BETWEEN LEGEND AND REALITY
Dracula or Vlad the Impaler was the son of Vlad Dracul (1436-1442; 1443-1447) and grandson of Mircea the Old (1386-1418). Vlad Dracul was dubbed a knight of the Dragon Order by the Hungarian king. All the members of the order had a dragon on their coat of arms, and that is what brought him the nickname of Dracul (the Devil). Vlad the Impaler used to sign himself Draculea or Draculya - the Devil's son -, a name which was distorted into Dracula.Dracula's renown reached the West through the Saxons from the Transylvanian towns of Brasov (Kronstadt) and Sibiu (Hermannstadt), who often gave shelter to those who claimed the Wallachian throne. In order to escape the peril of losing his throne, Vlad would punish the Saxons. Sibiu and the neighbouring area were pillaged and burnt down by Vlad, and many Saxons were impaled. The same happened to the Saxon merchants who came on business to Tirgoviste.
In fact, Vlad was called Tepes (the Impaler) only after his death
(1476). He ruled in Wallachia between 1456-1462 and in 1476. In 1462, having been defeated
by the Turks, Vlad took refuge in Hungary. In 1476, with the help of the Hungarian king
Matia Corvin and the Moldavian prince Stephen the Great, Vlad took over the Wallachian
throne again for a month. A battle followed, during which Vlad was killed. His body was
buried in the church of the Snagov Monastery, on an island near Bucharest. His body lies
in front of the altar. In 1935, a richly dressed but beheaded corpse was exhumed at
Snagov, a fate known to have overtaken Dracula, whose head was supposedly wrapped,
perfumed and dispatched as a gift to the Turkish sultan.
Romania is situated in south-eastern Europe between latitudes 43 37' 07" north and longitudes 20 15' 44" east, extending approximately 480 km north to south and 640 km east to west. The country has an area of 237,750 sq. km and a population of over 23,000,000 of which 89% are Romanians, 7% Hungarians, 2% Gypsies, with small minorities of Germans, Slovaks, Turks, Russians, Bulgarians, Croats, Tartars, Czechs, Greeks, Jews, Americans, Polish, Albanians...
The Carpathians mountains are in the center of the country, bordered on both sides by hills and plateaus and finally the great plains of the outer rim. Forests cover over a quarter of the country and the fauna is one of the richest in Europe including wolves, bears, deer, lynx and chamois.
The mighty Danube forms the southern boundary of the country terminating in the Delta on the Black Sea, a heaven for countless native and migratory birds. Countries sharing borders with Romania are: Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Republic of Moldavia and Ukraine.
The climate is
temperate-continental, characteristic of Central Europe (hot summer cold winters, very
distinct seasons, abundant snowfalls especially in the mountains). Warmest areas are in
area of Romania is 91,699 sq. miles (237,500 sq. km and its population, according to the
1992 census, is 22,788,993, mainly Romanian, alongside Hungarian, German and Gypsy
minorities. About 55% of Romania's inhabitants live in urban areas, and the rest in rural
@made by Sof