Vampire Country: A 5-Day Road Trip Through Transylvania
True Blood Cast. (Photo: HBO)
It’s hard to avoid vampires these days, or at least the pouting, sex-crazed Hollywood-ized versions you find in HBO’s True Blood. In light of the hit series’ final season premiere, which viewers drank up this weekend, we took a quick spin through Transylvania, the history-steeped Romanian backcountry that gave rise to Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic. With its villages, citadels, and wine cellars, it’s a place all fang-toothed sanguivores can call home. Here are five stops you can’t miss — and still escape with all of your blood intact.
The UNESCO World Heritage city center of Sighișoara. (Photo: Sergiu Luchian/Flickr)
For those looking to connect their Romanian odyssey to some actual vampire lore, a good place to start would be Sighișoara: the country’s only medieval citadel still inhabited by modern people. Perched high on a hill, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only a visual treat, it’s also the alleged birthplace of Vlad the Impaler. (Vlad’s surname, Dracul, served as the inspiration for the sinister protagonist in Stoker’s novel Dracula, which kicked off Vampire obsessions everywhere.)
Drive up to the city’s historic center, a gray cluster of houses and narrow alleys that feel suspended in the sky, and visit Casa Dracula, the domicile of history’s most ruthless blood-spiller — marked, appropriately, with a steel dragon over the door (dracul is derived from the Latin word for dragon).
Dracula kitsch abounds in Transylvania. (Photo: Jorge/Flickr)