Transylvania Travel Guide
The fortified church of Biertan, Transylvania © Otto Schemmel
Thanks to the legend of Dracula, Transylvania remains one of the most famous regions of Romania, conjuring up images of haunted forests, vampires, werewolves, medieval towns, dramatic mountains and turreted cliff-top castles.
The charming town of Sighisoara is the most striking introduction to the birthplace of 'Dracula', a medieval prince named Vlad Tepes who led the Romanian resistance against the Turks. The wider region is famous for the castles and churches of Brasov and Sinaia, and the dramatic castle of Bran. Also known as Dracula's Castle, Bran looks every bit a vampire's lair with its soaring turrets and dramatic setting.
Transylvania is not just about Dracula, however. It contains splendid mountain scenery and alpine peaks, some of the country's best hiking and skiing, rural villages, and a way of life that remains almost as it was in the 18th century. Historic towns with stone medieval streets, defensive towers and fortified churches are scattered throughout the region.
The populace is a melting pot of different cultures and customs that have been shaped by years of colonisation and the coming and going of different groups, including Romanians, Gypsies, Hungarians and Germans. Despite the creeping effects of modernisation into the larger towns, visitors to this region can still enjoy its medieval charm and the traditional character of the people. Images of horse-drawn carts piled high with cabbages, driven by elderly couples with scarf-covered heads and rough hands; lively food markets, quaint cobbled streets, and hilly pastures nestled among the Carpathian Mountains will be the lasting impressions left by the charm of Transylvania.
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