Sighisoara is not for the weak

Like my illness, but it was immediately clear to our little family that this was not going to work. So we split into groups. Some took pictures and others listened to stories. I was in the other group…

Sighișoara Romania Travel

One day, the envoys of the Turkish sultan came to Count Dracula to collect taxes because the Count was a Turkish vassal at the time. They knelt before the Count, but did not take off their turbans:

-”Why are you insulting me! What is the meaning of this?!
-“My lord, we take off our turbans only in the presence of our sultan.
-“I see that you are very loyal to your Sultan,  I will help you show your loyalty even more!

Then he ordered his soldiers to nail the turbans to their heads with nails.

– “Now he will never doubt your allegiance!

Sighișoara Romania Travel

How could I resist visiting the birthplace of such a great man…

Who was Count Dracula?

The whole of Transylvania lives on Dracula’s name, but only one city is really connected to him, and that’s Sighisoara.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

The only written trace of his birth in Sigishoara was left by his Father, from whom he inherited the surname Dracul, which in fact has a very laudable meaning: the son of a dragon. This name was given ti his father by Sigmund of Luxembourg for his merit in fighting the Turks.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

How did Stoker’s Dracula come about?

Only Bram Stoker, who sought inspiration for his novels, gave this family name a sinister tone…

Sighișoara Romania Travel

In a library, he ran into pamphlets written by Transylvanian Saxons seeking help from his fellow Germans because they did not like the policies that were used by Vladislav III Drakulya, Duke of Wallachia, later known as Vlad Tepes.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

How did the Dracula’s legend come about?

Namely, the Saxons had long had a monopoly on trade in agricultural products in what was then Romania. The peasants suffered for some time and then started to abandon their estates because of unfair competition. At that moment, Vlad comes to power, determined to change things.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

It should be noted that as a child he and his brother were handed over to the Turks as a pledge. They ‘educated’ him a little so that Vlad did not know exactly what the Geneva Convention was when he impaled several thousand Saxons on a stake as a reminder to others…

Sighișoara Romania Travel

The following episode testifies to this:

After impaling them on a stake in the town square, a table was set up with food and drink, which was then eaten by Vlad Tepes (the Impeller)

One of the servants brought food with a plugged nose. The Count asked him why:
– “Because I can’t stand the stench of the dead”
– “Don’t worry, we’ll move you high enough that it won’t smell anymore” and then he impaled that servant on a three times longer stake

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Was Dracula really a vampire?

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Although Vlad did not know about marketing, he deliberately exaggerated some of his “achievements” to send a message to others in Europe who punished their convicts by ‘merely’ cutting their limbs and blinding them. For them, Vlad was and remains a savage. The fact that the stake was oiled to glide more easily because the convict needed to survive at least 24 hours, or that the height of the stake was determined by the convict’s rank was not a mitigating circumstance for Vlad’s reputation… And he did not care much either. He was no more lenient towards the Turkish captives. There is a story that on one occasion he broke into a Turkish camp and captured several thousand Turks, who he then impaled on a stake to distract their commander from further attacks. This tactic has often worked successfully for him.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Was Dracula a good ruler?

To the Romanian people he remained a hero and a true fighter against the Ottomans. He abolished feudal obligations, relied on the people, was relentless in combating crime, severely punished thieves and murderers. There is a story that during Vlad’s time there was a golden water jug near the town’s well that no one was allowed to touch.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

The following story also testifies to Vlad’s rule:

A traveling merchant asked Count Dracula where to leave his cart full of treasure. Vlad replied to leave it in the middle of the city square, he personally guaranteed it would be safe. The next day, the merchant reported that 160 gold pieces had been stolen from the cart. Vlad ordered that they immediately find the thief or the whole city would be burned. During this time, he also ordered 161 gold pieces from his personal treasury to be placed unnoticed in the merchant’s cart. The merchant found the gold coins and reported to the Count that he had one gold coin more. Vlad then told him: “You have proven your honesty, because if you had not reported this I would have put you on a stake alongside the thief.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Count Dracula refused to wear a crown. Instead, he wore a black hat with a brooch that had a large red ruby on the center of a gold eight-pointed eagle with eagle feathers. When Vlad traveled somewhere, the cap would be placed on a pillar in the square and in the event of his death it would be handed over to the chosen successor by the people.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Vlad Tepes was a great protector of the Orthodox Church. In Hilandar, there is a document from the second half of the 15th century that testifies that Vlad  is one of the main patrons of the Hilandar monastery.

How did Dracula die?

As he lived, so did he die, dramatically.

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There are multiple versions. According to one version, during one skirmish, the Turks surrounded him, Vlad, in order to deceive them, changed into a Turkish suit, but one soldier recognized him and pierced him with a spear. In the other version, he was killed by his brother and his assistants. It is undeniable that his head was cut off and sent to the Sultan in Istanbul and preserved in honey. The Sultan ordered his head to be put on a stake and proudly showed as proof that the Kazikli Bey who had tortured them so much was finally dead.

Where is Dracula buried?

He had no peace in death either. He was allegedly buried in Snagov Monastery but there is no evidence. And so Vlad Tepes became, thanks to the cheap novels of an Irish writer, a vampire when he was, in fact, a great warrior and economic reformer whose politics did not suit the big players of the time.

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What should you see in Sighișoara?

First there were the Romans and then later the Saxons. The city prospered well and in order to protect it from the incursion of numerous enemies, the inhabitants enclosed it, making Sighișoara one of seven fortified cities in Transylvania.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Sighișoara Romania Travel

14 towers and five bastions were erected for defense. Each tower was assigned to a specific type of merchant to use and care for it. The size and tidiness of the tower should be in accordance with the importance of the trade association to which they belong. Some associations could not be located in the center, because they were engaged in rather dirty crafts such as tanning, etc. Today, nine are preserved, but most are closed to visitors, so if you have no business left…

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Sighișoara is neither the most beautiful nor the greatest, but it is most popular because of Count Dracula. Situated between Brasov and Sibin at almost equal distances, it is an ideal destination for a day trip. It is most beautiful in the afternoon when all the tourists leave…

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Clock tower

This is one of the symbols of Sighișoara. It is located at the entrance to the upper town.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

The city council is the one that takes care of her.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

The roof is designed to have four towers added, symbolizing that judgments can be made here but also enforced…

Sighișoara Romania Travel

There are two reasons to visit:
– it offers a spectacular view of the city

Sighișoara Romania Travel

-The tower houses an impressive clock that, with the help of various wooden figures, shows the time of day but also the days of the week, one can see the part of the mechanism that drives the clock

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Today, there is a small history museum in the tower, so if the road takes you there…

Main square

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Sighișoara Romania Travel

All houses are over 300 years old. All the attractions that you come for are here: Dominican monastery,

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Sighișoara Romania Travel

the Venetian house, the tailor’s tower, the statue of Count Dracula

Sighișoara Romania Travel

and of course, Dracula’s birth house.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Sighișoara Romania Travel

This should be received with reservation, because the only thing that is known is that Vlad was born here and in which house it is not written down, so just enjoy the guide’s stories.

School stairs

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A few hundred meters on the cobblestone, you come across the famous roofed school steps built back in 1642. They are intended to protect children who have gone to school at the top of the hill from the weather.

There were 300 and now there are only 175. How? I don’t know, the hill has not changed for 400 years. In any case, when they reach the top, the children are as calm as lemmings. God forbid anyone forget their homework…

Sighișoara Romania Travel

If you find it difficult to walk up the stairs, there is a nice semi-circular path that you can use to return down the hill.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Church on the Hill

As you climb up, you will find the most famous Gothic church in Sighișoara and the third largest in Transylvania. You can get in if you nail the right timing.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Next to the church is of course the old Germanic cemetery with a fascinating view.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Is Sighișoara accessible for wheelchairs?

And that would be mostly everything. Sigishoara is very interesting, old, authentic but inaccessible to wheelchairs.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

Which is not to say that you can’t enjoy visiting the hometown of Dracula.
From Sighișoara you can make interesting trips to established churches such as Biertan, to which some interesting stories are also related.

Sighișoara Romania Travel

And finally, after these stories, what do you think would happen if Vlad got a hold of Bram Stoker?

 

Were you in Sighișoara?

Did I miss anything?

 

Traveled and enjoyed,

Marko Veličković

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