Count Dracula, the famous vampire character introduced by Bram Stoker in 1897, is a worldwide known myth which has generated a national brand reinforced in the media and literature around Romania, and in particular the Transylvania region.

People’s imagination from all over the world is inspired by the idea that supernatural characters such as vampires and werewolves roam among people in these lands. While these stories are fictional, there is an interwoven aspect of reality to these stories as they blend fiction with the historical aspects of the region. What many may not know is that "Count Dracula" was, in fact, a real person by the name of prince Vlad the Impaler.

Sibiu seen from the Evangelical Church Tower (c) Gabriela Cuzepan

While Sibiu is not the birthplace of Dracula, it is actually the burial place of his son and this is a secret that very few people know about when visiting Sibiu.

First, let us dispel the myth of Dracula. Despite that Halloween is among us, there are in fact no existing vampires in Transylvania (at least that we know of, so if you find any let us know and we’ll clarify). However, the mysterious and macabre aspects of Vlad the Impaler do rest among the city of Sibiu bringing with them an element of mystery that awakens the senses of the curious minded. So if you consider yourself one of these, keep reading.

While less commonly known for his family man attributes, Vlad the Impaler had a son with his second wife Justina Szilagyi. What was interesting about his son was the name he was given by the locals, Mihnea Voda “Cel Rau” (the Evil One) so obviously, he had quite the reputation. While Mihnea was the rightful heir to his father’s throne, he was very confrontational and after entering into conflicts with the local noblemen, his cruelty excluded him from the Wallachia region forcing him to come to the more tolerant Transylvania.

In this case, because Mihnea was disliked in Wallachia but still wanted to retain his father’s throne he came to Transilvania hoping to make a strong alliance with the Saxon community and the Hungarian king. But despite these efforts, the Wallachian noblemen couldn’t risk him taking the throne and as a result, they organized a plot to kill him.

The legend goes like this, on a Sunday in April 1510, when prince Mihnea Voda was coming out from the church (the one that still stands iconic in the Piata Huet), he was followed and stabbed him to death. In such a region as Transilvania, in a fortified town, it was not normal for such a crime to occur in front of a church so naturally, the three men who planned the plot were also captured and executed. As a result of the crime, the authorities made an exception to Mihnea’s funeral and buried him in the church (former Catholic church, present Lutheran Church).

Evangelical Church Tower (c) Gabriela Cuzepan

The spirit of Dracula’s flesh and blood, his only son, therefore, resides within the walls of the Evangelical Church in Piata Huet, in Sibiu. You can visit the church and Mihnea's tomb stone daily between 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. It is still an active church for the Saxon community, mass is celebrated every Sunday and organ concerts are organized weekly.