His post-mortem name Tepes (pronounced:Tzepesh) originated in his favorite weapon
- the stake. Impalement was his preferred method of torture and execution of opponents and of people disobeying the rules, hence the name of Dracula the Impaler. They say he was concerned quite a lot with woman chastity. Adulterous wives and maidens who lost their virginity were punished by his famous method of impalement. Brrrrrrrrrrr!

The romanians acknowledge all that, and present horror shows from his activities. Yet they do try hard to soften this side of his character by claiming that it was impossible to maintain order without heavy punishment of the bad guys , and that the Germans who hated Vlad, were those who invented and promoted his image as a blood thirsty prince and vampire.

Anyway, while there, I bought some souvenirs asking the vendor to pack them carefully as they were for presents. 'And what's for you' , he asked . 'Nothing' I said . 'I took some pictures of the castle, and as for Dracula, I could think of some nicer men with friendlier faces to look at' . 'He could be revengeful, you know, visit you in your dreams', warned me the vendor.

Well, I don't want him in my dreams, do I. So, to be on the safe side, I decided to have a round magnet with Dracula's face on it . I think I'll stick it on the front door of the fridge hoping his face will keep me away from opening it too often , and thus help me with the diet I need after eating the terrific food in Dracula's kingdom.




20 comments:

Jo said...

Omigosh, I had no idea Dracula had become a tourist attraction. I have always been fascinated by the legend of Dracula. I work with a Romanian woman. I will have to ask her more about it.

You have visited some very interesting places!

Ruth D~ said...

I guess if Vlad the Impaler can become a beloved icon, anyone can. Hope you get both sweet dreams and diet help from your souvenir.

DUTA said...

Jo,
Thanks for your comment.

As far as I know there are three main touristic sites that relate to Dracula: 1.the place where he was born , in Sighisoara town, where there's a plaque and his bust on that spot 2. the ruins of Poenari Castle over the Arges River, and 3.the Bran Castle where I visited.

The story of Dracula is not a simple one , mainly because of the movies and novels that distorted the historical facts.

DUTA said...

Ruth D.
Thank you for wishing me sweet dreams and diet help. That's important, and that's very kind of you.

TheChicGeek said...

Yeah!!!! Duta is back!!! I missed you terribly!

How interesting to go see Dracula's home town. I would love to visit Romania and tour that area. As usual, you have provided us an interesting glimpse into another part of the world. Love the pictures, the story, and I'm so happy to see you have returned!
xox
Have a Happy Day, Duta!

DUTA said...

TheChicGeek
I love it that you've missed me, and I'm glad good things are happening in your life (according to your last post). I wish you

You should visit Romania. It has beautiful places and delicious food that turns you into a "live to eat person" in case you are a "eat to live person".

DUTA said...

TheChicGeek',
Sorry Kelly, Ididn't write the word Happiness in my previous message. I wish you all the Happiness in the world.

Wendy R said...

Duta
Yoour posts are more than a little surreal and very engaging. I could see you wouldn't want him in your dreams.
Strange...
wendy r

The Bug said...

I think I need a Dracula magnet for my fridge too!

Lisa said...

Duta - glad you're back! Hope you had a nice trip. Dracula? I remember watching some very scary movies about him when I was a youngster :-)

DUTA said...

Wendy R.

I'm very flattered that you find my posts engaging. Thank you.

DUTA said...

The Bug

Your remark brought a broad smile to my face. Thanks.

DUTA said...

Lisa
I'm glad you're glad I'm back. Well, the trip was a nice one. As for Dracula and scary movies - they are not my cup of tea, but on the other hand, I don't ignore historical figures, and Dracula played a certain role in Romania's history.

bloggerfriendly said...

If the magnet helps with your dieting - let me know immediately so I can get one.

DUTA said...

bloggerfriendly
Of course. I'm not the type to keep good things only to myself.

PhilipH said...

Duta, that's an interesting post. The story of Dracula has been a god send to film makers over the years.

The town of WHITBY on Englands east coast has a strong connection with Dracula and they have a society devoted to the fiendish Count D.

http://www.whitbydraculasociety.org.uk/

Glad to see you back Duta (safe and well...)

DUTA said...

PhilipH
You said it right: "The story of Dracula has been a god send to film makers over the years". As far as I know ,the films were based on a novel by an irishman named Bram Stocker.

Anyway, thanks for the info in WHITBY (sounds intriguing).

Michelle P. said...

Hi Duta

I was just watching on TV about Vlad and where he used to live. Very interesting. Cheers.

Rahel/Rodica said...

As a pupil of elementary school in Bucharest, I remember Dracula and his cruelty, due to my 4th grade teacher. He gave us unusual homework. Instead of focusing on question answering system he wanted us to draw Vlad Tepes (Dracula) impaling his victims.

DUTA said...

Rahel/Rodica,

Really?! He shouldn't have been a teacher in elementary school . Dangerous type to the soul of children.