Transylvania: the Vampire Mecca

So, today I thought we’d venture into Transylvania on a vampire adventure through the night. As the traditional home of Count Dracula, the country of Transylvania first made it’s appearance in literature and television history due to Bram Stoker’s infamous novel.

Romania MapWhere is Transylvania Anyway?

Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania that’s bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range. It’s got a population of about five million with several big cities that are pretty old (and cool, if the picture are any indication).

If you really wanna visit (like I do), then you can check out the Romanian Tourist Guide and get really jealous of the cool history.

Why Transylvania?

Of course, there’s a rich history of the supernatural in Transylvanian lore. Tales of witches and magical animals are abundant. Apparently, the swallow is a luck-bringer, the sheep can predict danger, the crow is an evil omen, and the cuckoo is an oracle. Crossing paths with a hare is bad luck, but with a wolf is good luck. Interesting, huh?

There’s stories of a magic school at the top of the Carpathian Mountains that takes ten students at a time. Nine of them return, while the tenth becomes payment to the Devil himself. Lights over the mountain are said to be souls or spirits.

Vampire Homeland?

Although I bet Dracula had a big impact on our idea of Transylvania as a Vampire Mecca, the legends of vampires in Romania goes back farther than that. Apparently, there are legends of vampires that chase and steal horses and beating water with planks to cause rough water. They weren’t the blood thirsty human-killers of modern lore. Even now, peasants in the hills will tell stories of meeting the supernatural for themselves.

How do you say “vampire” anyway?

So, we call them vampires. I bet you’ve heard the term “nosferatu” as well, which is really a dead vampire. “Strigoi” is Transylvanian for vampire, though. You’ve probably heard that if you’ve read the Vampire Academy series.

But wait, you want some more cool translations? An “upyr” is a vampire, a “nucnyk” is a night spirit, and a “bosurkun” is a sorcerer.

What Does that Mean Today?

Well, Transylvania is an icon of vampire culture. So, you probably won’t meet a paranormal enthusiast that hasn’t heard of it. I, personally, desperately want to visit. I’ve gotten some information from the Romanian Tourist Guide, as well as the book From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth.

Then, there’s the question, how does this weave into paranormal novels? Well, I’ve read a lot of book set in Transylvania. Although, I’d recommend knowing a little more than what’s in this post if you’re going to set your book there. Personally, I use it as a fun reference. For example, my book Archangel’s Salvation is set in a club called Transylvanian Travesty. What yo do with it is up to you 🙂

What do you think?

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