BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Nick Thorpe
"To the outside world, Dracula is better known for his appalling cruelty"
 real 28k

Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 02:31 GMT
Romania builds Dracula Land
Bran Castle in Transylvania where Vlad the Impaler lived
Dracula Land could be built near Vlad the Impaler's castle
The Romanian Government has announced plans for a theme park in honour of the controversial figure of Count Dracula.

Tourism Minister Matei Dan told journalists the park - Dracula Land - would open in the summer of 2002, at an as yet undisclosed location, widely assumed to be in Transylvania.

Dracula poster
Many thrillers portray the bloodcurdling life of the Romanian hero
Count Dracula is a Romanian national hero better known outside the country for the association with legends of bloodsucking vampires - as described by 19th century author Bram Stoker.

Mr Dan dismissed criticism that the park would harm Romania's image.

The plans

Announcing the project - expected to cost $60m - he said the park would be a tribute to "the image of a great Romanian hero".

He said the proposal included plans for a Dracula Institute, consisting of several conference rooms and a library.

Mr Dan said the institute would enable contact with about 4,000 Dracula clubs around the world, which would supply visitors to the park.

The minister refused to disclose the location of the new park, which is being built by an American company, in order "to avoid property speculation".

The legend

The myth of Dracula, launched by the 1897 novel of Irish author Bram Stoker, is based on the life of the prince of Vlad, Vlad-the-Impaler.

His escapades against the neighbouring Turks and Hungarians in the 15th century have given him the stature of a national hero in Romania.

Bram Stoker's 1897 book
The book immortalised and demonised Dracula
But to the outside world, he is better known for his appalling cruelty, for impaling his victims on wooden stakes.

The BBC central Europe correspondent, Nick Thorpe, says the novelist combined the already violent accounts of Dracula's life with legends of bloodsucking vampires from the same mountainous regions of eastern Europe.

This heritage worries many Romanian critics of the Dracula Land project.

"There are some voices in Romania who accuse me of selling a false legend," the tourism minister said.

"But I am a pragmatic man and these critics do not put me off.

"This is a fantastic project," he added.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

21 Mar 01 | Scotland
Tourist board stakes Dracula claim
31 Jul 00 | UK
DNA tests in 'Dracula' hunt
06 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Fang-tastic new music for Dracula
02 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Count of the silver screen
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories