Halloween in the land of Dracula
You will have the opportunity to discover where the legend of Dracula told by Bram Stoker comes from and follow the Prince’s footsteps in Romania. Vlad Tepes was born in November or December 1431, in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania. His father, Vlad Dracul, being a military governor of Transylvania appointed by the emperor Sigismund, had been inducted into the Order of the Dragon about one year before. The order – which could be compared to the Teutonic Order of Knights – was a semi military and religious society. The main goals of such a secret fraternal order of knights was mainly to protect the interests of Catholicism, and to crusade against the Turks. There are different reasons why this society is so important to us. First, it provides an explanation for the name “Dracula;” “Dracul” in Romanian language, means “Dragon”, and the boyars of Romania, who knew of Vlad Tepes’ father induction into the Order of the Dragon, decided to call him “Dracul.” This nickname turned into surname for his descendants, Vlad, his son being known as such.
A second major role of this Order as a source of inspiration for Stoker’s evil character is the Order’s official dress – a black cape over a red garment – to be worn only on Fridays or during the commemoration of Christ’s Passion. Vlad Tepes ruled Valachia from 1456 and nowadays he is known also as Price Dracula.
After breakfast, we shall visit the ruins of Dracula’s former residency. Departure for Sibiu. We will make our first stop in Arefu (it is said that the descendants of Dracula’s soldiers are there) and visit the ruins of one of Dracula’s fortresses (at Poienari). Arrival in Sibiu – a wonderful Saxon city. In Sibiu we shall also have a sightseeing tour. Accommodation at an elegant Hotel in the heart of the city where we shall also have a classic dinner.
Departure to Sighisoara, a city in the heart of Transylvania. Sighisoara is the best – preserved the 15th century-walled town in Europe, the birth-place of Prince Vlad the Impaler-Dracula, the site of many witch-trials, home to the school attended by Herman Oberth, inventor of the first modern rockets and developer of the Apollo program. Here you will be given the chance to candidate for “Miss Transylvania” and if you win, you will be crowned “Countess Dracula, to be the pair of the Count for one year.
After breakfast and a sightseeing tour of Sighisoara, we will take part to a number of cultural events. After you will also receive some free time to prepare for the Halloween party. We will also take a few hours to visit The Little Shop from Hell which offers those weird “After-Life Insurances” and “Indulgences” for 5 sins each. In the evening, the main event will be the Investiture of Miss Transylvania (at midnight) as countess Dracula – to be the pair of the Count for one year. The “Halloweenest” costume and mask will also be rewarded and those who could guess who the Count was – will receive a free full tour of their choice. The problem is to survive the night (highly unlikely) and enjoy the prizes. Special Halloween dinner, accommodation in Sighisoara .
After breakfast we will depart for Viscri where we will visit the fortified church and have lunch in a peasant house. This village is under direct patronage of Charles, prince of England and it will be nice to discover why he has chosen to help the community of this forgotten village. In the afternoon we will enjoy a city tour of medieval Brasov, the second most important city in Transylvania. Dinner will be served at “The Citadel” in Brasov along with a floor-show. Check-in.
Departure for Bucharest. Sightseeing of the Romanian capital (the Palace of Parliament, the second largest building in the world, after the Pentagon, belonging to the Communist dictator Ceausescu – also called The Modern Dracula, for his cruel and abusive domination; and an walking tour in the old part of Bucharest:the old court). This evening you will have a farewell dinner in a very special restaurant. Here you will enjoy the music and dance show, in the spirit of the period of the 30’s in Bucharest, when our capital was called “The Little Paris”.
Departure back home.
Insight about Dracula. For the first two monetary emissions, Vlad used his emblem, the dragon. The Romanians who have most of their words from old Latin, nicknamed him Dracul – Dracula (from Latin Draco – onis). In Romanian Drac means Devil. This nickname turned into a surname for his descendant, Vlad. Vlad Tepes ruled Valachia from 1456 and nowadays he is known also as Price Dracula.