27 June 2007

Dracula Souvenir or Dracula Kitsch ?

While visiting Sighisoara I spot this cups and I couldn't resist the temptation to take some photo:

The kitsch is a danger that appears in all the tourist places (and Sighisoara is such a touristic place).

I think that if Vlad the Impaler looked like this it could only make the people laugh, not scare at all. At least I was rolling on the floor laughing where I cut this photo from a bigger one.

and another cup of...Vlad Dracula:
(poor guy, too much lipstick)

and another one, green of fury:

and the asian Dracula:

An the winner is......

Dracula joke

Dracula joke

Besides the numerous movies (I read somewhere that there are about 300 movies inspired by Dracula), the books and the songs, there are also some jokes about Dracula and the vampires.
Is true that these jokes are confusing people associating the vampires with the myth of Dracula, however I'm going to relate one that I heard yesterday evening on Italian Television RAI 1.

"Somewhere in Transylvania there was a castle (my comment: this is also confusing people: while Vlad the Impaler was born in Sighisoara, Transylvania) he lead Wallachia, died there and was buried also in Wallachia).
On a windy night the castle doors where moving and the thumbs begun to shake. Dracula and two vampires exit and need to eat some blood. They are afraid to go out in the storm, however Dracula get some courage and dears to exit the castle.

After a while he comes back to the others with some blood in the corner of his mouth. The others are excited about him being so brave, such a good hunter and ask him how he managed to get some blood.
- You see that tower up-there? , he says
- Yes, we see it, was it there that you found the victim?
- No, no, is that tower that I head so hard, while looking elsewhere.....

19 June 2007

The Blacksmiths' Tower, Sighisoara

The Blacksmiths' Tower, Sighisoara

The Blacksmiths' Tower is one of the 14 defending towers protecting the medieval town.

(c) April 2007 - dracula-transylvania.blogspot.com

One can see the shooting windows on the upper part and the way the tower is emerging from the defending wall.

Interesting archaeological research revealed some great detailed design can be viewed at http://www.cimec.ro/Arheologie/CronicaCA2001/web_cronica_foto/187/index.htm The one to the left is looking at the tower nearly from the same angle as this photo.

Also check my images of the Tinkers' Tower in Sighişoara

18 June 2007

Dracula's Coronation (1456)

Dracula's coronation - beginning of the second reign

It was not easy for the boyars and the population to identify Vlad, in the summer of 1456. He left the country when he was only a twelve years old child, and only came back for a short period of time in 1448. How could they know he really was the son of Vlad Dracul and not an impostor? The first to recognize him where the old boyars, like jupân Manea Udriste, the chancellor Cazan and a few other old boyars.

Besides those testimonials, there was in Wallachia, but also in Moldavia, another safe way to identify the son of a principle. The new born boy is being “signed” with a burned hot iron, in order to be later easy to recognize as a real son of the principle. At the end, this signs, together with an edict of the Sultan, presented by his mother, allow the identification. Probably as identification signs there was the sun, the moon and a star, that were also present on the national flag, around a rook.

After the identification, the coronation ceremony follows. The ceremony for crowning Vlad took place in the metropolitan church in Curtea de Argeş that Vlad knew pretty well as this was built by his father and inaugurated on August, 15th 1439. Seems like after the coronation ceremony in the church boyars exit and climbed a tribune from where they asked the people “Your principle Vladislav is dead ! Who do you want to choose as a principle ?” all of them answered: “we want only Vlad, son of Vlad !” The ceremony was in a Slavonic language, as in the middle age in Wallachia the official language was pretty similar to the one in Bulgaria, Serbia or Ukraine. The principle was “oiled” ("uns" in Romanian) with special oil made up of thirty essences and blessed in the sacred Thursday. This oil came from Constantinople where the patriarch and metropolitan churches heads were preparing it during a special ceremony. Then he sits the throne and all boyars, heads of the church, military heads, etc come kiss his right hand.

After the ceremony the day ends with a huge dinner.

1459, the attack against Braşov

17 June 2007

Sighisoara Tinkers' Tower

Sighisoara towers

As mentioned in a previous post about Sighisoara, the old medieval town was protected by 14 defending towers, all given in care to different castes.
Tinkers' Tower, still standing today is a strange building. Built on a triangular base, the tower has a pentagonal shape, with the upper part having an octagonal shape. The exact date when construction started is unknown, however what we know is that important consolidation work has been done in 1583.

Here is a photo of the tower taken by myself in April 2007.

10 June 2007

Dracula related places -Sighisoara, Bran Castle, Targoviste

Places related to the story of Vlad Dracula

Understanding the real life of Vlad Dracula means also contextualizing the facts, trying to imagine him in the medieval age, with people, habits, culture and the places of that age. Therefore this corner presents that places, at least what is still existing today.

SIGHIŞOARA - the medieval town

Sighisoara is the birth place of Vlad III, and the place where the future Dracula spent it's childhood. Have a look at this posts to have a better image of Sighisoara:

Poienari Castle

If we know today that Bran Castle can hardly be connected with Vlad III Dracula, than which is the real Dracula Castle ?

Targsor Prahova

is less known as being connected with the myth of Dracula, therefore is the less touristy of all Dracula places.

Medieval Saxon Citadels

A great cultural heritage of Transylvania are the medieval citadels and fortified churches. Few people know, but there are about 1000 middle-age fortifications in Romania.

In April number National Geographic Romania published some great images aiming reconstitue the way this fortification looked.

Snagov Monastery

Vlad Tepes' buildings: Snagov, Comana, Târgovişte, Poienari, Bucharest Old Court

Slide-show presenting Snagov Monastery and Lake

Photos of Sighisoara

Photos of Sighisoara

While visiting Sighisoara few weeks ago, I took some photo in the town where Vlad III (that later took the name of Vlad Dracula) was born and spent it's childhood !

This is how people was dressed in the XVth century, they are just in front of the house where Vlad Dracula was born:

Stairs are always fascinating me, especially stairs of Sighisoara. Besides the well-known covered stair, going uphill where the schools is, there are equally fascinating.

The Clock Tower of Sighisoara is the symbol of the town and meantime one of the most beautiful medieval buildings in Eastern Europe. Now the clock tower acts as museum and from the top of it one can admire the whole medieval town as well as the surrounding area. Objects from the medieval age, as well as a smal hall dedicated to Hermann Oberth (1894-1989), founder of astronautics adn inventor of the first rocket are to be seen.

09 June 2007

Short clips, slideshows and other media resources about Dracula

Besides the well-known Dracula Movies, there are thousands of short clips, slideshows, interesting images about Dracula and Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) that (most probably) has inspired Bram Stoker for his book.

Let's start with this slideshow containing images from movies (starting with Dracula, 1931 - the image of Bella Lugosi), the well-known portrait of Vlad the Impaler as well as a relaxing music:

The Immortal, Vampire Myth

Another short clip is this one, rather amusing, called bride of Dracula

Gerard Butler. Dracula makes the music of the night, a nice slideshow.

The Immortal Vampire Myth

I found this slideshow pretty interesting. A nice mix of romantism, horror, movie images and a decent music, all dominated by the image of Vlad Dracula:

bride of Dracula

I found this short video about a "bride of Dracula". Pretty amusing, enjoy :