From July 2020, Bran Castle’s visitors are getting in touch with the characters of the night even during daytime! Those brave enough to face their fears are finding out, on the 4th floor, who the creatures of the night really are and what they do, through an exhibition entitled "A history of dreads in Transylvania". It is a foray into the history of local myths and fears (their symbols and significance) and the way they were reflected in the historiography of the 15th century, and then discovered and used by the Irish writer Bram Stoker in the 19th century, the one who created Count Dracula.
The study conducted by the scientific coordinator of the project, Mrs. Antoaneta Olteanu, professor at the University of Bucharest, reveals seven fundamental fantastic characters of the Transylvanian fears. The Grim Reaper, the Iele, the Sântoaderi, the Solomonari, the Ghost, the Strigoi and the Werewolves come to light for the first time, eager to tell us how and when they appeared in the mists of time and why they haunt people's houses, souls and minds. What their special powers are and when and how they can use them against the mortals. They took shape at Bran Castle to remind people of ancestral traditions and richness of Transylvanian customs and beliefs. To these fears were added, in the 15th century, various writings about the cruelty of the ruler Vlad the Impaler, that traveled as horror stories until the 19th century, when Bram Stoker created, based on them, the character Dracula.
On the 4th floor, visitors enter the realm of fear in the Romanian mythology. As it is known, the night and the darkness compose the platform on which the story of these characters is amplified, as a symbol of evils and fears forgotten in the mists of time. The contrast between the characters of the day, who populate the Castle on the lower floors, is accentuated by the presentation of the latter. In the virtual space created at the 4th floor, the meeting with the seven fantastic beings takes place, a symbol of the fear that haunts the real night through the Castle.
These are naturally intertwined with the portrait of the ruler Vlad the Impaler, depicted in the chronicles of the time as a bloody tyrant. Tourists now find out about the evolution of the Count from an English romantic literature character, to that of a Hollywood horror character, but also about the way he returns to the public, at Bran Castle, in its modern, fantastic form. The exhibition explains the story of Prince Vlad the Impaler’s demonization, as an answer, among others, to the question why Bran Castle is considered Count Dracula’s refuge.
The section "A history of dreads in Transylvania" is part of the permanent exhibition of Bran Castle and can be visited at no extra cost. Through its accomplishment, Bran Castle’s management aimed to enrich the experience of tourists who came to Bran, to complete, by rigorously documenting it and relating it to the local customs, the fantastic, legendary story of the old medieval fortress in Transylvania. A story that comes to life, at the end of the tour, in the Time Tunnel, a place where the characters of the night collaborate with the historical ones in the most spectacular multimedia show that exists in the European museums area. The exhibition "A history of dreads in Transylvania" is the result of the research and documentation of Mrs. Antoaneta Olteanu, ethnologist and professor at the University of Bucharest and Mrs. Ana-Maria Altmann, art historian and curator of the exhibition, and was staged by Eugen Oprina, artistic director and Bogdan Ionescu, scenographer.