August 31, 2009

The Blood Countess

Type in Elizabeth Bathory in Google. Go one go ahead, I'll wait.

Now when you read about her what comes to mind, the 600 young girls she apparently killed? Or the idea that she did it so sadistically? or, that she wasn't stopped?

I'll give you my version as to why she wasn't stopped:

Many of the girls whom she killed were servants or girls from nearby villages. Nobility possibly didn't take much notice in that, and it could be argued that the girls "went" to another village, although this would be unlikely since this happened within the borders of the Carpathian mountains, in Transylvania, in the 1600s.

The way people, or more specifically, the nobility found out about her deeds was when she began to take daughters of the minor nobility to her castle to kill them. That was when the investigation began and they found the evidence they needed. A young woman dying on the floor in the cellar mass graves and a list of 600 or more names of young women, who the countess later admitted she and her associates killed.

Which bring me to the next question what about her associates? Were they Walled up with her?

August 30, 2009

The Countess of Blood?

She was known to many as the Countess of Transylvania. Yet, I would honestly say that many would call her the countess of blood. She had a fascination with young girls and more specifically their blood.

Elizabeth Bathory feared death, or old age, both really, and int eh end thought that the blood of young girls would keep her skin young. Legend has it that she hit a young servant girl across the face and drew blood, which fell on her hand. It made the hand appear younger looking.

Madness descended upon the castle and any young servant girl would have their blood drawn and she would "bathe" in the blood. Of course it only ended with she began to believe that the pure blood of nobles daughters would keep her more beautiful and younger.

Then she was not put to a court but walled up in her castle where she died there.

The numbers where left uncounted but some say it was at least 600 girls.

August 29, 2009

What is Important?

Is she the real Dracula? What is important about her and the Germans or Hungarians of Transylvania?

Her name was Elizabeth Bathory, also know by the name of the Countess of Transylvania.

August 28, 2009

What About Germans?

Map of German Transylvania:


I got a very interesting email asking about the Saxons of Transylvania. So a bit of a change, and I'll do my best. The land that the Saxons lived in wasn't known to them as Transylvania, but rather Siebenburgen, roughly, seven castles. I'll give a brief start to these people today with more tomorrow.


The Saxon story begins with an invitation. King Geza II of Hungary needed people and gave an invitation for people to come to Hungary in exchange for land and more freedoms. Several hundred families accepted the call and went.

The land in the South was sparely populated. The Saxon settlers who came to live in Transylvania first cleared the land and founded villages and cities. This continued alongside the Hungarian and Romanians, in the mountainous regions. This was true of much of Transylvania at the time. During the next few centuries Mongols, and Turks invaded the land, wanting to get to Western Europe. Between the Saxons Wallachians, Moldavians, (These two groups would soon be known as Romanians) and Hungarians these invasions were slowed, and sometimes halted.

The most well known and finest of the Saxon cities is Hermannstadt or Sibiu. Below is the Historic Center.

August 27, 2009

The Germans and Vald Tepes.

Why is this picture linked to Dracula? It should be linked to Queen Maria of Romania or the Teutonic Knights, they were the people who lived and built this castle. Yet it is remembered for one thing.

Dracula.

Why oh why?

I'll give you one reason Bram Stoker and the Germans. Vlad Tepes isn't viewed in such a dark manner in Eastern Europe, in fact the Russian and Romanian writing of the time shed a different light on the subject, he was someone who was fair and loyal to his people, and expected that back from them.


The Truth is somewhere in between....

August 26, 2009

The Germans and and Vlad Tepes

A painting of Vlad Tepes.




These two pictures represent the city of Brasov, one where Vlad Tepes is most identified with, along with Kronstadt it is there that according to German writers he did the majority of his killings of Saxons.




The above two pictures are of Brasov.


These days the city is busy enough, and has few reminders of its past, and yet so many people know about a place where he wasn't identified with Bistritz. Thank you Mr. Bram Stoker.


Over the next few days there will be a guest blogger to this site, and I'll be guest blogging about Transylvania on hers, so be prepared. If anyone else would like to guest blog feel free to send me an email.

August 25, 2009

The Germans and Vald Tepes.


If Vlad was born in Transylvania why do the Germans there paint in such a negative light?
Partly them and partly the King of Hungary at the time, didn't want to fight the Ottomans and used Vlad as a reason not to fight, thereby giving the excuse he needed to be closer to home, and yet, this is the stories that circulated especially in what would become Germany.
Germany you say? Yes, as the Saxons were from the Rhineland, and Mossel regions. The printing press came into play as well, as pamphlets were sent back to German printers in Saxony, or other smaller provinces.
Vlad was also not A "Transylvanian" his father was a prince of Wallachia and that was another province that border Transylvania. He was also a very angry and bitter young man. Having lost both his elder brother and father in one year.
Could that be the Reason?

August 24, 2009

The Germans and and Vlad Tepes


Okay Indulge me in a what if game, what if Vlad Tepes was more of a diplomat and was more "caring" to the Saxons in Transylvania.
I suspect that his name wouldn't have been found in the volume that Bram Stoker found his name in, and perhaps Dracula might have been a she. If your wondering look up the history of the Countess of Transylvania. It's a rather interesting read in a person who came closer to being an actual "vampire."
He did have something else, a wife. Two in fact, although not at the same time. I think His first wife was the more interesting of the two. In addition to enemies in Transylvania, he had enemies in the Ottomans and the Turks. There was always raids, and his first wife

His first wife was aware of the price that she would get as Vlad wife if she were ever captured by the Turks. Although history does not reveal her name, her story survived. In 1462, when the Turks began an attack near the castle she was living in, she jumped to the river below. This was upon hearing of the impending arrival of the Turkish army by a messenger. Later the part of the river where she jumped to her death would be renamed the Lady’s River in her honour.
What if she had lived? If not captured, would Vald remained somewhat mroe balanced? Would she have gained fame in her own right?
A fun game of What if...

August 23, 2009

The Germans and Vald Tepes.


Born in Transylvania in in 1431, and as a prince of Wallachia, a neighboring province, he was still a "native" of Transylvania. he went to many different places until...

In 1447, he found himself back in the his princedom of Wallachia, it was not how he imagined it to be. He was ruler of the country but behind his rule, the Ottomans held control. His father and older brother were dead. His father Vlad was killed by the boyars in 1447. His older brother Mircea was buried alive sometime earlier by another rival clan engaged in a struggle for the throne of Wallachia. Vlad gained the throne but lost it, and he fled to Moldavia. Then in 1456, once again, he was ruler in his own right and began leading Wallachia. For the Saxons of Transylvania this proved a time of danger. He disliked their power. More specifically, he disliked the fact that they gave power to his enemies in the boyar class.

According to some reports, during raids into Transylvania in 1459 Vlad impaled 30,000 German Saxon merchants in the city of Kronstadt. This was to show his might but also a show of his cruelty. According to some writings, Vlad also wanted to use his power against his own country this way. At first, he simply eliminated trading rights that the Saxon merchants and the boyars had between them and Wallachia. Then the raids began.

Reality is a bit different, the boyars had their power through the Transylvania's Saxons, and they were not as loyal to Vlad as he wanted. The trade connections with the Saxons provided the boyars a source of money and this was what Vlad eliminated. This way the men who were loyal to Vlad himself could gain more power. Once he had done this, he then he turned to his own country. Since the death of his grandfather, Wallachia had no ruler who could stop the decent into anarchy. Under his rule, the situation slowly repaired itself.


Still reading this shows that teh numbers were a bit high. For one thing 30,000 Germans at that time? Not really, in fact when the Saxons of Northern Transylvania were evacuated in 1944, several hundred years later, There were about 150,000 people who left. Hm, the numbers might be a bit off.. but more on that later.

August 22, 2009

A New Series, On Vlad Tepes and the Germans of Transylvania

I'll be doing a quick series on the writings of the Germans of Transylvania on Vlad Tepes, versus that of other cultures.

I've found some interesting things.

August 21, 2009

Family.

Well, no, this is Vlad Tepes, who although born in Transylvania was a prince of Wallachia and not of Transylvania, and yet... still

Nope, sorry not part of this family. or at least so my family says... we're Germans after all, and he didn't like us.

August 20, 2009

Saxons and Transylvania


A young married couple, the woman is wearing a headdress that "older" married women would wear, before wearing a kerchief.

A Saxon Church, this one is now a Romanian Orthodox Church.


Saxon Houses note they are all white, if they are still standing these days they are painted a bright colour. My grandmother's house is now a deep green and her parents house is a red.

A older fortified village or large town. People would run and hide inside during attacks.

Above are some pictures of the Saxons of Transylvania, the people and the buildings.

August 19, 2009

Italy in Transylvania?


Perhaps it is, as many Italians lived in Transylvania. Some even lived in small villages in the area, with other cultures, the Germans, Hungarians, Roma, and Romanians to name but a few.


It is very interesting now to look at the family photo album and try to find out what my great great grandmother looked like as she died in 1919. Is a bit of Italian in her descendants?

August 18, 2009

Can Anyone tell me this?

Okay all.



I need some quick help here, as I'm not sure where this will go.



I've got a bit of a dilemma, a friend and I are planning a trip to Europe, two years hence, of course, England and Scotland are on the list but so is Poland and Transylvania. Scotland and England because her family is from the area, Yorkshire, and Edinburgh are two of the cities she mentioned.



My family now mentioned that perhaps, my great-great grandmother might have had descendant from Italy, should I explore that part of my past?

This map is to me is important since it gives an idea of where and when she came with her family.

August 17, 2009

A Link To the Past, A Link To The Present.

The church that the records were stored for many years, possibly centuries.
How does one link themselves to the present through the past?


It's interesting to find bits and pieces of information about family that is "hidden" for example, my family was as Saxon as Saxon could be in Transylvania, or so the story goes. That was until I went on a bit of a journey, well past my great grandparents. Normally our family when doing history covers the male line, but I went I looked around the line of my great-grandfathers mother, and nothing.


I am saying this again, nothing. I was able to through use of the church records come up with her last name "Lorenz." When I mentioned this there was a collective "what?" No I must be mistaken, or well, read the writing wrong. It took a while, but finally one of my great uncles made a comment that for a time, way back in the 1880s there were a few Italians in the village, and they married within their culture, but some women, some women, married into the Saxon community.


I wonder....

August 16, 2009

August 15, 2009

Where Are the Saxons Now?




It depends, if you were from the Northern part of Transylvania, most left in 1944 never to return, if you were from the South many left much later. Most of them left. There are a few Saxons remaining in Transylvania, but it is often fewer than 1% in villages that once had hundreds.

They left everything except basic need but they also left some beautiful buildings. Churches and Clock Towers, and many fortifications.




August 14, 2009

Where there Ever Romans?

I Thought that Today as we are heading farther into the past, a bit of mine came up, so here's a bit of it: My grandfather before he died was known to the village in Transylvania where he lived as "Dacia." It was never mentioned to his grandchildren until recently when my grandmother mentioned the inscription on the bottom of the photo was in fact, not the photographer we always assumed but his nickname.



Hm, so what about it? Well Dacia was a Kingdom that Transylvania was a part of. It was there for hundreds of years until be conquered by the Romans. I wonder is there a connection?




Above is the image of the Roman Emperor Tragan, who defeat the Dacian army. He was a ruler who gained land and power for the Roman Empire.


above is a picture of the man Tragan fought against, Decebalus, who in the end committed suicide rather than be marched to the streets of Rome, as a conquered king.




One of the wall reliefs that depict the battle between the two. it is very interesting to see the Romans and the Dacians in this.

It has given me a new sense of what Transylvania was like.

August 13, 2009

The Brave.

We Looked at Two Michaels yesterday, one a King of Romania and one a prince of Transylvania, but i want to focus on one, Michael the Brave. Here he is entering Alba Iliua. That city it, seems is pivotal in the life of Transylvania. He united it to two other princedoms under his rule,and for a time what would become Romania was born.





One of the most interesting photos I've come across is that of his triumphant entrance into the city of Alba Iluia. He is strong and proud on his horse, and there are people greeting him, the future is his to take, and he has done what so many of the Romanians in Transylvania hoped he would do, unite the three provinces together.



I love this picture of the gate in Alba Iluia, it seems that it might have been there since the time of Michael, when there was an interesting events happening, intrigues, and or course battles and deaths. Unfortunately one such death was Michael himself. It is said that during one battle someone killed him. Possibly from his own side, and Transylvania was once again a principality on its own.





Could this be the fortification in the picture? Much was destroyed by the invasions of the Turks and Ottomans in the 1700s. One such building that was destroyed was Michael's palace, and I think I know why.



This was what the borders looked like to Michael during his very brief reign...

August 12, 2009

Two Michaels fo Transylvania.

Transylvania is one of the most wonderful places I can come up with and for some reason its royalty fascinates me. Take for example, Michael of Transylvania. If you like we can argue that there were and are two main people that come to mind when I say that name.



This picture above is the picture representing Michael the Brave entering Transylvania in 1599. This is one of the first instances where Transylvania was united with two other provinces that would ultimately form Romania, Wallachia and Molodvia. It wouldn't last, as Michael was killed in 1601.


The next photo shows King Michael of Romania, who was King twice. A boy king and a youthful man. He is the current pretender to the throne of Romania. He resides in many of his old homes after the fall of communism in the 1990s. There isn't much support in Romania for a restoration, but Michael does much work on behalf of Romania.

Still, it is interesting that both men strike a chord with many people.

Until tomorrow, enjoy the images.

August 11, 2009

I Need YOUR help

Very simple request to all of you...

Where do you think this blog should go? More pictures a series or two?

I want to hear your voice.

August 10, 2009

The Answer

Welcome to all who come regularly, and who are new. Transylvania is a unique place, most importantly because it shows that people can live together in relative harmony.



Yet, the royalty and the people keep me going back. Queen Maria, the woman in the photos, was a wonderfully interesting woman. Her mark was made in the First World war, and had she lived into the Second and past it, her mark would most likely have been felt there. She wasn't old when she died, in her sixties.




The crowning took place by her husband, who became King Ferdinand of Romania. This crowning happened in Alba Iluia. As you can see in the above photo.

Still it's hard to miss such wonderful things about Transylvania, precisely because of its location and it connections to legends.

See you tomorrow, and I'll be getting into something a bit more dramatic, the Second World War.

August 9, 2009

What Who and Where?

Welcome to all who are new, feel free to comment and give suggestions to improve this site.

Name who this person is, where they are, and what they are doing there.






What do these two photos mean to you? to Transylvania?

August 8, 2009

Post of The Book's Status.

Welcome to all who are new and who join here regularly. it's pleasure to have you here, feel free to look around, and most importantly visit the prodigal tourist, and purest green's site, both can be found in the links on the right.



The book is done, and is being edited. Almost there, almost there.



It's about Transylvania. It's about the Second World War, and I'm interviewing Transylvania Saxons for it and the series of books I'm writing about. If anyone knows some Romanians or Hungarians in that area, tell them they can contact me, in my efforts to complete a book on the people of Transylvania.



The main city I have in this book is:



Bistritz.

August 7, 2009

Did you find them?

Did you find the links?

There are three:

Transylvania, Infamous legendary people, and people and places that other write about.

August 6, 2009

Dracula... No not again... But Links.

Welcome to all who are new, and my regular visitors, great to have your here. One question what do these four images have in common?



A map of Transylvania, when it was a part of the Kingdom of Hungary. This is an interesting map since it names it not in the Hungarian form but in the Latin and German.




One of the many fortifications in Transylvania. The City is called Sighisoara, the birthplace of this man...


Vald Tepes, made famous by Bram Stoker in his novel Dracula. It was according to some based partly on this woman.


Can you guess who she is?

What are the links now?

August 5, 2009

The Answer

Welcome to all who are new, and to all who are regular guest. Feel free to make any comments, wither here or via my email. I'll try to fix them asap, but not being all that computer savvy... you get the idea.



The Answer Peles Castle.



This was built on an important link between the two main provinces that would become Greater Romania. King Carol I began the building which was completed in 1914. After 1947 it was taken as a part of the Romanian government property only to be returned to the Romanian Royal family later.
It remains as an important piece of history as it links once more Wallachia to Transylvania.

August 4, 2009

Just a Question

Welcome to all who are new. And to my favorite regulars, Purest Green and the prodigal tourist, and Pretty Siren, and anyone else whom I might have forgotten.



Just a Question: Know this Castle?


August 3, 2009

Some Say that Transylvania.

Some Say Transylvania is...


Older Fortifications


Royalty


Dracula


A Place on the map

What do you Say it is?