Travel Guides, Albums - Romania

Dracula Legend

Vlad Tepes

Vlad Tepes.

Vlad Tepes was born in November or December of 1431 in the Transylvanian city of Sighisoara. At the time his father, Vlad II (Vlad Dracul), was living in exile in Transylvania. The house where he was born is still standing. It was located in a prosperous neighborhood surrounded by the homes of Saxon and Magyar merchants and the townhouses of the nobility.

Vlad Tepes served three times as Voievod of the Romanian people in Valachia over a period of 30 years : his first term lasted for two months in the fall of 1448. The second, and longest reign, was between 1456 and 1462. Vlad the Impaler was elected Voievod (King) again in 1476 and served for only two months (November and December) before his death. Dracula spent a number of years in various prisons, totaling 26 of his 46 years of life.

Between 1448 and 1456, he was in exile in Moldavia and Transylvania. He regained power over Wallachia in 1456, which was being held by Iancu of Hunedoara, Voievod of Transylvania. Vlad the Impaler wanted to make the internal political position of the Voievod very powerful. Many years of fighting for power had created instability within the country. At that time, some of the Boyars (wealthy landowners) abused and tortured the poor. That abuse hindered the country’s resistance to invasion. He understood that the principal cause of instability for the state was the struggle for power among the nobility.

Vlad Tepes understood that it was very important for Valachia to protect its trade, so he made some special rules to protect his country against the German and Saxon importers who were unhappy with that. When the Saxons, (living in Transylvania), traded with Germany and Western Europe, they demonstrated negative feelings about Vlad Tepes.

Vlad Tepes was in captivity from early 1462 to 1474. In the year 1474, his cousin Sthephan the Great Voievod of Moldavia won the battle against Matthias Corvinus at Baia and forced him to set Vlad the Impaler free. Reason for freeing Vlad Tepes was to use him as Voievod of Wallachia to fight against the Ottoman invasion. Finally, Matthias Corvinus was more interested in getting him back into fighting against the Turks as he had before.In 1476 with the help of Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary and Transylvania and Voievod Sthephan the Great of Moldavia, Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) become Voievod of Wallachia for the third time. This term lasted only two months ending in his death.

There are many versions about how his death occurred, but they all have the same foundation. The most popular version was that Vlad the Impaler died in a forest called Coltul Bolesti close to Bucharest, which is the capital of Romania. In this forest exists a small lake called Witches Lake. Here it is always foggy and thunder and lightning hits the forest frequently. Animals never touch the water and people talk about a lot of strange things, that happened in past times.

Vlad the Impaler was well known for the punishment that he adopted, the impalement, this is the reason why he was named Tepes, which means The Impaler. The method of impaling criminals and enemies and raising them aloft in the town square for all to see is associated with his ruthless image. Almost any crime, from lying and stealing to killing, could be punished by impalement.