Friday, May 27, 2005

Traveling to Transylvania?

Many people who read Bram Stoker’s Dracula assume Transylvania, home country of the vampire, is fictitious. In fact, it’s a region of some 24,000 square miles in the Carpathian Mountains of what is now Romania. In Roman times, it was part of the Dacia province. Later, it was part of Hungary, then for a time became independent. It fell under the dominion of Austria in 1765, became part of Austria-Hungary when the joint kingdom was created in 1867, and was encompassed by Romania after World War I.

While the name conjures visages of fantastic, forbidding mountains, Transylvania is actually a beautiful, fertile land noted for its production of wine, fruits and other edibles. Most Romanians of ethnic Hungarian descent live there.

Historically, the real Count Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, inhabited that general vicinity in southestern Europe during the 15th Century. His grotesque exploits are summarized in Volume One of my “strange history” compendium, Blithering Antiquity.


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