Due to the popularity of Dracula, Transylvania has now become a synonym for "Vampire-Land". The first chapters of Stoker's book take place here, focusing on Jonathan Harker's encounter with the Count and the seductive Vampire Sisters. In the last chapters the Vampire Hunters travel through Moldavia and Bukovina, in the East and North of what later became a united Romania. Places associated with the historical Dracula family are mostly found in Wallachia, south of the Carpathians. Stoker permitted himself to mix the history of this Wallachian dynasty with that of the Szeklers, based in the East of Transylvania. In our Travel Guide, we sort out these ethnical and historical influences, present our insights about the Vampire Count's lifetime identity and lead you to places never described in Dracula-related literature before.
Directly after the Stoker Centenary Conference in April 2012, Hans made a trip to Romania in order to explore the site of Castle Dracula he had discovered from old maps and Bram Stoker's notes. Six more Romanian trips followed. From September 2012 until May 2013, he acted as a co-supervisor of a school seminar on vampires in fiction at the Munich Edith-Stein-Gymnasium, and guided this group together with a class of the Samuel-von-Brukenthal-Gymnasium, Sibiu, on a trip aiming to follow Jonathan Harkerís footsteps.
In November 2013, we made a trip to Romania together, in order to share insights and experiences and meet with local working partners. Stops on the route were, among others, Alba Iulia, Cluj (Klausenburg), Bistriţa (Bistritz), the Borgo Pass region, Sighişoara, Bran Castle, T‚rgovişte, Bucharest and Sibiu (Hermannstadt). In Bucharest, we were styled as Knights in the Order of Count Dracula - a title especially created for us by Daniela Diaconescu, co-founder and Vice-President of The Transylvanian Society of Dracula.
In August 2014, Hans visited Romaina once more, to participate in the opening event of the Via Maria Theresia, a route through the Borgo and Călimani Mountains formerly used by the Habsburg military, in order to provide the frontier posts in this region with munition and food. During the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this track was about four meters wide and well-maintained, so that horse-drawn carriages could drive all the way to the Călimani caldera. Jonathan Harker, Count Dracula, Professor van Helsing and Mina must have used parts of this historical path to get from the Borgo Pass to the location of Castle Dracula on Mount Izvorul Călimanului.
During this trip, Hans was joined by Daniela Diaconescu, Vice-President of the T.S.D., and by Petre Tutunea, a graphic artist from Bucharest. On their return to Bucharest, Hans was awarded one of only four watches especially designed for the T.S.D., to honour him for his groundbreaking research on the Dracula novel; one of the other bearers of such a watch is Prof. Elizabeth Miller from Toronto.
See the photo gallery about our November 2013 tour to Romania.
Read more about our partners in Romania.
See our photo gallery on the VMT event.