Of course, Dracula is a figment of Hollywood's imagination. No one in Romania knew anything about vampires or Dracula, in fact, although the castle is a museum, it was closed to visitors that day, no reason, it just was. Our guide pleaded with the caretaker, even offered him a bribe, but it was no use - the museum wasn't open.
Today you can book Vampire Tours, but in '94, no one had thought of it yet. The castle was where a real-life ruler of Transylvania, Vlad Drakul, was temporarily imprisoned. Vlad didn't think too highly of the Ottomans and worked to stop their expansion into his homeland in the 1400's. After his death, he was renamed Vlad Tepes, which translates to Vlad the Impaler because of a rather nasty habit he had of skewering his enemies on long poles and displaying them along the route into town to discourage future invaders. Seems pretty effective to me!
We visited Romania in 1994, less than five years after their dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, was overthrown and executed on live TV. It seems this part of the world has a long and bloody history of deposing and disposing of their leaders.
Transylvania is located in the Carpathian Mountains and is a really beautiful part of the world. Although it has moved quickly into the modern era, when we were there, there were more animal powered vehicles on the roads than gas engines. Life in rural Transylvania was something out of an earlier century. Farming was all done by hand, grandmothers led the cows down the road to the pastures in the early mornings, and indoor plumbing was practically unheard of. Occasionally I could envision the peasants chasing Frankenstein through the forest with torches and pitchforks.