A dark representation of the Lush green Carpathian Mountains
The first image that appears in the mind when the word Transylvania is mentioned is usually the thought of vampires and werewolves. Transylvania is a prominent feature in gothic films and many horror movies and novels. But where did this idea originate? After the release of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula in 1897, the Romanians have always been associated with dark horror as we tend to generalize them with gypsies and vampires. It is these kinds of ideas that come across in Stoker’s novel. The town however is popular for other more important, realistic reasons than those for which they are portrayed in fiction.
Transylvania is located in a central part of Romania and became very popular after the success of Bram Stoker’s popular horror “Count Dracula”. The tale of the count, who was a vampire in disguise with werewolves and supernatural beings as his aides, is popular in many countries and has been rewritten many times in many different languages. The tale is told from the viewpoint of his English prisoner Jonathan who had been employed to aid him in buying property in England so that he and his throng of wolves could wreak havoc on the unsuspecting English people. The dark tale was set in the Romanian countryside and with the combination of strange languages, unusual customs and just overall eerie surrounding, Transylvania in and out of fiction, became a place that would instill fear in any visitor. Many readers were left with the image of Transylvania as a place overrun by werewolves and vampires and just overflowing with unsolved mysteries.
Though this part of Transylvania rarely pops in one’s head it is indeed recognized as having one of the most beautiful mountain ranges. Most of the story’s activities take place in the count’s castle nestled in the Carpathian Mountains. These terrains would play an important part in the novel’s storyline as they provided obscurity so Dracula could be discreet and provided isolation from the outside world and the inquisitiveness of the nearby townspeople. The mountains added mystery to Stoker’s storyline and made the surrounding even more daunting. What drew the interest of people to Transylvania is not just Count Dracula the vampire but the language and ways of the Transylvanian people. Because of the popularity of Stoker’s novel, many writers most notably writers of gothic horror would follow suit and declared Transylvania the ideal place to draft their story’s setting. The stark contrast between real Transylvania and the country in fiction is striking as Transylvania itself is filled with lush green mountains.
The people of Transylvania and their language have always been stereotyped as mysterious and cultural. This vision helped to make the town a popular place for creating a setting for a scary story. In reality however, the Carpathian mountain range is the fourth largest in the world and covers over large parts of Romania. But one hardly thinks of beauty when the image of werewolves surrounding Dracula’s castle in the mountain is still fresh in the mind. Whether or not there are other beautiful aspects to The Transylvanian people and their surrounding does not take away the fact that it is the dark and mysterious count had made Transylvania popular in the English speaking world.
by Bram Stoker