November 28, 2011

Why Publish A Book on Transylvania?

I was asked why did you publish a book on Transylvania?

Why did you publish a book on Eastern European history?

I didn't think long and hard about the answer, mostly because I have had an answer for a while now.  Here are the three main points which sum up why I wrote and published a book on Transylvania:

1) Because it was a topic-- Transylvania and history of that area-- which interested me.

2) It went beyond Dracula, or the castles or the place in general, but a part of the history of Transylvania which has not been as explored as other topics.  The topic were the people of Transylvania, in particular the Saxons of Transylvania.

3) Because in many ways it was something that I knew I could do. I knew that I could learn a lot of information and write about it.  As time went on I became far more comfortable with the idea that I could publish something like this.

I did just that.

November 24, 2011

Is Dracula Relevant?

Do we need Dracula?  Now I am not referring to Vlad Tepes, but rather to Count Dracula.  This character is from the novel "Dracula."  Do we need him?

Not really.  Except that Hollywood would lose a lot of its money this way.

After all, according to some lists, there are at least 150 films or TV shows about Dracula, or vampires.  Only one could be taken as partly true to history and that is Bram Stoker's Dracula where they do work in a portion of Vlad Tepes into the film.

The other way to look at it is this way: without the fictional character of Dracula, then there would not be as much of a tourism industry around Bran Castle.

November 22, 2011

In Search of The Lost Ones: On Amazon Soon, but You Can Buy It Now

This is great news!  it's something I've been waiting for.  Just a bit excited, no okay, a lot excited!

In a few days the book will be out on amazon, it's very exciting to see!  Some days that name in lights is a pretty cool thing.  For now it is available on CreateSpace, but you can go and see In Search of The Lost Ones right here.  I made a lot of choices, but I am pleased with the book.

Now, back to the old grind of getting another book published.  This is what living a life of writing is all about.  The next book will be on Transylvania as well, and that's a pretty nice thing.  I think having a series about Transylvania is a positive thing.

Mind you, I am a bit biased, as I do write this blog!

November 21, 2011

Images Ruins Of Castles in Transylvania

There are many castles in Transylvania which for many reasons have not been restored.  Some have been constantly restored while others have not.  Bran Castle is one example over the years there have been many restorations.

Where as Alba Iulia and its surrounding hill have not.  Yet the city of Alba Iulia has had extensive restorations over the years.

The third for many reasons will possibly never be restored no matter where Transylvania is in terms of restoring castles-- its past owner made it that way.  Below is the image in the evening of the castle where Elizabeth Bathory lived.  There is something about Transylvania that makes the land so interesting.  The ruins of some castles are more important than restorations in this land.

November 19, 2011

What Restoration Did For Bran Castle

Although you can see that Bran Castle was in need of restoration in the bottom photo you can see that it did happen. Just like with many of the castle in Transylvania, there is a need to restore them. Some of the many reasons include for tourist to see what that huge castle is all about and go and explore it day after day.

There have been several restoration which have happened to the castle, including the ones made for Queen Marie of Romania, and also by the Romanian government after the 1950s.

This picture here is not all that was left of Bran Castle but rather parts of what were left, it took considerable restoration to get it to the above photo. Note that without the restorations, there possibly would not be as many tourists who would go and look at the Castle-- or other cities such as the historic city of Alba Iulia or Brasov.

November 17, 2011

Alba Iulia: two Amazing Pictures

The  two images below are important, they are more than 400 years apart and yet, for many have great meaning. This is about Romania and Transylvania but the city is the same: Alba Iulia. Somethings of course changed. The images directly below is in 1918, and this is the convention where the peoples of Transylvania held a vote to decide to join with the Kingdom of Romania or not. For the most part, the Saxon and Romanians voted yes, whereas other including the Hungarians voted against this.

This image is of the entrance into Alba Iulia in 1599. It is of Micheal the Brave the prince who for a year united the three principalities of Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia. This would be one of the First times that the three principalities would be united under one leader.

In 1600, Micheal the Brave was killed. This ended the unification, but the key city in both these places was: Alba Iulia.

November 14, 2011

Bran Castle or Alba Iulia Castle?

There should be a vote or something when it comes to Transylvania and its castles. Below is Bran Castle and the older site of Alba Iulia-- and its citadel. Which would you think is more important? After all, Alba Iulia is the "heart" of the Romanians in Transylvania, and yet Bran Castle is the tourist attraction to the West. Both are important and both provide a lot of history to the land.

Why do we relate more to Bran Castle? Because of its location or the supposed person (Count Dracula), cerated by Bram Stoker, who lived there centuries ago? Transylvania is more than the sum of its parts, but there are many of its castles which have an important part in history.

November 12, 2011

Dracula: The First Edition Cover Doesn't Seem So Scary

I think that The first edition print of Dracula doesn't seem as scary as what would be to come.  It was in many ways a sort of interesting cover.  You wouldn't think it would be scary.

In fact you can argue that the writer of Dracula didn't seem all that scary either.  After all he did write Romance novels, and one could argue that Dracula does have that element of romance.

The thing that changes over the years was what people wanted to see in the horror genre.  After many years, Ian Holt and Dacre Stoker wrote a sequel to Dracula which is very different from the original and yet, it is in a similar format.  Still Transylvania, and Bran Castle play a strong role in the writing.

This cover has a strong element of people knowing this will be a horror novel.  Although it is not gory horror it has that element of horror to it.  The biggest change was the addition of another person, and a bit of "romance", in the form of the Countess of the Blood- Elizabeth Bathory.

November 10, 2011

Romania And Transylvania: Maps

Below are two maps of Transylvania. One is from 1600 when Michael the Brave united the three principalities of Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia- they would one day unite and become the Kingdom of Romania after the end of World War I. This is an important historical date in the history of Transylvania- it was as close to becoming independent as it would ever be. Afterwards it would become more linked with the Kingdom of Hungary and then Austrian Empire until 1919.

Below is the map of Greater Romania shown after it gained its territory from the First World War. It is very interesting to note that Transylvania is not as close to the Hungarian borders, but that most people simply call the two smaller provinces ( in particular the Banat) a part of Transylvania.  This is where Transylvania is on the map.  This would also be the map that the Romanian Royal family would know until 1940 and the beginning of the Second World War.

It is worth noting that many people do not see Transylvania as being so small, and that since they are used to thinking about Romania as being larger, they tend to forget that Transylvania proper is in fact the grey area in the map below.  it it also because of the many connections with the Royal families of several countries that Transylvania has so many castles, and also why people seem to think that Romania and Transylvania are larger.

Below is the more famous of all the many castles that is associated with Romania and Transylvania. You Can read more on about Transylvania.

November 8, 2011

The Images of The Romanian Royal Family

These are some images of the Romanian Royal family.  Note that only Queen Marie and King Ferdinand were king and Queen of Greater Romania which included Transylvania. 

Elizabeth, Queen of Romania.

The image of Queen Elizabeth who was the first Queen of Romania was not Queen of Greater Romania.  She died before the end of the First World War.  The last image is of King Michael of Romania, who is still alive.

Each helped Romania, and Transylvania in their own ways.

November 7, 2011

Did Queen Maria of Romania Help Transylvania?

For many people who live in Romania, Queen Maria is well respected. It was to her credit that Romania gained as much territory as it did after the First World War. Romania, it must be remembered signed a separate peace treaty with Germany and Austria in 1916. So, there wasn't much that the delegation which went to Paris might expect in 1919.

In many ways it was the Queen of Romania who made the difference. One can ask this question: did she help Transylvania?

She certainly helped the country of Romania gain territory from other countries. In many ways she did help Transylvania. The majority of Transylvania had Romanian people in it, and they wanted to be a part of Romania. There were also Hungarians and Germans and other populations. This included the Transylvania Saxon population.

Some voted to unite with Romania. The queen also renovated bran castle and this has helped the area around it provide money in tourism to Romania. This is when it can be argued that she did help Transylvania.

November 4, 2011

Transylvania and Transylvanian Saxons

Below are two images: one is of the city of Bistrita, and the other is of two young women who were part of a group called the Tranyslvanian Saxons. They lived in Transylvania for many years and some of the cities within Transylvania had a strong Saxon populating them.

The villages surrounding this city had many Saxons living there, however Bistrita itself had more of a Romanian population. One of its most famous inhabitants proved to be more important. Andrei Muresanu was a Romania who wrote the Romanian national anthem in 1989.

Still, the Transylvanian Saxons had much to do with the life of Transylvania, as many of their buildings and castles are still standing and are UNESCO Heritage sites.

It is a part of Transylvania's history and it is so important to the land.  These  are just some of the important people of this land.  Of course, the Saxons were not simply one group of people who happened to migrate to Transylvania from one area of Germany.

They came from many places and then lived in both the northern and southern parts of Transylvania.

November 2, 2011

Picture Question About Transylvania and Published Works

Which are the links between these four pictures? It might not be what you expect because it relate more to England and not to Transylvania itself right away. In fact you might not think that these have anything to do with each others, but then again are you sure?

This is Bran Castle a book made it more famous than before.  That book wasn't written by someone who lived in Transylvania.

What writers need to work with.

A castle of the most infamous of the Bathory clan. This isn't related to a man but rather to a woman of this famous Hungarian family.
Some other instruments a writer can use to be published... still can't guess?