So who was Dracula?

Was he real ? or he is just the invention of a great novelist?

Well the answer is very simple. There are two Draculas. There is a real Dracula who was the ruler of Wallachia (southern Romania) back in the 15th century. And there is a fictional Dracula, a sophisticate vampire,  who just borrowed the name from the real one, but they don’t share much else.

On this article we will talk about the real Dracula since we all  know everything about the fictional Dracula, but little is known about the real Dracula

So once again who was Dracula?

The real Dracula was the second son of Vlad Dracul, born in November 1431 in a little town in Transylvania nowadays Romania. The house where Dracula was born still exists in Transylvania, and we often visit the place on our Dracula Tours or Halloween tour

Dracula's house in Sighisoara
Dracula’s father painted on a wall in their house in Sighisoara

The name Dracul literally means The Devil. Vlad Dracul was a Dragon Knight, a very exclusive Society of Crusaders only reserved for high-ranked nobleman. Proud to be a Dragon Knight, Dracul adopted the dragon symbol on his flags, on his royal seal, and even the money that he printed. In the local folklore the Dragon is the devil. Therefore people called him Vlad the Devil “Vlad Dracul” in Romanian.

His son inherited the name from his father and called himself Dracula, in the same way as in English son of John will be called Johnson our son of David becomes Davidson. So son of Dracul becomes Dracula. Therefore you can say the Dracula literally means son of the devil.

So what is the connection between Vlad Dracula and Transylvania?

The real Dracula statue
The statue of real Dracula in hist birthtown Sighisoara

Despite being royalty of Wallachia, Vlad Dracula was born in Transylvania. There were two dynasties fighting for the throne of Wallachia,  the Dracula’s Dynasty and the Danes Dynasty. They would kick each other out of power and succeed to the throne . in 1431 when Dracula was born the Danes dynasty was in power in Wallachia and the Dracula’s family was fugitive in Transylvania seeking support from the Hungarian King to get back on the throne of their country.

Later on the Young Dracula will be exiled to Transylvania, due to his failed attempt to get on the throne of Wallachia. But we will talk about this in the future article about his life. so stay tuned cuz we will continue to reveal the real life of Dracula, which I believe is far more interesting send fictional blood-sucking Dracula that you see in the Hollywood movies.

To be continued

 

More and more people ask us about the Turda salt mine. What is there? We heard is an amusement park … underground. Why would they make an amusement park underground in the salt mine. 

turda salt mine
fantastic lighting in the salt mine
 

Well it all started somewhere in the 1200s when the first documents talk about the salt exploitation in Turda. Back then salt was prime resource, and it was worth it’s weight in gold. Salt mining was done entirely manual, and it was one of the most dangerous jobs. The salt was cut into big blocks from the floor of the mine, then transported vertically to the surface using a horse powerd elevator. 

The mines have a bell shape 90 maters high, with a diameter of about 4 meters on the top and 87 meters wide at the bottom. Shaped like this the mine walls were stable and was less prone to collapse. 

 

turda salt mine in transylvania
two sections of the mine intersect
 Mining stopped here in 1930, when you were and more productive mines were opened in other regions of Transylvania. 1950 the mine was open as a tourist attraction, then between 2008 and 2010 the mine went through a serious renovation to be opened again for public in 2010.

In Romania there is a strong belief that the salty air in the salt mines has beneficial effects on health, especially onrespiratory conditions. That’s why a lot of Romanians go to the salt mines for a salty air cure. In Turda salt mine, there is a even a spa area where people go for the salty air treatments. But most people just want to spend a day or two in inhaling ionized salty air inside the mind. So for these people, who spend the whole day in the mine, there are a couple of entertainment facilities down there including a Ferris wheel, pool tables, minigolf, a small amphitheater and even some boats on the small lake at the bottom of the bell shaped mine. 

turda salt mine  underground amusement park
rowing boats on the on the ground lake
 That’s why the amusement park is not the primary reason why people go to Turda salt mine, but seeds people spend a lot of time in the mine they needed some activities to kill the time.

For the tourist the main attraction is the amazing site of the mine. Down there it feels like out of this world. The sheer size of the mind is just impressive. One of the bell shaped mines is 90 meters high, with glossy black salt walls, and amazing patterns created by various layers of colored salt. The lighting in the salt mine adds to this atmosphere. Neons hiking from the ceiling, and brilliantly lit structures would make you think you are in a science-fiction movie set. You feel like an ant down there, so small compared to everything that surrounds you. 

  

Where is Turda salt mine?

Turda salt mine is located 30 km south of Cluj Napoca, in the middle of Transylvania. Is about 6 hours driving from Bucharest but you can fly to Cluj Napoca and drive from there 45 minutes. 

Alternatively you can join our complete tour of Romania which includes a visit to the salt mine, or request a custom tour to include it. Make sure you have at least four days for this, since it would be a shame not to see the rest of the things that are on the way.

If you visit Romania for a couple of days and you have some spare time I would strongly recommend going to Turda salt mine. The words are not enough to describe the experience of visiting this place. The mind is open every day from 9AM till 5 PM,  last entrance is at 4 PM. Entrance fee is 20 lei per person.

For more information visit www.Salinaturda.eu