|The fortified town of Sighisoara|
|Am I hero or monster? Choose your answer very carefully!|
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's start with a cute little story of a boy being born in the small village of Sighisoara.
In the wooded lands known as Transylvania, centrally located in Romania bordered, by the Carpathian Mountains, Vlad's father, Vlad II had lived in a small three story home in the fortified town of Sighisoara. He had been destined to rule Wallachia but had to leave and live in a brief exile in Transylvania when his half-brother, Alexander I Aldea invaded Wallachia and dethroned Dan II.
|Vlad II - Vlad III's father|
|Fortified entrance for Sighisoara|
|View from the top of the original Sighisoara|
Get it? 'Batty' and we are writing about Transylvania and vampires - well not vampires exactly, but the region from which Bram Stoker got the idea for his infamous vampire tale. Clever!
|Laureen getting ready to visit Vlad III|
|The house were Vlad III was born...|
|Campy but fun - Dracula trying to make a meal of John.|
But this isn't about Dracul II. Rather it is about a little boy born into a family with a mother, perhaps Dracul II's wife, Cneajna - a daughter of Alexander I of Moldavia - or a mistress, along with his older brother Mircea. Dracul II's last male child, Radu wouldn't be born until around 1439. So, the Vlad Dracula we know from countless tales and films started life like any other person who was born into royalty.
He was brought up to read, write, master horsemanship, learn warrior skills, and perhaps a few other skills that would make him a delight in any royal court.
|Little Vlad used to run through these streets as a young boy...|
A monster or a hero, depending on your perspective.
And this is the question we pondered during our trip to Romania. Who was this person? This Vlad III - was he the hero who kept Europe safe from the Ottoman Empire? Or just a psychopath who enjoyed killing for killing sake?
|If a monster - why all the plaques and statues of him throughout so much of Romania?|
A store owner in a cobbled narrow street of Sighisoara shared that to her and most Romanians, Vlad III - Vlad the Impaler was a national hero. She said that if I were to write his story, please let the world know he was a good man, a true hero, and of course, not a vampire. Though she did admit his way of restoring order in a difficult time may have seem cruel. She said, "He was a cruel leader for a cruel time." We must judge individuals by the time in which they live. Very wise, these Roma.
The tourist information administrator, the one dissenting voice with whom J and L spoke in our travels, stated that she believed Vlad was nothing but evil. "I've never heard anyone say he was a good man."
J stated that he never said Vlad III was a good man but perhaps a hero.
"I've never heard that either," the woman followed up.
|Pretty women love the bad boys - don't they?|
|Many shops depend on the myth or reality of Dracula - Vlad III|
|Was this gargoyle in Sighisoara a harbinger for of the future reign of Vlad III?|
Then again, this is the telling of a young boy being born in 1431 in a small but important fortified town in Transylvania.
|Dude, who are really? And don't impale me for being impudent?|