During my infancy, the fiction figure of Dracula was constantly present as something incredibly attractive. I was impressed with his characterization, so dark and so mysterious, so implacable with his pretty victims, so insensible, so irresistible… This myth captivated me completely. I remember this impressions with nostalgic. The infancy is the time where the edge between reality and fiction really doesn’t exist, and my fantasy felt fascination for these histories, that almost existed in my word, and that were definitively like a magnet for my little mind.
Time past and now I’m in Romania, the real contest of this unreal history, and I cannot resist the temptation of writing about the man that is behind this eternal and loved figure. Here we go…
Vlad Draculea belonged to the nobility of Valaquia, a kingdom emplaced in the south area of Romania, in the frontier with Turkey. This family of nobles received from the king of Hungary the region of Transylvania for the heroic fight against Turkish. The father of Tepes, Vlad II Dracul, was named “Evil”, but cause was not in relation with his bad temper; apparently the reason was that he belongs to the Dragon’s Order, which emblem, a dragon, was a little bit “evilly” in appearance.
Draculea was born in Sighisoara, one of the richest cities of Transylvania. Much of population in Sighisoara, most part of the middle class, were Saxons of germane ascendance that arrived in Transylvania in XII century. This group of inhabitants had commercial privileges, having a high economical position respect the local population.
Vlad’s life was soon marked with violent and painful events: in 1444, when he was thirteen years old, his father gave him and Radu, his brother, to the Turkish, in act of submission with the Turkish sultan, Murat II. With this measure, the sultan tried to stop the possible reprisal from Dracul’s sons. He was so in wrong way.
Three years after, when Vlad was sixteen and was left free, returning home, he found a desolated panorama: his father was killed beatted, and his brother Mircea… had suffered burning his eyes with red hot iron, and buried alive! The authors of this terrible crime were the Boyard’s aristocracy, a rival noble clan of the area that wanted to have the control in Valaquia. Vlad immediately start to prepare the revenge against Boyards and the plan to conquer again the stolen power; he escaped to the north and swore to return.
We go now to 1450. Vlad was nineteen years old. He took up residence in Brand fortress, the place that is known as Draculea Castle for the repercussion of Bram Stoker’s book, but that is in reality one place that he used eventually. There, he prepared the assault to recuperate Valaquia throne, getting his purpose, with the support of Turkish, and re-established his power in 1456 after to order the execution of Vladislav II, who had Valaquia’s power in this moment.
With the power again on his hands, Vlad located the capital of Valaquia in Targoviste, and established his home in Tergoviste’s Palace, that was built during his grandfather’s period. Draculea made reforms in the palace to have the best safety and strategic conditions, making for the principal tower an excellent panoramic place.
As we know, Boyards were the principal enemy of Vlad’s permanence, and our protagonist, that was so practical and drastic man, decided to finish with this problem in the best way to really finish with it; he chosen to exterminate all of them.
The way that he used is really interesting to have an idea of Vlad’s temper and character: The Resurrection’s Sunday, he invited Boyards’ families for a great banquet in his castle. After this, Vlad asked their how many leaders of Valaquia they had had, answering Boyards, so innocent and proud, that they defeated as much that they can’t remember the number… This was the answer that Vlad wanted to receive. Immediately, he order to impale, in front of the amazed eyes of the quests, all the oldest of their, that were more or less fifth hundred. Afterwards, he forced the rest of them go walking to Poenari, where was a castle in ruins in the highest of abrupt hill, and the prisoners were obliged to re-build the castle that is considered the authentic Draculea’s Castle: Poenari’s Castle.
As can imagine, the slave Boyard’s conditions were terrible and they were dying one by one.
Poenari’s Castle was a so good strategic position to have the control of the enemies’ movements; built in the edge with Transylvania, he too had an exceptional view of Targoviste.
1459. Vlad is 28 years old. He was in bad relations with Saxons’ dealers, which were support the aspirant to take out the throne of Vlad. Draculea, trying to stop the conspiracy that they were preparing, started a terror campaign against their. He when to Brand Castle and joined his tropes to attack Brasov, the richest city of medieval Transylvania. To take Brasov was not an easy work; this city had so strong fortifications and was totally prepared for defense.
Vlad knew Brasov’s defense situation, for this reason he decided to attack in surprise action at night. All people who were apprised suffered the impaled system. Concerning this episode is the engraving named “Impaled’s Forest”, that belonged to Saxon’s related, were Vlad is in the named “Orca’s Hill” portrayed tasting his lunch, contemplating at the same time a peculiar forest, the impaled’s forest.
Brasov was finally subjugated.
Now, Vlad is making the plans to stop the imminent Turkish attack, which were planning conquered Romania. Draculea, in the way that is characteristic of him, ordered to build quickly a fortress placed in Bucharest city, a very important strategic point for commercial activity. This fortress conserve ruins actually that are behind the city.
Before the fight, Draculea received in Targoviste Palace an ottoman delegacy that demanded to Vlad the payment of a tribute. Vlad announced their that is an offence to keep the turbans on head during the interview, and ottomans replied that is their culture characteristic. Draculea order immediately to go thought the turbans with nails, to keep its fix so well in the heads.
1461. Winter. Vlad Tepes is 30 years old. Start the war against Turkish. Troops fight with success. On the contrary way that now, in this period, leaders were in the top of the battle. Vlad show bravery before his troops, in the combat. When he returns to Targoviste, he decided to ask for help to the Christian neighbouring kingdoms. To show his heroic deed in combat, send their 23.884 noses of his enemies.
In this moment of the history, Vlad need to fight with the Sultan Mejmet’s army, which is three times bigger than Vlad’s. Mejmet is a ferocious general knowing for his cruelty. The localization of the fight is Targoviste. Vlad decided to use the guerrilla warfare strategic in Romanian forest, and too, the psychological war, where he was a master; Vlad attacks at night, burning enemy crops, paying ill people to infiltrate in enemies troops and, of course, building impaled’s forest… Before the vision of 20.000 impaled corpses, sultan Mejmet couldn’t stand the situation and left his troop continuing the battle.
We are in the middle of a great war…
The enemies advance, Dracul moves back to Poenari; there, he has the guarantee of a great defense in his fortress, but life is so hart in this isolation conditions. His wife, scared for the possibility to be catch and tortured, decided to throw oneself from a towel to the river. Now, this river is known as “Princess River”. Vlad, of course, decided to go until the end. He finally got to escape of Turkish besiege to Arefu, a village not so far to the castle. In Arefu folklore se dice that inhabitants of the village helped Vlad to escape putting in the horse’s horseshoes on the wrong side; in this way, Turkish thought that Vlad escaped in the opposite direction where he really went. Vlad was refuge in Transylvania, and 10 years after reclaimed the throne stabilised his base in Bucharest’s fortress, but he died without success. Is not clear if he died in battle or killed. Folklore says that he was buried in Monastery of Snagov, and that his head was separated of his body and sended to the Sultan. There are no proofs of this history. After his death, Turkish took the country.