We hear or read the word “Transylvania” and we instantly think “vampire.” We have Bram Stoker to thank for that since Transylvania (which translates as “Land Beyond the Forest”) was pretty much unknown to the world before his legendary vampire novel Dracula came out. When writing his book Stoker picked Transylvania (known to the Romanians as Transilvania or Ardeal and to the Hungarians as Erdely) as the Count’s home because of its vast history and its countless myths. It was a superstitious and dark land so it was the perfect setting for his bloodthirsty villain.
Thanks to Dracula, the political hell and the people’s struggles in Transylvania have been overlooked by the world and instead seen only as vampire-ville. The public’s association with Transylvania is simply that it’s the land of the undead and nothing more. And to add to the stereotype, thanks to actor Bela Lugosi’s thick accent used in his portrayal as Dracula many assume that that’s how everyone speaks over there, when in fact his accent was more Hungarian than Transylvanian. But the damage has already been done.
The truth is that Transylvania is a land that’s rich with culture and beautiful and amazing sights. A visitor to the region won’t be seeing any vampires (sorry guys) but instead will have the chance to hike through underground rivers, view breathtaking mountains and visit small friendly villages. Sure you can also visit a few vampire inspired tourist traps but it’s actually places like Braşov that get the most tourist visits. Braşov is a town that’s still surrounded by its medieval stone walls, still has its cobblestone streets and ancient buildings – it’s a perfect trip for a traveler that wants to escape from the modern world for a bit. But see, no vampires, just history. Sure, the region’s age-old folklore is full of vampire tales but so is most every European country, from Germany to Greece, all countries have their own vampire legends, not just Romania.
So what have we learned today? That we shouldn‘t believe everything that books or movies tell us.