Transylvania – “Now you see it, now you don’t”

Transylvania evokes medieval villages, Saxon castles and Dracula!!

Yes, it’s the mid 1200s and the world’s empires race to claim land. Present day Germany craves the land to its east; Transylvania. It’s magnificent, in the heart of Romania. Grand Carpathian Mountains shield a fertile valley on all sides. The peasants there are mild. And a call to Saxon craftsmen to colonise Transylvania rings loud. The promise by Teutonic Knights to guard this Christian mission heartens. So blacksmiths, carpenters, traders, farmers and their families head out.

For 600 hundred years Saxons make Transylvania home. They fortify their churches, castle their noblemen, mansion their merchants, frequent their opera and yoke their Romanian peasants.

We visit the town of Sibiu, former Hermannstadt. And Brasov, former Kronstadt. We see the efforts of Saxons everywhere.

We have a tiny, cosy apartment in Brasov. It feels like ‘Kronstadt’. From tall windows we watch winter hang outside. It’s wet and cold. Mist streams over the Carpathians to slouch here.

And in my mind’s eye …. I also pen a novel, a gothic novel. About the Count in Bran Castle a day’s ride away. Not a Saxon, but a Slav. The direct descendent of Vlad Teppes, the Impaler! His castle always sits in gloom. The Count charms but his peasants lurk. From a distance we see midnight storms and hear wolves howl. Scandals slip … sensual vampires slowly drain bodies of life’s force. Throats arch, incisors gleam and deep red trickles. This brings eternal life. And it’s never enough, so the Count starts to buy up land in London!

But TODAY, we find TRANSYLVANIA with NO SAXONS, and with NO DRACULA! How can this be?

The SAXONS flee back to Germany, Austria and to North America. In a ripple, a wave and a flood. First, Romania switches allegiance from Hitler to Stalin. Then a Communist Romania purges the bourgeois of their wealth. Lastly, the dictator Ceausescu permits the last Saxons to leave Romania for a bounty from the West Germany government.

And DRACULA too leaves Transylvania. We find his Bran Castle far too bright and far too breezy. It seems he does end up in London, but in print, and in Hollywood, in film. Here he remains, thankfully, in our wild imaginings.

It’s ghostly. “Now you see it, now you don’t.”

This is Hermannstadt, present day Sibiu.

Sibiu, today, with its protective Carparthian Mountains in the background.

And on the outskirts of Brasov a Fortified Church.

Brasov, former Kronstadt, still nestles in the foothills of the Carparthians.

These old Saxon towns have sturdy walls.

And within the city walls all manners of buildings stand secure. See those droopy eyed little attic windows staring at you.

Here the old Black Church stands in the center of Brasov.

And again those droopy eyed attic windows staring out over a bridge.

A beautifully renovated church …

… and a clock tower.

And the grand old Mansions that used to belong to the Saxon elite …

… which are now subdivided into studios. Our own cosy studio is on the third floor where we look down upon …

… our bikes braving the wet and icy weather outside.

We set out, despite the weather, to take in everything the Saxons have left behind.

In these environs it is impossible to shake the goings on at Bran Castle.

The next day we set off to discover Vlad, the Impaler, and his infamous descendant Dracula ….

… in his famous Bran Castle.

But what we see behind these Bran Castle walls is a little too bright and breezy.

Yes this classic gothic horror story is best left to our own wild imaginings.

15 Responses to Transylvania – “Now you see it, now you don’t”

  1. Anonymous

    I love the architecture! I imagine the fun of building a puzzle of the famous Bran Castle! But how sad that leaders can destroy / dictate….. Lots of love Amelia xx

  2. Anonymous

    The photos of the buildings and Bran Castle are just amazing. Transylvania looks like an lovely place to be. Enjoy every minute of your journey. Debbie Durban

  3. Siem Haffmans

    Enjoy your trip!
    We will be enjoying your beautiful stories and pictures…
    Love Hedy and Siem

  4. Anonymous

    Enjoy your trip!
    We will be enjoying your beautiful stories and pictures…
    Love Hedy and Siem

  5. Anonymous

    Wonderful and thank you. All we are seeing and HEARING are are sheep, no vampires. Lots of love


    A good story and there are still people of German descent In Romania, such as the President.
    Klaus Iohanides is a Transylvanian Saxon, part of Romania’s German minority which settled in Transylvania in the 12th century. Thus, he is the fourth president of German origin from Eastern Europe in the post-communist period. Iohanides was chosen on a anti-corruption ticket…
    I think the red wines in Draculaland must have something very special……

  7. Anonymous

    I’ve now had the Rocky Horror Picture Show song all about Transylvania swirling in my head all day!! How WONDERFUL that you are actually there in a real Dracula Castle. Its epic! I’m also blown away with your incredible writing ability! “They fortify their churches, castle their noblemen, mansion their merchants, frequent their opera and yoke their Romanian peasants.” That is just BRILLIANT penmanship! Well done! Yes I too saw those bats and vampires and all things lurking, just from reading that which you write. No, the bright and breezy is surely a disguise….. Its those droopy little eyes, disguised as windows. Something sinister….. definitely. As for those TURRETS! Agh! Drooling!!! Thank you for this, Lils and Harry – just fabulous!!

  8. Anonymous

    Hi Linda & Harold, Wear polo neck sweaters to protect you from Dracula’s nasty bite !! Scary place Enjoy your adventures and return home safely. All the best Colin.4

  9. Anonymous

    What a wonderful story, and Linda: you possess absolute writing talent! Ever thought about writing a book?
    Keep these good stories coming, Linda an Harold!
    Safe travels!

    Louis van den Bergh

    NoNoise Motorsport hearing protectors

  10. Anonymous

    Of great interest:)

  11. Gail and Jan van der Mey

    It looks cold and eerie but lovely stories too. Jan says he too would prefer not to know the details of all the horrors

  12. Anonymous

    Really very nice read, thank you, I so badly would like to visit and to spend some time in that area.


  13. ana + jon

    hey guys, we are actually in Romania at the moment, come and visit us and stay at our place in Bucharest! we’ve sent our whatsapp and Fb on email, call us to give you the coordinates and hope to see you soon! hugs, Ana + Jon

  14. Naude.K

    What, everyone left? … that’s an horror! 🙂 I’m sure a great experience to visit such remarkable and legendary places. Enjoy and hope the icy weather change for the better. Nod’s

  15. Anonymous

    Hi Linda and Harry – Love your descriptions and all the photos. Transylvania looks amazing! Enjoy!

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