Fiction or reality?

When we travel, we are searching for different locations, with spectacular views, good food, and beautiful places to visit. In the countries we are going to, we can discover a deep history related to the places we see. Today’s article is focused on Romania’s landscape and buildings between fiction and reality. I suppose the whole world has heard about the fictive character Count Dracula? But how many of you know the connection of Dracula with Bran Castel from Romania? And what about the world’s most beautiful road located in the center of Romania? And these are only a few pieces of a complex puzzle.

I could talk about Romania’s attractions for many hours. I am not saying this just because I am Romanian (even if it’s kind of true), rather I would like to bring to the forefront key points of a country full of history, legendary characters, and amazing places. I picked up only a few things, the most brilliant ones in my personal opinion. Let’s begin with Dracula’s history.

Count Dracula is a fictive character from Bram Stoker’s book “Dracula”. In the book, the Irish writer presents Dracula as a “centuries-old vampire, sorcerer, and Transylvanian nobleman” with a castle located high above a valley with a flowing river. The castle the author is talking about is an inspiration from a real one located in the heart of Romania called “Bran Castle”. Albeit Bram Stoker has never visited Romania, he described very well Bran Castle, known as “Dracula’s Castle”. Sources say that the description is the only one which fits with the real Bran Castle from the whole country.

The fictive character of Bram’s novel is often confused with Vlad Țepeș. When the author has created the character he was inspired by Vlad Țepeș, the ruler of Walachia, also called “Vlad Dracul”. Vlad is known in Romanian history as a ruler who tended to impale his enemies on wooden stakes, being described by the majority of historians of that period as a blood-thirsty ruthless despot. A real connection between the imaginary character Dracula and Bran Castle does not exist. Maybe you wonder if there is a connection between Vlad Țepeș and Bran Castle? There are different opinions but there is no historical evidence of a connection. People should make a difference between the two characters mentioned above.

Leaving aside the legend of Count Dracula, we turn our attention to one of the most spectacular roads in Romania, namely Transfăgărășan. The road is the second-highest in Romania after Transalpina. A couple of years ago, the English broadcaster, journalist and writer, co-presenter of Top Gear program, Jeremy Clarkson, said that Transfăgărășan is “the best road in the world”. Being build during the communist regime under Ceaușescu ruler to ensure quick military access across the mountains in case of a Soviet invasion, the road reveals an amazing landscape of what can be called “heaven”. The construction took place over a period of 4 years (1970-1974) being used roughly six million kilograms of dynamite. The paved mountain road crosses the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains of Romania connecting two historical regions: Transylvania and Wallachia. The winding road with long S-curves and sharp descents climb to an altitude of 2.042 meters. At 2.034 meters of altitude can be found the glacier lake Bâlea, another nature gift. Transfăgărășan has an impressive number of tunnels and viaducts in comparison to any other road in Romania, and the longest road tunnel is near Bâlea Lake. A road like this makes you feel to be with one step closer to the clouds.

The beauty of the so-mentioned dream locations is hard to be described in words. When you see them with your own eyes and feel them with your own heart, you will be a happy soul.

There would be much more to say but I will stop here letting your curiosity search for something more. To conclude this article, I will bring to your eyes Deborah Lloyd’s quote: “Travel sparks our imagination, feeds our curiosity and reminds us how much we all have in common”.

Angela Gabor

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