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Prince Dracula – Vlad the Impaler

The brief history of Vlad the Impaler who is known as Prince Dracula...

Vlad III the Impaler (Romanian Vlad Tepes, pronounced [ˈvlad ˈt͡sepeʃ], or Vlad Draculea) was born in 1431 and died in 1476. Vlad the Impaler was born in Sighisoara, Transylvania, as the second son of the voivode of Wallachia Vlad Dracul. His father was a member of the Order of the Dragon founded by Sigismund of Luxemburg to defend Christianity against the increasingly powerful Ottoman Empire. He owed his epithet (“Draco” – “Dragon”, turned into “Dracul” – “Devil”) to this fact. Vlad the Impaler gained the nickname “Draculea” (“Dracula”), widespread then by the legend, which simply meant the son of the Dragon or the son of the Devil (there is a restaurant in the house of Dracula’s birth today).

At the age of 11 Vlad was captured by the Turks, together with his father and younger brother Radu – once the Sultan Murad II set Vlad the Devil free, his sons remained at his court as hostages to guarantee the loyalty of their father towards the Ottoman Empire. Dracula spent seven years in Turkey, whereas Vlad the Devil, betrayed by boyars, was murdered with his oldest son Mircea in 1447. After the death of Vlad the Devil, the Sultan Murad decided to enthrone his son – the young Vlad - as the ruler of Wallachia, hoping for his loyalty. In 1448 Vlad the Dracula took the throne of Wallachia for the first time.

Vlad inaugurated his reign with bloody revenge on the disloyal boyars, guilty of the death if his father and brother (tortured and buried alive by them). On the day of Easter he captured the guilty boyars and their families. He ordered to impale some of them and commanded the others to go from Targoviste to Poenari without rest (ca. 200 km through the mountains). Those who survived the march were forced to build the Poenari Castle.

The legend of Dracula starts when he limited the foreign merchants right to trade. It triggered the riots and attempts on his life. Vlad was deprived from the throne in 1462 by his brother. Vlad was a cruel ruler, who became famous for impalements of the mothers and nailing the babies to their breast as well as for cooking the victims alive.

The legend, which was famous in the whole of Romania tells that in the city of Targoviste, the capital of Wallachia, Vlad placed a golden cup in the central square next to the well. It could be used by each thirsty tourist and each thirsty merchant passing through the city. Through the brute’s reign, the cup – worth as much as many villages – remained at the well and it was never stolen. All people were so afraid of the strict law and justice of the cruel hospodar.

The cruelty of Vlad III knew no bounds... He impaled his victims, pruned their ears and genitals, tortured them, hung them up and pulled out their nails... Where did the vampire legend come from?

...well, Vlad fell into trap set by his brother Radu. It was he who began to besiege the Poenari Castle. Seeing the hopelessness of the situation, hospodar’s wife plunged to her death from a window, committing suicide. And Vlad disappeared... literally he sank into a hole in the ground. The winners didn’t find him or his body. This is how the legend of the vampire was born, especially as every few months someone reported that he saw the Impaler sneaking around the area... he was a vampire and a devil simply during his lifetime...