The Dracula Castle: Vlad the Impaler’s Tax Office12/8/2010
The Bran Castle, also known as The Dracula Castle, located in Bran, Romania features a mysterious element of suspense and intrigue. The reason why the Bran Castle is called the Dracula Castle is because the fortress is the subject of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. Dracula is a legend with countless movie remakes and scarier Halloween costumes.
Here’s a quick list of Dracula movies
The Death of Dracula – 1921
Nosferatu, A Symphony of Terror – 1922
Dracula – 1931
Mark of the Vampire – 1935
Dracula’s Daughter – 1936
Son of Dracula – 1943
The Return of the Vampire – 1944
House of Frankenstein – 1944
House of Dracula – 1945
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein – 1948
Dracula Istanbul’da – 1953
The Blood of Dracula – 1957
Horror of Dracula – 1958
The Return of Dracula – 1958
Brides of Dracula – 1960
Dracula, Prince of Darkness – 1966
Billy the Kid VS Dracula – 1966
The Fearless Vampire Killers – 1967
Dracula Has Risen From the Grave – 1968
Blood of Dracula’s Castle – 1969
Jonathan – 1969
Taste the Blood of Dracula – 1970
Scars of Dracula – 1970
Countess Dracula – 1970
Jess Franco’s Count Dracula – 1973
Vampyros Lesbos – 1970
Dracula VS Frankenstein – 1971
Dracula A.D. 1972 – 1972
Dracula’s Great Love – 1972
Blacula – 1972
Scream, Blacula, Scream!
The Satanic Rites of Dracula – 1973
The 7 Brothers Meet Dracula – 1973
Blood For Dracula – 1974
Dan Curtis’ Dracula – 1974
Dracula, Father and Son – 1976
Count Dracula – 1977
Zoltan, Hound of Dracula – 1978
Dracula – 1979
Love at First Bite – 1979
Nosferatu the Vampyre – 1979
Monster Squad – 1987
Bram Stoker’s Dracula – 1992
Dracula, Dead and Loving It – 1995
Dracula, Pages from a Virgin’s Diary – 2002
Dracula II – 2003
Dracula 3, Legacy – 2004
Blade: Trinity – 2004
Dracula 3000 – 2004
Van Helsing – 2004
Batman VS Dracula – 2005
Twilight – 2008
New Moon – 2009
Stoker’s Dracula is loosely inspired on Vlad the Impaler, who ruthlessly ruled the Transylvania regions between 1456 – 1462. Vlad III received his nickname for his cruel methods of executions. He impaled victims who crossed him, bottoms up!
“The atrocities committed by Vlad in the German stories include impaling, torturing, burning, skinning, roasting, and boiling people, feeding people the flesh of their friends or relatives, cutting off limbs, and drowning. All of these punishments mainly came from things people did that displeased Vlad the most; stealing, lying, and adulterous relations. Other methods of punishment included skinning the feet of thieves, then putting salt on them and letting goats lick off the salt. This was a way that Vlad kept his people in order and taught them that stealing would not be tolerated in his lands. No exceptions were made: he punished anyone who broke his laws, whether men or women, no matter the age, religion or social class.”
I cannot think of a better person to base Dracula off of myself then Vlad the Impaler!
I took a day trip out to Bran, Romania to investigate fact from fiction, and find out the correlation between Vlad the Impaler and Dracula.
What was the real purpose of the Bran Castle? Did Vlad III actually suck the blood out of his victims neck? Does he have a unique genetic mutation that allows him to turn into a flying mammal (bat) at night? These were all questions that needed to be answered.
After spending a full day at the city of Bran and inside the castle, I can accurately answer the questions above.
1. Tax office
The city of Bran attracts tourists from around the world. Everywhere I looked, someone was selling some kind of Dracula or vampire item. I remember watching large groups of kids run from one small shop to the next, looking for their favorite Dracula item.
Inside the Bran Castle, I found the atmosphere completely different. The castle had an appearance that wealthy kings and queens decorated the interiors. In fact most of the art and furniture is from Queen Marie of Romania.
Here is a short video I took of one of the rooms.
I was disappointed to find that the main purpose of Bran Castle was to collect taxes. I’ve never seen a more beautiful tax office in my life!
The people of Bran originally built the castle in 1392 to defend the mountain pass against invading Turks. About 20 years later, the ruler at the time, allowed people to setup customs posts. Travelers who used the pass were charged a 3% tax on all consumer goods.
I found the castle to be somewhat of a tourist trap, but interesting none the less. Vlad the Impaler himself was said to have only stayed at the Bran Castle for 3 days!
The Dracula legend continues to grow with a younger generation exposed to the vampire ways, (The Twilight Series). To them, this castle will always be the Dracula Castle. I found the historical part of the adventure very interesting and the glamorized fiction over the top.
Here is some of the Dracula content inside the castle.
I guess I should have seen the parallels between the Dracula/Bran Castle earlier. Maybe Bram Stoker knew the purpose of Bran Castle and made a political statement, “This tax office sucks the life out of its victims, I’ll create a character who does the same!”.