The fifteenth century Romanian Prince Vlad III Dracula, also known as Vlad the Impaler, is one of the most fascinating personalities of medieval history.
Even within this figure's own lifetime, his true story became obscured by a veil of myths.
Vlad has been depicted as a national and Christian hero who bravely fought to defend his native land and all of Europe against the invading Turkish infidels.
However, he has also been portrayed as a bloody tyrant - whose reputation slowly transformed through the ages into the fictional vampire created by Bram Stoker at the end of the nineteenth century. (Vlad III Dracula: The Life and Times of the Historical Dracula by Kurt W. Treptow))
The vampire myth is still wide-spread in eastern Europe. Similarly the name of Dracula is still remembered in the Romanian oral tradition but that is the end of any connection between Dracula and the vampire myth in folklore. Outside of Stoker's novel the name of Dracula was never linked with the myth of the vampire. Despite his inhuman cruelty, in Romania Dracula is remembered as a national hero who resisted the Turkish conquerors and asserted Romanian national sovereignty against the powerful Hungarian kingdom.
There are some very interesting historic places in Romania linked to Prince Vlad Dracula's legend:
Vlad as prince of Wallachia spent most of his time at the court of Targoviste (out of which Chindia Tower is today the most notable remainder).
Poienari Castle is a ruined castle in Romania, in Arges County (Arefu commune) on a canyon formed on the Arges River valley, close to the Fagaras Mountains. It stands on a cliff, on the right side of the Transfagarasan road which climbs high into the mountains. In the 15th century, realizing the potential for a castle perched high on a steep precipice of rock, Vlad III Dracula repaired and consolidated the structure, making it one of his main fortresses. Due to his association to Bram Stoker's character of the same name, the castle is a tourist hot spot.
He also made donations to various churches and monasteries, one such place being the monastery at Lake Snagov where he is supposed to have been buried.
Tihuta Pass (or Bargau or Borgo Pass or Burgo) is a high mountain pass in the Romanian Bârgãu Mountains (Eastern Carpathian Mountains) connecting Bistrita (Transylvania) with Vatra Dornei (Bucovina, Moldovia). The pass was made famous by Bram Stoker's novel Dracula where, termed as the "Borgo Pass", it was the gateway to the realm of Count Dracula. For tourist reasons a great hotel - Dracula Castle Hotel - was buit here.
In Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, the character Jonathan Harker visits Bistrita and stays at the Golden Krone Hotel ("Coroana de Aur" in Romanian). Although no such hotel existed when the novel was written, a hotel of the same name has since been constructed for tourists.
In Bucharest, Curtea Veche ("Old Court") was onetime the site of Vlad Tepes's Castle.