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10/29/2004 Archived Entry: "Visiting Sighisoara --- and `Casa Vlad Dracul'"
October 29th: Our Official Itinerary in Transylvania...
We proceed into Transylvania along the spectacular Pass of the river Olt (the Romans took it, before you). Behold the resting place of Prince Mircea the Old, Vlad's grandfather, in the monastery of Cozia. Dr. Elizabeth Miller's commentary: "Cozia is a small village in the Olt Valley, on a scenic highway connecting Wallachia and Transylvania. It is famous for the Byzantine monastery built by Vlad's grandfather Mircea cel Batrin in 1386, which contains Mircea's tomb and a fresco of him with one of his sons, Mihail brother of Vlad Dracul."
You may wish to lunch where Carol XII of Sweden, Emperor Franz Joseph of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Franz Liszt or Johann Strauss have also lunched - at a hotel built in 1555, in medieval Sibiu. The towering Evangelic church in Sibiu shelters the tomb of Prince Mihnea - Vlad's son. Continue to Sighisoara in the centre of Transylvania - the best-preserved 15th century walled city in Europe, birthplace of Vlad Dracula (1431). Witness a Witch-trial, a re-enactment by 20 local actors of one of thousands of such trials held across Catholic Europe between the 15th and the 18th centuries. [In Europe's Mediaeval Age, between 15 and 18 centuries, witch trials were normal events in the society. French historian Jules Michelet said that some 200,000 women and men were burnt as witches and wizards.] The last such trial in Transylvania took place in 1753.
Dr. Miller's commentary on Sighisoara: "Located in south-central Transylvania, Sighisoara includes a well-preserved citadel. Overlooking the main square is Casa Vlad Dracul, the residence of Vlad's father from 1431 to 1435; here Vlad spent his early childhood. In the restaurant on the second floor, the visitor can eat from plates painted with a dragon emblem and gaze at a mural which contains a figure believed to be a likeness of Vlad Dracula. Close by is a museum containing numerous artifacts from the fifteenth century."
Optional dinner at Casa Vlad Dracul, the house where Vlad the Impaler was born. Overnight in Sighisoara.
I think Brad and I will pass on the option dinner, largely based on Dr. Elizabeth Miller's comments, "Equally tacky is the decision of at least one tour group to offer a Halloween party at `Casa Vlad Dracul' (Vlad's birth house) in Sighisoara! Perhaps the most disturbing was that during a recent visit (May 1998), I noticed in the courtyard outside Casa Vlad Dracul (in Sighisoara) a life-sized model of Vlad where tourists were invited to have their `bloody photo taken.' Such promotion flies in the face of both history and culture, and serves only to exacerbate the resentment that many Romanians already feel about Dracula-centred tourism." I think Brad and I will wander the streets of Sighisoara instead and find a small family eatery.