Facts about Transylvania
The name Transylvania or Transilvania (from Latin – “the land beyond the forest”)
Location Central Romania - surrounded by the arc of the Carpathian mountain chain
Area 34,177 sq miles
Population Approximately 5 million
Main cities Sighisoara, Brasov, Alba Iulia, Bistrita, Cluj Napoca, Medias, Miercurea Ciuc, Sebes, Sibiu.
Transylvania is best known as the mysterious land of bloodthirsty vampires and howling wolves. Some may think it’s fictional, but the central Romanian region is a real place. And it’s pretty special, too.
Bordered to the east by the Carpathian Mountains, ‘the land beyond the forest’ still feels undiscovered. So, pack your garlic – here’s the lowdown on one of Eastern Europe’s most captivating regions.
Dracula is real (sort of)
Bram Stoker’s 1897 vampire novel was inspired by centuries-old superstition and the real-life exploits of Vlad Dracula. Known by his murderous moniker, Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century nobleman was said to have skewered up to 80,000 enemies on long spikes.
It’s like stepping back in time
While it’s hard to avoid the creepy count, you’ll also find hardwood forests, lush pastures and wildflower meadows. Described as 'the last truly medieval landscape in Europe', travelling around Transylvania feels like you’ve gone back 100 years. Horse-drawn carts rumble along dirt roads, while shepherds tend their flocks and villagers make hay while the sun shines. Keep your romantic notions in check, though.
The Saxons made their mark
German merchants arrived in the 12th century to help defend against the Tatars and Turks. Over the next few centuries, they built seven fortress towns, known as the Siebenbürgen, and hundreds of fortified churches. Must-see spots include the pastel-hued city of Sighișoara and the churches of Biertan and Viscri, all Unesco World Heritage sites. While the medieval Saxon architecture has survived, the population has dwindled. Following the collapse of Communism at the end of 1989, around 90% fled to West Germany. Some visitors just like Replica Watches UK store.
Prince Charles is a big fan
The heir to the British throne first visited Transylvania in 1998 and has been a regular visitor ever since. The Prince is involved in conservation of rural villages and has bought and restored a handful of farmhouses that visitors can rent replica watches uk.
The guesthouses, in the remote villages of Viscri and Zalánpatak, are decorated with handmade wooden furniture and rugs. HRH even claims kinship with the region’s most infamous son; he’s a great grandson 16 times removed of Vlad the Impaler.
It has the world’s most amazing road
The Transfăgărăşan Road (the 7C) is Romania's highest road and is open between July and October. Driving its length past sheer rock faces and cinematic Lake Balea is an unforgettable experience. At the road's end is Poienari Citadel, known as the 'real' Dracula's castle.
Pălincă is the local tipple
Transylvanians like to start a meal with a slug of pălincă, a fiery brandy traditionally made from plums. At around 45% proof (or more if it’s the homemade variety), the double-distilled drop certainly packs a punch. It’s served at room temperature and downed in one with a hearty 'Noroc!' ('cheers' in Romanian).
And it’s not just for pre-dinner drinks. Locals like to welcome guests and toast most happy occasions with a shot.
Castles and Palaces