Archaeologists Might Have Found Dracula’s Dungeon In Turkey

“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.” —Bram Stoker, “Dracula”

In A Nutshell

While restorations were being made at Tokat Castle in Turkey, two dungeons were discovered where Vlad the Impaler, the real-life inspiration for the fictional Dracula, may have been imprisoned as a young prince by the Ottomans in the 15th century. Some historians believe these early experiences shaped Vlad’s later sadistic behavior of impaling his victims. After his release, Vlad fought the Ottomans for most of the rest of his life, although he later died in one of those battles.

The Whole Bushel

While restorations were being made at Tokat Castle in Turkey, two dungeons were discovered where Vlad the Impaler, the real-life inspiration for Bram Stoker’s fictional Dracula, may have been imprisoned as a young prince by the Ottoman Turks in the early 15th century. “The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious,” archaeologist Ibrahim Cetin told Hurriyet Daily News. “It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept, but he was around here.”

The Seljuk Turks conquered the town of Tokat in the late 1100s. Later, in 1392, it became part of the Ottoman empire. Tokat Castle was situated above the city in the sharply rising hills. Wallachian Prince Vlad III was born in the late 1420s or early 1430s in a mountainous region that is now part of Romania. In 1442, Vlad III and his younger brother were captured by the Ottomans when their father, Vlad II, brought them to a political meeting. The boys were held at Tokat Castle to ensure the loyalty of their father in an ongoing war.

The Ottomans tutored Vlad and his brother and treated them well for that time in history. After his father and brother were viciously murdered, Vlad III was released. But Vlad III held a grudge about those years and it’s believed that’s the reason he spent his life fighting the Ottomans after his release. Some historians believe these early experiences shaped Vlad’s later sadistic behavior of impaling his victims with poles, which is how he got his nickname, “Vlad the Impaler.”

His association with the name, Dracula, came about a different way. When his father, Vlad II, was admitted to the Order of the Dragon, Vald II was given the surname, Dracul (which means “dragon”). That made Vlad III the son of Dracul, or Dracula.

The Order of the Dragon was obsessed with overthrowing the Ottoman Empire. Located between the Muslim Ottoman Empire and Christian Europe, Wallachia (where both Vlads ruled at different times) often became the site of brutal battles between the two forces. Vlad III also devoted his adult life to the overthrow of the Turks.

Vlad III may have killed as many as 80,000 people, even displaying 20,000 of them outside the city of Targoviste to send a message to the Ottomans not to invade. He won that time. However, Vlad III was eventually killed in a battle with the Ottomans in 1476 when he and a small group of soldiers were ambushed.

Show Me The Proof

Featured photo via Wikipedia
International Business Times: ‘Dracula’s Dungeon’ Discovered by Archaeologists at Tokat Castle in Turkey
Smithsonian: Archaeologists Think They’ve Found the Dungeon Where Dracula Was Kept
Hurriyet Daily News: Clues about ‘Dracula’s captivity’ unearthed in Tokat
LiveScience: The Real Dracula: Vlad the Impaler
Washington Post: ‘Dracula’s dungeon’ discovered in Turkish castle