Vlad III Dracula was born on December 7, 1431. If the legends are true that there are demons in the invisible world who sometimes assume human form, then Dracula is a confirmation of their truth. His life is proof that he is among the cruelest men born on earth. Historians reject the claim that he was a vampire. But they confirm his extremely ferocious character, which is beyond any normality. He is also nicknamed Cepes, which translates as “the one who impales”.
Vlad the Impaler got his fame as a vampire from Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, which was written at the end of the 19th century. And if we have to be even more precise, the interest in his personality is held mostly by Hollywood.
His nickname Dracula derives from Vlad’s supposed membership in the Order of the Draculestis, of which his father was certainly a member. The organization had the lofty goal of defending Christianity from the Turks. It was created by Sigmund of Luxemburg. The proof that Vlad was a member of the order is his signature on official documents, where the name “Dracula” appears. It is also a fact that Vlad the Impaler took the lives of tens of thousands of Turks.
He was the ruler of Wallachia three times – in 1448, in the period 1456-1462 and in 1476.
Even when he was 28 years old, he began to apply the punishment of impaling. In this way he punishes the boyars for whom his father and brother were killed.
There is a story of how he once ordered his guards to nail the turbans of two Turkish envoys who refused to take them off before him. And the soldiers nailed them – right on the heads.
Vlad Dracula embarked on a liberation campaign against the Ottoman Empire south of the Danube when he was 31 years old. Passing through Mysia, he destroyed 38,000 Turkish soldiers. The documents say that at least 20,000 met their death in a particularly painful way – by stake.
There are legends that Tsepes did not forgive his subjects who steal, lie and cheat. It is said that, convinced of the efficacy of his laws, Vlad III ordered a golden bowl to be placed on the fountain in the central square in Targovishte (Romania) for thirsty travelers to use. According to historical sources, during his entire reign, the cup remained there and was not stolen even once (but it remained almost unused).
Even now, Romanians, when reacting to extreme corruption, extortion or injustice, use the saying “Where are you, Cepes, master?!”, calling on him to severely punish the guilty.
For years, Bran Castle, which is near Brasov, has been besieged by tourists who want to peek into the Vampire’s abode. Since 1920 until 1947 , the castle is owned by the Romanian Royal Family. It was used as a residence for Queen Maria (the same one who built the palace in Balchik, Bulgaria).
Dracula most likely never set foot in it, or if he did, it was only briefly. The castle is perched on a rock, and below it gape deep chasms. Its stairs are steep and many of the rooms are small and low-ceilinged.
Trade around the castle is subject to the legend of the vampire Cepes. Souvenirs are sold, moans and screams are heard, wine and beer are poured, Transylvanian sausages are sizzling on the grill. The tourist flow of the “vampire mania” increased especially after 1992, when Francis Ford Coppola restored the castle to shoot his famous movie “Dracula”.
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