Dracula, where are you?

Transylvania Travel Blog

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The best part of any city are the characters you find there.
Everyone knows of “Transylvania” from Bram Stoker’s horror novel Dracula. In reality, Bram Stoker was an Irishman who never visited Romania. Some say that the character was loosely based on the local fiend, Vlad the Impaler, but in any case Dracula the vampire was most decidedly fictional.

We didn’t come to this area for the Dracula lore, but I really expected to see it all over Transylvania. It seems like something the local communities would play up… for the tourists, of course. I am happy to say that Brasov, at least, is Dracula-free. We made a walking tour of the city center today, and didn’t see one reference to Dracula... or any other vampires for that matter.

For our tour, we carried a tourist’s map of Brasov, nicely numbered and marked with the town’s main attractions.
Wedding photos at Ecaterina’s Gate.
Along the way, we saw several other people doing the same thing, but no big tour groups or anything like that. It was overall pretty quiet.

First we headed towards the city’s fortified wall. The route we happened to choose led us to a bonanza of sights from our map, the first being 13th century Rope Street. This is a very narrow street and I could reach both sides with my arms easily. Hmmm, seems like the people at the tourist office were grasping at straws with this one.

Next we passed by two gates, the lovely Ecaterina’s Gate (1559) and the more plain Schei Gate (1827), as well as an historic Synogogue (1899), which was closed to visitors for Shabat.  

There is a restored tower at the old fortified wall just below Mount Tampo -- called the Weaver’s Bastion (the weaver’s guild was responsible for establishing and maintaining this area of the city’s defense) -- that houses the Museum of the Medieval City of Brasov.
The Weaver's Bastion.
The museum was small and fairly unremarkable, with a few medieval costumes and weapons, and an interesting model of the city as it once was. We could not go up in the tower, as the tile floor there “is very old” according to the lady working the front desk.

Next up was the Black Church. It’s not black on the outside, but I understand the walls inside are charred from a long-ago fire. We could not go inside, as a wedding was about to take place. It was built starting in the 14th century, and is an interesting piece of gothic architecture. Pretty cool.

After wandering around the main square near the church, I wanted to check out the city’s other surviving section of fortified wall. It was pretty hard to find for being such a big chunk of wall! We finally found the thing, then walked along it near a small canal.
Dusk on the plaza.
  There were lots of teenagers just hanging out. I guess it is the place to be (no mall here :^). There we also saw the 15th century Graft Bastion, which spans the canal, and also the Black Tower (also reportedly burned by fire but not looking the least bit black) and the White Tower. From this area, we could see a path leading up the mountain, but it looked a little rough, unmarked, and very steep … Naaah! Maybe later.  And this concluded our walking tour of Brasov.

All of this took place late in the afternoon. I had actually spent most of the day -- from 7am to 3pm -- playing travel agent in the room. The bookings for Croatia are proving to be very, very challenging. Steve helped me out, and together we found accommodation for just 5 of 14 nights…yikes! I am now 100% positive that visiting Croatia in the high season will prove to be a huge mistake, but I already have the airline tickets and the car (which perhaps we will end up sleeping in), so there is no turning back now.
The travel agents hard at work, and accomplishing nothing.
Hopefully tomorrow will yield better results.

For dinner, we ended up at cute and cavernous Bistro de l’Arte, for tasty salads and wine. Steve also had Hungarian Stew, which was a little unseasonal since it was very hot in the restaurant, but he reports it was delicious.

Tomorrow we will hopefully be able to hunt up accommodations for Croatia (it’s right around the corner!). We will also visit the famous Castle Bran… where maybe we will hunt up a vampire or two?  

 
 
fr3yam says:
I just love the way you wrote about my country ;) Thanks, maybe more will start visiting it and really appreciating the "land of choice" :)
Posted on: Jun 24, 2009
pinchora says:
awesome... it looks like you got to see some great and amazing things!!!
Posted on: Aug 04, 2008
abuglio says:
Great pics. What a contrast from the past couple of months!
Posted on: Aug 03, 2008
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The best part of any city are the …
The best part of any city are the…
Wedding photos at Ecaterina’s Ga…
Wedding photos at Ecaterina’s G…
The Weavers Bastion.
The Weaver's Bastion.
Dusk on the plaza.
Dusk on the plaza.
The travel agents hard at work, an…
The travel agents hard at work, a…
Rope Street? Because its long and…
Rope Street? Because it's long an…
Heres the deal on Rope Street.
Here's the deal on Rope Street.
Steve traverses Rope Street.
Steve traverses Rope Street.
The Synagogue.
The Synagogue.
Sunshine through the peaks of Ecat…
Sunshine through the peaks of Eca…
Model city at Museum of the Mediev…
Model city at Museum of the Medie…
Look, another church.
Look, another church.
This Orthodox Cathedral smells lik…
This Orthodox Cathedral smells li…
The Graft Bastion over the towns …
The Graft Bastion over the town's…
The Black Tower. We admired it fro…
The Black Tower. We admired it fr…
The Black Church. More of a dark g…
The Black Church. More of a dark …
Formal introductions have now been…
Formal introductions have now bee…
Transylvania
photo by: Marius1981