Dracula - portrait
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.