Bram Stoker’s version of Dracula stands for one of the most horrifying monsters in literature. This version is an example of a “conventional vampire” – brooding, elegant, and with a thirst for human blood. Despite his insatiable thirst for human blood, he is no match to his real-life namesake: Vlad ii, or Vlad the Impaler. Here are 15 things you might now know about the Prince of Wallachia:
1. The Real Historical Dracula Was Vlad III
Vlad III — also known as Vlad the Impaler — was a historical figure. Vlad was born in Sighisoara, Transylvania, in 1431. He was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans.
2. Dracul Means “Dragon”
Some sources say that Dracula’s father was called Dracul, meaning “dragon”. However, some say it means “devil”, due to the fact that Vlad II got his nickname after being inducted into the Order of the Dragon, an order which was to protect Europe and fight the enemies of Christianity, i.e. the Ottoman Empire.
3. Dracula Lived In A Time Of Constant War
Unfortunately for the Romanian people, Transylvania was located at the frontier of two great empires at the time: the Austrian Habsburgs and the Ottoman. For this reason, he was often tortured both by the Turks, who imprisoned him at a young age, and later the Hungarians, who hauled him away in chains.
4. Dracula Spent Some Time In Constantinople
It is said that a young Dracula went to Constantinople in 1443 to meet Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire and a legendary figure of Greek folklore. Some historians claim that this visit of the Byzantine Empire contributed to Vlad’s hatred toward the Ottomans.
5. Dracula Was Married Twice
The identity of his first wife is still unknown, but it is assumed that she may have been a Transylvanian countess. She bore his son and heir, Mihnea cel Rau. After his first marriage, he spent some time imprisoned in Hungary, where he met Ilona Szilagyi, the daughter of a Hungarian noble, who later became his wife and bore him two sons.
6. His Nickname “Impaler” Comes From Killing Thousand Of Turks By Impaling
Perhaps the best-known fact about Vlad III is his nickname. It came from killing thousands of Turks by the terrifying method he learned during his younghood when he was a political hostage of the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople.
7. Sultan Mehmed II And His Army Fled When They Saw Twenty Thousand Turkish Impaled Corpses
In 1462, during the heat of the battle between Dracula’s Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mehmed II and his army fled, frightened at the sight of twenty thousand Turkish impaled corpses left to rot on the outskirts of Vlad’s capital city of Targoviste.
8. Dracula Impaled People Along His Way
During one battle, Dracula had to retreat to nearby mountains, impaling people along the way. The Turkish forces went out in search of him but had to stop pursuing him because the sultan could not bear the decaying corpses stench.
9. Dracula Burnt Down Villages
During the times of retreat and flight, Dracula would murder hundreds of local people and burn down his own villages to prevent the Ottomans from finding women to rape or having a place to rest.
10. Dracula Used Cruel Methods To Get Rid Of Tramps
Dracula gathered all the sick, beggars and vagrants over to one of his castles under the pretext of a feast in an attempt to clean up the streets of the city of Targoviste. After treating them with a delicious meal, Dracula locked them all in, left and burned the building to the ground.
11. Dracula Was Beheaded
Vlad was eventually captured and beheaded during a Turkish invasion. The Turkish army handed it over to the sultan, who impaled it outside his palace so people could rest assured Vlad was dead.
12. The Dracula’s Remains Disappeared Without A Trace
In 1931, during a search for Snagov, a commune near Bucharest, archeologists found Dracula’s remains. The remains were transferred to the History Museum in Bucharest, but it turned out they disappeared with no trace.
13. Dracula Was Religious
Despite his brutality, Dracula was a religious count who surrounded himself with monks and priests throughout his life. He founded five monasteries, while his family founded over fifty monasteries during a period of 150 years.
14. Dracula Was Extremely Popular During The Second Half Of The 20th Century
More than 200 movies were made featuring count Dracula, more than any other historical figure. Dracula and the legend of Transylvania have become almost synonymous with vampires. However, the truth is that the word derives from the Serbian “vampyr”.
15. Dracula Had A Sense Of Humor
In the book “In Search of Dracula”, Vlad is said to have a sense of humor in his own peculiar way. The book describes his victims twitching around “like frogs” as they were impaled. Vlad found impaling people amusing, so he once stated about his victims, “Oh, what great gracefulness they exhibit”.