History of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
The area is also home to Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Tales of the supernatural had been circulating in Romanian folklore for centuries when Irish writer Bram Stoker picked up the thread and spun it into a golden tale of ghoulishness that has never been out of print since its first publication in 1897. Bram Stoker's Dracula novel was published in Romanian for the first time in 1990.
The only real link between the historical Dracula (1431-1476) and the modern literary myth of the vampire is the 1897 novel. Bram Stoker built his fictional character solely based on the research that he conducted in libraries in London. Stoker never visited Romania.
To research his immortal tale, Stoker immersed himself in the history, lore and legends of Transylvania. Count Dracula's fictional character was inspired by one of the best-known figures of Romanian history, Vlad Dracula, nicknamed Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), who was the ruler of Walachia at various times from 1456-1462. Dracula, the title of Vlad Tepes, translates into Son of Dracul or Son of the Devil. History tells us that Vlad stopped paying tribute to the Ottomans in 1459 and around 1460 made a new alliance with Corvinus. This angered the Turks, who attempted to remove him. They failed. In the winter of 1461 to Vlad crossed south of the Danube and devastated the area between Serbia and the Black Sea. In Vlad's own words: "I have killed men and women, old and young... 23,884 Turks and Bulgarians without counting those whom we burned alive in their homes or whose heads were not chopped off by our soldiers." In a vein attempt to defend his reign against the recent conqueror of Constantinople he impaled 20,000 Turkish prisoners on stakes outside of town as a warning.
In Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula, a young Englishman, Jonathan Harker, visits Bistrita and spends a night at the Golden Krone Hotel on the eve of St. George's Day before continuing his journey east to Count Dracula's castle. Although no such hotel existed when the novel was written, a hotel with the same name has since been constructed for visitors.
But how did Bram Stoker's story turn into a myth? A partial explanation is provided by the circumstances under which the book was written and received. A genuine epidemic of "vampirism" hit Eastern Europe at the end of the 17th century and continued into the 18th century. The number of reported cases soared dramatically, especially in the Balkans. Then, the epidemic traveled west to Germany, Italy, France, England and Spain. Travelers returning from the East would tell stories about the undead, which helped keep the interest in vampires alive.
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