Quick, what’s the first thing you think of when you see the word Transylvania? Vampires of course, because that’s where they come from. The Romanians are so very happy that Bram Stoker warned the world when he published Dracula and inspired an endless stream of books and movies, because otherwise visitors might not take the proper precautions.

Transylvania is actually a region of Romania with a rich culture and an important place in European history. But nowhere in its rich history has anyone documented any vampires. Why then did Bram Stoker choose Transylvania as the home of the title character? The most likely explanation is that he was influenced by a contemporary Scottish writer named Emily Gerard, who lived for a few years in Transylvania and whose Transylvanian folklore novels would have been read by Stoker. Thus inspired, Stoker went on to impart a huge influence on future writers who found it easy to continue the association of Transylvania with mysterious dark magic.

Curiously, Bela Lugosi, famous for playing one of the first Draculas on film, was born in Romania, although not Transylvania.

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