[quote author=Kaid115 link=topic=10188.msg138457#msg138457 date=1227742306]
Oh lol, for some reason I thought that was the wooden plaque.
[/quote] Radu pointed out to me that the eyes in the picture are Mongol. The only known image of Draculea's father, was discovered when the walls were being cleaned during restorations headed up by the Romanian government many years ago.
The room is a restaurant now, I'd love to have taken one of the dinner plates home, green with the emblem of the Order of the Dragon. Will return probally in September and spend a night in Sighisoara while particpating in the TSD sponsored initiation tour for investment as a knight.
31 October. Dracula's Castle (Borgo Pass). - Boarding the coach, we ascended the Borgo Pass after leaving Bistritz as Stoker knew it. Along the Birgau valley we saw many villages but had a delay because of road construction. While we waited to proceed I began looking at the narrow mountain road ahead of us, looking down the sides of the Carpathian slopes as we continued on. We saw towns, castles on top of steep hills, ran by rivers and streams, capturing the essence of Harker's trail just as described in 'Dracula'. The Tihuta passage and â€œDornaâ€ region were some of the most beautiful I had seen, Harker had found them frightful and I couldn't help trying to capture his feelings as he made his journey into the shadows aboard the Black Coach.
We saw Carpathian gorges, fitting Stoker's description perfectly, finally arriving at Stoker's Castle (Dracula Castle hotel) in Piatra Fantanele for the annual Grande Masquerade on Halloween night. 11 o'clock, I quickly acquired my room, the fourth room on the second floor and sat down my luggage near my bed for the evening which I couldn't help but snap a picture of as a guest of the vampire count. Once again I couldn't help but think of Harker's experience as he was led to his quarters by Dracula. Reaching the lobby I noticed a portrait of Dr. Elizabeth Miller, of whom I had spoken of as my fellow travlers and I were discussing the original novel. I had a copy over a hundred years old appraised through someone she knew and with whom I had been in contact with shortly before I departed. After a short photo session near the statue of Bram Stoker outside the castle we visited the open-air market nearby where I purchased among other things, a bottle of vampire wine (PJROT ROJR Vincan Viancea). 4 o'clock came, I was told I needed to begin preparing my costume so I made my way the eleventh room on my floor where Abbey and Natalie, two female group members had offered to help me apply the foam latex facial prosthetic for my reproduction of the vampires in the 1987 cult phenomenon, 'The Lost Boys'. Abbey applied the application and Natalie did the makeup and shading, after about an hour or so I emerged back in my room to apply the theatrical f/x contact lenses from the film and dental acrylic fang reproductions likewise which left my roomate in awe of me. No one had gone to the lengths I had in preparing my costume, having seen and optometrist and orthodontist to have these reproducitons made and I was immediately lined up for many photo sessions throughout the evening.
We experienced the ultimate Halloween Monster Mash masquerade bash and late-night party. Music, dancing, treats and a campfire where live media televised the event throughout Europe. The partying continued into the wee hours of the morning when we were led into the depths of the Castle's dungeon where the vampire's box lay in a muraled room, where we were told if you wished an audience with the Count you would lay in the coffin and draw the lid until opened and you were granted a visit but if he wasn't there or in London you'd have to try again another night. I did so and laid in the box and photographed the room before making my way back up to remove the facial appliances and get more comfortable. Castle Management had given specific instructions for the people spending a night at Dracula Castle just as Dracula instructs Harker that he could go anywhere but the places with locked doors and to avoid the woods in the surroundings, private cemetaries and houses. No one would believe that we had slept here, at the reception there is a seal - "Castle Dracula", unique in the world , that can be placed on your passport of ID card. I had it placed inside a personal notebook instead and quietly retired to my quarters. As I did so I looked out of my window and began to imagine seeing Dracula, almost decedning down the evolutionary chain from human to aninal, scaling the walls of the castle as Harker looked on. I laid in my bed with a recording of Dracula's three brides when they first emerge out of the sheets to feed on Harker after he wanders the castle during Dracula's absence and enters a luxurious salon where the brides are kept, yielding to their seduction in their encounter with Jonathan, "You are first and we shall follow." With their "high aquiline noses", two dark-haired women and one blonde, Harker is both attracted and repulsed by them, red lips with white pointed teeth and the stinch of blood on their breath. I thought these strange scenes as I drifted off to sleep, a moonless night on All Hallows Eve.
It's been a little while since i posted here but some developments have happened. The TSD (Transylvanian Society of Dracula) puts out material quarterly and the latest artlcle features me and the journal I wrote which I shared with everyone here so that is very exciting to me. I'll now post the last two entries for everyone and will be returning to Romania for an initiation tour for knighthood and investigate the life and times of Vlad the Impaler - Dracula in June.
2 November. True Castle of Dracula: Poenari Citadel & Club Dracula.-During my own investigations into Draculea one place came to dominate my research, that of Draculea's inaccessable mountain top castle on a narrow mountain summit 1,500 feet above the River Arges, the real Castle of Dracula: Poenari Citadel. This place was the reason I came to Romania, beginning with a documentery early in 2007 over the bloodline of the Dracula family tree. The story of Radu Florescu and his family's own misfortune and tragedy that seemed at times to be victims of some sort of curse. They are related to him by marriage and are the ancestors of one of his bitterest enemies, Vintil? Florescu. I began searching out every historically credible piece of history about the site but little suspected then that my own findings would one day lead me to Castle Dracula and surprising results.
We headed north up the Arges Valley and finally arrived in the vicinity of the castle. I was very imapatient at this point, the coach couldn't open its doors fast enough as I literally ran to begin the 1,486 step climb up to the fortress. The sun beat down but the overgrowth of trees covering the mountain provided excellent cover and hid the fortress until nearly reaching the top. Finally after some 40 minutes of climbing I saw my first glimpse of the unique structure, red brick sitting on a gray stone base, evident of byzantine construction that was the secret of the castle's survival before restoration and ultimately, commercialization. I surrounded myself with the remains of Draculea's Castle and relized my dream, and was hardly able to express my feelings with words. By that time the temperature began to drop as the sky grew darker and rain started to fall, we finished exploring the site with a sense that something lingered around that site. A double rainbow stretched across the Arges Valley as we took pictures of the country from atop the hill of the fortress. I took a small stone, physical evidence that I had been there down with me along with two postcards I purchased on the ascent as we boarded the coach for the drive back to Bucuresti.
We checked into the hotel for our annual gala farewell dinner at "Club Dracula" restuarant and final night accomidations at the gothic "Capital" hotel. Pack, and check out, transferring to the airport. It was difficult to say goodbye to the land of Dracula and new kindred spirits and friends. Returning to our normal, mudane existances but never the same.
I'm officially confirmed for a historical expedition back to Romania June 10-19, an initiation tour over the Life and Deeds of Prince Vlad the Impaler - Dracula. It will take me not only through Romania, but through Suceava - capital of mediaeval Moldova, into an area known as "Heaven on Earth", visiting Voronet monastery across the Carpathians between Transylvania and Bucovina, the northern tip of Moldova. It was built by Stephen the Great (Dracula's cousin) in 1488.
Arriving first however in the royal mountain resort of Sinaia. I'll revisit Sighisoara, Brasov, Harker's Golden Crown in Bistrita and one night stay at Count Dracula's Castle in the Borgo Pass, as well as revisiting the true Castle of Dracula, Poienari Citadel on the Arges.
I'm excited to return to Snagov and seeing the his ruined palaces at Targoviste and Bucharest for the first and perhaps only time. The main reason for the adventure is to prove my chivalry and be initiated as a Knight of Count Dracula if I can pass the six tests of chivalry. I'll share my experiences with everyone once I return and keep the community updated, it's a life changing experience I can't wait to undertake. My journey will have taken me to every site, both historical and fictional in Transylvania, Wallachia and even Moldovia but I'm sure I'll be stimulated to further research. I'm thinking of submitting my journal to the Dracula studies and essay contests the TSD hosts and perhaps add another title to my name later. More soon...
I have another important update. I've learned about my personal guide, MIHAI (MICHAEL) - he is the president of the TSD chapter in Sighisoara (birthplace of Voivode Vlad III Tepes Draculea in 1431). The guide will be at the airport, to meet me in Bucharest.
Aside from that, I seem to have won the Halloween Grande Masquerade this past Halloween at the Hotel Castel Dracula (Stoker's Castle in the Borgo Pass, home of the vampire Count Dracula). It wasn't clear who the winners were but we were told a signed voucher would arrive in the mail and I recieved the overall winning one for my 'Lost Boy' costume. If I ever choose to go through Tours of Terror again, I get $100 off on the trip price itself.
This will be my last update here in this thread until I return from my journey beginning June 9, hopefully as an official initiate in the Order of the Transylvania Knights as a "Knight of Count Dracula" granted I can successfully perform the six acts of chivalry (archery, traditional dance, walking a beam, jumping through a fire, strength of arm and riddle), if so the ceremony will be activated with sword on the shoulder, oath and medallion with a title of nobility.
I have some sad news though, Nicolae Paduraru, founder of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, passed away Monday (May 4, 2009) in Bucharest, Romania, after a courageous battle with cancer. He founded the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, a cultural-historical organization dedicated to scholarship and research centred on the two Draculas - the Count of Bram Stoker's novel and the 15th-century Wallachian voivode better known as Vlad Tepes. In 1995, the Romanian TSD organized the first World Dracula Congress and have held annual symposia in Romania ever since. Nicolae also founded the Company of Mysterious Journeys, a travel agency specializing in exclusive tours including the one I'm particpating in over the life and deeds of the voivode.
Nicolae leaves to mourn his wife and one son, along with hundreds of friends, acquaintances and tour participants both in Romania and around the world including myself, he will be greatly missed.
Two other Americans are joining me so there are only three of us in all the world embarking on this adventure, the excitement is beyond words, a once in a lifetime oppurtunity and I'll be sure to share my experiences with anyone here in the community who wants to look including pictures and testimony.
Greetings all, just returned home very early this morning from Bucharest, Romania by way of London and Chicago, finally reaching Tulsa in the early hours. Have many wonderful stories and pictures to share with everyone.
Let me start by saying it was probally the most special time in my life, I'd been waiting for this with some amazing news. I'll begin with the heart of it, taking place this past Wednesday, the 17th. The morning began in Curtea de Arges with the visit to the monastery there, followed by the climb to Vlad Tepes' citadel at Poienari ("Castle Dracula") on the Arges and visiting the river where his wife threw herself into the tributary, called the Princesses' or Lady's River.
The evening was spent in the village of Aref, where we were invited into the homes of the people who speak proudly of the fact their ancestors came and took Vlad from his citadel over the mountains into Transylvania when the Turkish forces took it in 1462. We joined in their celebration with traditional dance and food but I was given a very great honor.
A ceremony had been prepared for me, my guide Michael (President of the TSD in Sighisoara) and Lady Daniella (Director of the TSD) had approved my appointment unanimously as an initiate and presented me with the society's welcome. I will be expected to cary its statues and have been invited to attend the World Dracula Congress in Sighisoara next may, avery great honor and where Dr. Elizabeth Miller (Baron of the House of Dracula) will also be in attendance. There with a meeting of all my new peers, scholars will come together to discuss the vampire and the voivode and I will be presented with the coat of arms and seal for knighthood in a second ceremony. It was unexpeted and amazing, still have trouble finding the words and am really not used to be addressed as "Sir Mathew". I will post pictures soon, good to be back.
Here's some pictures. To make the posts as short as possible, I'm including a brief summary about each day, if anyone wants more information, please ask. I've got thousands of pictures and just as many stories.
Sighisoara were Vlad III Tepes (Dracula) was born in 1431, the house given to his father Vlad II Dracul is marked by the Dragon's Order and plate honoring him. He was allowed to live in the saxon city, within the citadel for five years.
I was able to acquire one of the plates from the house, now a restaurant thanks to guide Michael from the staff. You can see me there next to the bronze statue of Vlad in the area believed to be where he was born in the house.
After departing Sighisoara, we headed to the border between Transylvania and Moldavia deep in the Carpathian Mountains were in the Borgo Pass, Bram Stoker placed the castle of Count Dracula in his 1897 best-seller. We dined at Jonathan Harker's Golden Crown and following his trail, went into the Borgo and eventually arrived for one night as guests of the count at the Hotel Castel Dracula in Piatra Fantanele.
I could tell so many stories about that night, visiting the count's tomb and laying in his coffin, purchasing afterlife insurance at the reception desk and visiting the sisters at the monastery not far from the castle.
We crossed the Carpathians between Transylvania and Bucovina, the northern tip of Moldova - into an area known as "Heaven on Earth", amid painted villages and frescoed monasteries.
We visited the Voronet monastery, built by Stephen the Great in 1488 and frescoed by his son, Petru Rares, 50 years later. Next, the mighty fortress of Suceava, playground of the two teenage princes. In 1457 Vlad helped his cousin take the throne of Moldova. In 1476, Stephen will help Vlad regain his Valahian throne.
Sorry for the delay, been busy but here is an update.
These are photos of my initiation ceremony in the village of Aref, probally the best day of my life when my appointment was approved. Here is Lady Daniela (Vice President of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, Director of the Company of Mysterious Journeys) presenting me with the official items that welcomed me as the newest initiate and first this year to be accepted I was informed.
It was an incredible honor to meet her and have become friends, she is having replicas of the Vlad Dracul coins presently located in the National Museum in Burcharest made for me, the coins Dracula's father minted when he was initiated into the Order of the Dragon so I'm excited about that.
I forgot to add this one earlier, the picture of me laying in Count Dracula's coffin.
The village of Aref is famous because the people here in 1462 took Vlad in the night and helped him escape over the mountains into Transylvania when his citadel at Poienari (Castle Dracula) was sieged by the Turks. The shoes on the horses were nailed on backwards to trick them and in gratitude he gave them land including many mountains, most of which they still have today.
[quote author=Vande link=topic=10188.msg162007#msg162007 date=1246798702]
I don't envy you at all
More pictures are on the way, very good ones including Poienari and his pricely residence at Targoviste where most of his story played out, including the Chindia Tower he built. I was even able to make my way down to the river where his first wife committed suicide by flinging herself from the citadel into the tributary of the Arges called Raul Doamnei (the "Lady's River", also called the Princess's River). It was made famous in Coppola's film Bram Stoker's Dracula, even if it is historically inaccurate.
Finally got some time to update. The only bit of news right now is Lady Daniela (vice-president of the TSD in Romania, CMJ director) is going to have a replica coin made for me of those minted by Vlad II Dracul, the father of Vlad Dracula. The father was initiated into the sacred Order of the Dragon in Nuremberg in 1431, he left minted coins in Sighisoara where he was allowed to live with his family within the walls of the saxon citadel for five years (1431-1436). The artifacts are now in the National Museum in Burcharest. My notes were submitted for the Borgo Post of the Canadian/US branch of the TSD for the quarterly fall issue and I will be attending the Dracula World Congress in May in Sighisoara but it's early so I don't have many details yet.
Here are some more pics, the ruins of Dracula's fortress at Poienari, what purists consider the real Castle Dracula, the tributary called the "Princesses' River" where Vlad's first wife flung herself from the citadel and some pics of his residence at Targoviste including the Chindia Tower.
Chindia Tower was built by Dracula at Targoviste, Vlad's capital and the site where most of his story took place. We got a chance to enter the tower and look out over his lands of Wallachia.
Interesting note, I took a small travel bottle and filled it with water from the river where she fell to keep and took a small piece of the red brick from the citadel itself, I have a piece of the gray stone base from last year.
One more uipdate to come, I'll get it uploaded soon. It took place the morning of my return flight home. I made my way to the Military Museum in Burcharest and seen a set of Dracula's armor and sword on display. Also in the display case were letters and documents he signed. Historically no evidence exists that he ever called himself Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), others called him that but all his proclaimations used the name he had been given at birth; "Draculea" signed in blood-red letters. Through various translations, "Dracole", "Drakulya", it eventually became "Dracula" although this ultimate version is a neologism. Furthermore, no evidence existed that the word vampire was ever used in association with him until it became popular to assume (incorrectly) that he was the main inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Romanians take offense to this and will tell you any similarity ends with the name.
I will be returning to Romania in August, 15-22 to be excact, to further my research on Dracula (both voievod and vampire). Since my appointment as a member into the Society of Dracula in Romania was approved on 17 June in Aref village by our lady, Daniela Diaconescu (TSD vice-president, CMJ director) over the hill from Vlad Tepes' citadel ruins, it has worked out that the trials for investment, the receiving in our Knights of Transylvanian Order will take place in the citadel of Brasov or Kronstadt in German. The city were historically the germanic woodcut of Tepes dining at table surrounded by impaled cadavers took place near the Chapel of St. Jacob (no longer exists). The letter this morning I recieved was one I've been waiting for but not sure if it would come.
It's still kind of astonishing that societies such as this still function in modern times, but it is such an ancient country that it isn't all that surprising with such a rich history of courageous knights fighting for Christendom is still remembered and lives on in scholarly research. I don't have to tell you that becoming a member in our society was uncommon but investment as a knight will be a remarkble accomplishment, one in which I'm humbled.
I'll keep updates here as they develop and photos once I return.
Just a bump, got some major news regarding my trip in September.
It seems this will be an independant departure as I am the only person going. This means I assume the cost of fuel and the driver which is the only unfortunant thing. It will mean a more personalized event which I'm excited about and can make some major steps in my career in Dracula studies.
The big news is that the ceremony for investment into the Order of the Transylvania Knights will be held in the Transylvanian city of Sighisoara instead of Brasov where it nornally is held. Sighisoara was where Draculea was born in 1431 most scholars say, in the house of his father Dracul which still exists as you know from my pictures. This will be more special for me becuase this city has a special place in my heart. My friend and guide from last year, Sir Mihai (Presindent of the TSD chapter in Sighisoara) will be with me I've been told.
It is uncommon because four are usually required for the activation of the ceremony, oath, sword on the shoulder and coat of arms to take place but an exception will be made for me. I got several e-mails today from our lady Daniela Diaconescu (vice-president of the TSD in Romania, CMJ director) verifying the expense and itinerary. I will also be returning to the legendary Aref village near Tepes' citadel at Poienari (Castle Dracula) where my ceremony into the TSD took place last year.
I leave today for Romania, I will try to login once I get there if I can find a computer, going to some wild, out of the way places. Will be home on the 13th with pictures of my investment into the order there and plenty of stories.
I just returned home last evening from a very exhausting flight from Bucharest but it was the most incredible week of my life.
My friend Sir Mihai did something very special for me for the investment ceremony. Normally it takes place in the walled city of Brasov with him conducting the ceremony after an initiate (minimum 4) passes six tests of chivalry.
I never officially took the trials but was invested in the Order of Transylvanian Knights anyway in Sighisoara in the house of birth of Vlad III Dracula. More amazingly it was Vlad himself who conducted the ceremony. The Romanian who officially portrays Tepes in all the documenteries such as the 2006 History Channel "Lost Worlds: The Real Dracula" agreed to personally come and invest me. Mihai knows him and apparently he works at the High School there with Mihai.
I had no idea of this until the event began and I turned to see him there in the authentic clothing and very massive sword. Tourisits who filled the small citadel all converged on the small house to watch the event unfold but none daring to enter I was told. Let me tell you of the ceremony, a window to the 15th century was opnened so to speak.
He was seated in front of me and Miahai and I kneel, offering myself as is proper in the middle ages when approaching the prince so as not to offend. I remembered the story of the ambassadors who were sent to him. When they came to him they bowed and removed their hats and they kept on the berets beneath them. Then he asked them why they did not take their caps off, too. They said it was their custom, and they did not even remove them for the Emperor. Dracula said, 'I wish to reinforce this for you.' He immediately had their caps nailed firmly on their heads so that their caps would not fall off and their custom would remain. Thus he reinforced it."
Miahai told him I was strong, couragous and a good one. Vlad said many come beofre him and if he didn't approve of them he spoke no words but simply placed his hand over the massive pommel of the sword. He liked me and felt I was worthy of joining his order and asked if I wished to continue, I was to defend Romania if called upon and to swear it.
I did so and he rose, drawing the massive sword. Placing it first on my left shoulder, top of my head and finally right and I was knighted. Miahai presented the medallion of our order's coat of arms and I was told to rise, off to share a special wine at table with four maidens of the order as I saw the portrait of Tepes at table surrouned by the impaled hanging nearby.
My investment was the first of its kind, and I think no other person in America has been honored with both the investment into this order and membership into the TSD - Romania. Our director (Lady Daniela) also managed to have the coin of Dracula's father, Vlad Dracula reproduced for me which wsa presented with my medallion in the ceremony. It shows the dragon from the Order of the Dragon he was invested to in 1431 when he arrived in Sighisoara where his house still exists and were we were standing. Cetainly no other ceremony to date more connected to Tepes as mine, Miahai knowing my dedication and research in coming to many places to carry out my Dracula studies.
Some interesting developments have taken place regarding my future with the TSD -Romania and now as a invested Knight in the order there.
I will be returning to Romania for the fourth time this coming summer. The details are still in the early stages but I wil most likely be visiting the remaining monasteries that Vlad Tepes founded during his main reign of Wallachia (1456-1462) - Comana, Gavora and Targsor. I have visited the Snagov monastery twice before. The Castle of Huniad in Transylvania is a possibility as well. I will of course be returning to the two most important places to me, place of investiture in Vlad's house of birth in Sighisoara and the ruins of his citadel at Poienari and the Village of Aref nearby where I became a membeer of the TSD -Romania in 2009.
The most important aspect of this event is that several sholars will be meeting with me if their time permits. Prof. Constantin Balacearu-Stolnici and Prof. Sabina Ispas, the most important folklorist of ours, director of the Institute of Ethnography and Folklore in Bucuresti. Our Lady Daniela would also like to open the library of the Institue of History for me as well. As an inspiring shcolar this would be an irreplacable experience if it can be done. My investiture will be featured in this upcoming issue of the Borgo Post, published by the Canadian Chapter of our TSD.