25 Gory And Bloody Facts About the Real Dracula

Vlad III, also known as Vlad Tepes (the Impaler), or just Dracula, was a three-time Voivode (ruler) of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462, the period of the incipient Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. He is considered a folklore hero in many parts of Eastern Europe for his bloody battles to protect Orthodox Christianity from the invading Ottomans. As the cognomen “the Impaler” suggests, his practice of impaling his Turkish enemies is part of his reputation, while his lust for blood would make him, hundreds of years after his death, one of the most popular figures in pop culture history. Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s famous 1897 novel was inspired by Vlad’s patronymic and reputation, while every film, TV show, literary work, comic book, or video game that has portrayed vampires has been inspired by him in one way or another. Of course, Dracula didn’t go out only at night to find innocent victims to drain of their blood as movies usually depict a vampire doing, but historical sources show us that Vlad did indeed have a taste for blood. After he impaled his enemies, he would dip bread into buckets of their blood and eat it. But if that’s the only thing you know about Dracula—the real man behind the myth—then get ready, because you are about to learn 25 Gory And Bloody Facts About the Real Dracula.

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The real historical Dracula was Vlad III (AKA Vlad the Impaler). He was born in Sighisoara, Transylvania, in 1431. A restaurant sits at the site of his birthplace today and receives thousands of tourists annually from all over the world.

Sighisoara, TransylvaniaSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Castelul-bran-iarna.jpg
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Dracula’s father was called Dracul, meaning “dragon” according to some sources, and “devil” according to others, because he belonged to the Order of the Dragon, which fought the Ottoman Empire.

DraculSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_II_Dracul
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However, Dracula’s mother is unknown, though at the time, his father was believed to have been married to Princess Cneajna of Moldavia. Because he had a number of mistresses at all times, nobody can be sure which was Dracula’s real mother.

Dracula's motherSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: http://www.reusableart.com/kid-images-18.html
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Dracula lived in a time of constant war. Transylvania was at the frontier of two great empires: the Ottoman and the Austrian Habsburgs. He was imprisoned at a young age, first by the Turks, who hauled him away in chains, and later by the Hungarians. Dracula’s father was murdered, while his older brother, Mircea, was blinded with red-hot iron stakes and buried alive, two facts that contributed a lot to him becoming so vile and vicious later in life.

TransylvaniaSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wallachia_cca1390_fr.svg
21

It is believed that a young Dracula spent some time in Constantinople in 1443 in the court of Constantine XI Palaiologos, a legendary figure of Greek folklore and the final emperor of the Byzantine Empire. It is suggested by some historians that it was there that he developed his hate toward the Ottomans.

Constantine XI PalaiologosSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_XI_Palaiologos
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It is believed Dracula was married twice. His first wife’s identity is unknown, though she may have been a Transylvanian noblewoman. She bore his son and heir, Mihnea cel Rau. He married a second time after his period of imprisonment in Hungary. Ilona Szilagyi was the daughter of a Hungarian noble, and she bore him two sons, neither of whom became rulers.

Dracula's wifeSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:6._Zrinyi_Ilona.jpg
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The name Tepes is Romanian for “the Impaler.” It was a title given to him posthumously.

DictionarySource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dic%C8%9Bionarul_explicativ_al_limbii_rom%C3%A2ne
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Vlad III earned his “Impaler” moniker by killing thousands of Turks and others by the grisly method that he learned during his teens, when he was a political hostage of the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople.

constantinopleSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantinople#/media/File:Constantinople_1453.jpg
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It’s estimated that Dracula was responsible for the death of more than one hundred thousand people (most of them Turks), making him the single most vicious enemy the Ottoman Empire ever faced.

Source: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_III_the_Impaler#/media/File:Tepes4.jpgSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_III_the_Impaler#/media/File:Tepes4.jpg
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In 1462, while the war between the Ottoman Empire and Dracula’s Wallachia was being waged, Sultan Mehmed II fled with his army, intimidated at the sight of twenty thousand Turkish impaled corpses rotting on the outskirts of Vlad’s capital city of Targoviste.

Sultan Mehmed IISource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_campaigns_of_Mehmed_the_Conqueror#/media/File:Sarayi_Album_10a.jpg
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During one battle, Dracula retreated to nearby mountains, impaling people as he went. This forced the Turkish forces to stop going after him because the sultan could not bear the stench from the decaying corpses.

ImpalingSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Disasters_of_War#/media/File:Prado_-_Los_Desastres_de_la_Guerra_-_No._39_-_Grande_haza%C3%B1a,_con_muertos.jpg
14

Impaled corpses were displayed as a warning to others, while their white, blood-drained appearance with a visible neck wound perpetuated the notion that Vlad Tepes was a vampire.

ImpalingSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler#/media/File:Impaled.gif
13

During the times he had to retreat so he wouldn’t be captured by his enemies, he would burn down his own villages and murder hundreds of local people along the way so that the Ottoman army would have nowhere to rest or find women to rape.

Source: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler#/media/File:AtaculdeNoapte.jpgSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler#/media/File:AtaculdeNoapte.jpg
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In an attempt to clean up the streets of the capital of Wallachia (Targoviste), Dracula invited all the sick, vagrants, and beggars over to one of his homes under the pretext of a feast. After they all had a delicious (last) meal, Dracula left, locked them all in, and burned the building to the ground.

targovisteSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Curtea_Domneasca_-_Targoviste_(judetul_Dambovita).jpg
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When he was older, Vlad was eventually captured and decapitated during a Turkish invasion and his head was given to the sultan, who impaled it outside his palace so everybody could see it.

BattleSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Turkish_War_(1877%E2%80%9378)
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It is believed that archaeologists who were searching for Snagov (commune outside Bucharest) in 1931 found Dracula’s remains. The contents were transferred to the History Museum in Bucharest, but they later disappeared without a trace, leaving the mysteries of the real Prince Dracula unanswered.

snagovSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snagov
9

Despite his cruelty, Dracula was very religious and surrounded himself with priests and monks throughout his life. He founded five monasteries, while it is estimated that during a period of 150 years, his family established over fifty monasteries.

Orthodox monasterySource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Snagov_monastery,_lateral_view.JPG
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That’s probably why the Vatican originally praised him for defending Christianity and being so religious, but it would later disapprove of his cruel methods and cut its ties with him.

VaticanSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:0_Place_Saint-Pierre_-_Vatican.JPG
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In Turkey, Dracula is regarded as a monstrous and vile leader who took gratuitous pleasure in the painful execution of his enemies. However, Russian sources describe his deeds as justified.

vlad_the_impaler_and_the_turkish_envoysSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler#/media/File:Theodor_Aman_-_Vlad_the_Impaler_and_the_Turkish_Envoys.jpg
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Dracula enjoyed enormous popularity during the second half of the twentieth century. More than two hundred films were made featuring Count Dracula, more than any other historical figure (directly or indirectly). At the center of this subculture is the legend of Transylvania, which has become almost synonymous with vampires.

Count DraculaSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Dracula#/media/File:Bela_lugosi_dracula.jpg
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Former Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu, the communist ruler of the country from 1965 to 1989, promoted Vlad’s patriotism to further his nationalistic agenda, which targeted Hungarians and other ethnic minorities in Transylvania.

Nicolae CeausescuSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolae_Ceau%C8%99escu%27s_cult_of_personality#/media/File:TimbruNicolaeCeausescu.png
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Contrary to popular belief, the vampire is not part of Romanian folklore, and the word is not from the Romanian language. The word derives from the Serbian “vampyr.”

Serbian languageSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_symbols_of_Bulgaria#/media/File:Old_Bulgarian_Alphabet.png
3

A contemporary portrait of Vlad III, rediscovered by Romanian historians in the late nineteenth century, had been featured in the gallery of horrors at Innsbruck’s Ambras Castle. The original has been lost to history, but a larger copy, painted anonymously in the first half of the sixteenth century, now hangs in the same gallery. This copy, unlike the crypto-portraits contemporary with Vlad III, seems to have given him a Habsburg lip.

portrait of Vlad IIISource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler#/media/File:Vlad_Tepes_002.jpg
2

According to the book In Search of Dracula, Vlad had a sense of humor in his own strange way. The book describes how his victims would often twitch around “like frogs” as they were impaled. Vlad found this amusing and according to the book, he once stated about his victims, “Oh, what great gracefulness they exhibit.”

impaling2Source: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impalement#/media/File:Empalement.jpg
1

It looks like Dracula was into social experiments way before they became cool. To prove how much his citizens feared him, he placed a gold cup in the middle of the town square in Targoviste. He allowed people to drink from it, but the golden cup had to remain at its position at all times. Amazingly, during his entire reign, the golden cup was never touched, even though the city was inhabited by sixty thousand citizens, most of them living in extreme poverty.

Golden CupSource: Vlad the Impaler: In Search of the Real Dracula, Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trialeti_culture


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