Origin of the Name "Dracula" King Sigismund of Hungary, who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1410, founded a secret fraternal order of knights called the Order of the Dragon to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against the Ottoman Turks. Its emblem was a dragon, wings extended, hanging on a cross. Vlad IIIs father (Vlad II) was admitted to the Order around 1431 because of his bravery in fighting the Turks. From 1431 onward Vlad II wore the emblem of the order and later, as ruler of Wallachia, his coinage bore the dragon symbol. The word for dragon in Romanian is "drac" and "ul" is the definitive article. Vlad IIIs father thus came to be known as "Vlad Dracul," or "Vlad the dragon." In Romanian the ending "ulea" means "the son of". Under this interpretation, Vlad III thus became Vlad Dracula, or "the son of the dragon." (The word "drac" also means "devil" in Romanian. The sobriquet thus took on a double meaning for enemies of Vlad Tepes and his father.)
Vlad Tepes was born in the town of Sighisoara, Romania. The huse in which he was born is still standing (with a restaurant on the second floor). Sighisoara is unique in that it is the only medieval citadel in Europe still currently inhabited. Many people continue to live in structures that are 600 to 700 years old. Bran Castle is often referred to as "Dracula's Castle." This designation is a bit of a misnomer, for there is apparently no evidence that it was ever owned, lived in or visited by Vlad Tepes (although he may have stayed there on occasion in his travels between Tirgoviste and Brasov). The castle is definitely linked to Vlad, however, in that his grandfather, Mircea the Great, was one of its first owners. The castle also certainly represents a significant architectural and historical landmark.
Soon after coming to power Vlad began his reign of terror. He invited many of the noblemen and their families to a huge feast. Confronting them as traitors and conspirators in the death of his father and brother, he captured and impaled most of them. The younger and healthier ones were marched north from Tirgoviste to the ruins of his castle in the mountains above the Arges River, where they were forced to labor for months rebuilding the old castle. According to the reports, they labored until the clothes fell off their bodies, with few surviving the ordeal Impalement was Vlads preferred method of torture and execution. Impalement was one of the most gruesome ways of dying imaginable, as it was typically slow and painful. Victims included warring enemies, unfaithful noblemen, dishonest merchants and unchaste women.
Moldavia - painted monasteries Sucevita – monasterie Sucevita, monastery from Sucevita village, built in 1585 by Ieremia Gheorghe and Simion Movila. It is composed from a big fortified yard, with high walls and towers, the complex of boyard and monahal houses and the church situated in the center, a materpiece of the Moldavian medieval architecture. Decorated with paintings, dating from 1601, covers all the walls of the church, both inside and outside, being one of the most valuable ensembles of Romania painting. With Sucevita the great epoch of the famous Moldavian exterior painting ends.
The monastery"s votive painting is found in the nave, were His Majesty Stephen the Great and the Holy along with Lady Maria-Voichita and Bogdan, his heir, are depicted in the act of giving, through the mediation of St. George the Martyr, the Monastery ot our Redeemer Jesus Crist, as a token of gratitude for divine aid given in the battle against the Turkish invaders.Gazing at this votive picture whilst listening to the ringing of the bells which were given to the monastery by its Voievode at the very beginning - bells which now, pulled by our young nuns, seem to call out the name of its foundeé: "Stefan-voda, Stefan-voda", back through the centuries, like an eternal requiem - we feel a close affinity to our forerunners, bound to them by invisible threads.
A piece of artistic value to be found within the church is the gilded iconostasis, fashioned from Yew-wood, its imperial doors being a true masterpiece of sculpture in wood. Also of a great value is the throne of the Metropolitan Bishop Grigore Rosca, We hope that the original throne, currently (1996) at Sucevita undergoing restoration, will soon be returned home to Voronet.. (The piece found in the church is a copy, in contrast with the other pieces, which are all original). Voronet is considered by many to be the "Sistine Chapel of the East", due to the magnificient frescoes on the west wall, a representation of the "Last Judgement". In addition, "Voronet Blue" has been added to the lexicon of art alongside colours such as the "Titan Ted" of Rubens and "VeroneseGreen", by specialists who consider it unique. On this blue background can be found the "Tree of Jesse", or the genealogy of Redeemer Jesus Christ. Greco-latin philosophers are depiected in the borders to the left and right: Aristotle and Plato being amongst the better known philosophers that can be found there, and to the side on the apse the eye is drawn to a beautiful representation of St. Onufrie The Hermit.
"And behold, Stefan-voda, traveling from the Neamtul Citadel to Moldova, came upon Voronet, where a Hermit priest dwelt, by the name of Daniil. And Stefan voda, upon knocking at the door for the hermit to open it up unto him, heard the Hermit answer that Stefan-voda must wait out of the door, for he was at prayer. And after the hermit had finisted his prahyers, he called Stefan-voda into his cell, and Stefan-voda confessed unto him. And Stefan-voda asked the Hermit what he might do, so that he should no longer need do the battle with the Turks: should he give up his country to the Turks? And the Hermit answered that he should not give it up, for the battle was to be his, but that after he should be victorious, he should raise up a monastery in that place, in the name of St. George the Martyr as the Patron of its church". Ion Neculce (Romanian chronicler, 1672-1745).
Discover Constantin Brancusi The Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi was born of peasant parents in Pestisani, Southern Romania on February 21st, 1876. Constantin Brancusi made the earliest and sharpest break in the modern movement of abstraction. He defined new forms by carving in wood and stone. His simple, exquisite forms reflect attitudes of modern art. Although a pioneer of modern art, Brancusi was the least public and the most withdrawn artist. His working life was spent mostly in solitude in his studio. He allowed nothing to interfere with his work. To the few writers he permitted to see him he would say "Promise not to write about me until I am dead." His life was simply and completely dedicated to his work. His way of work was a concentrated dialogue between himself and his material which gradually took forms. His passion for a direct and simple contact with life referred to his sculpture and everything he did. By his carving he felt that he got closer and more intimate with the material. All his work, both in wood and stone, reflects his love for life, the force and freshness of the images of the world around him. His work was presented and appreciated at different exhibitions around the world: France (Paris), USA (New York & Chicago), Switzerland (Zurich & Yverdon), India, and certainly Romania. He died in his studio in Paris on March 16th, 1957.