February 27, 2014

Should Transylvania Be a Part of Romania Forever?

Hello everyone. This post is the second in a series about Transylvania and independence. Since the last post was about how and why Transylvania could or should be independent, this post will argue the opposite point of view. This post will be about why Transylvania should remain a part of Romania. There were only two reasons that I could really find to argue that Transylvania could be independent, and I found no supportable reasons or facts as to why Transylvania should be independent. I guess that last sentence betrays my personal opinion. I could not see Transylvania separating from Romania, but allow me to play devil's advocate, and I will share two reasons why Transylvania should remain a part of Romania.

            Location, location, location: this would have to be the biggest reason affecting Transylvania’s ability to become independent. I mentioned in a previous post that Transylvania is literally located in the centre of Romania. There is likely no way for Transylvania to become fully independent due to their location. They would need to have other parts of Romania join them in separating from Romania, otherwise the independent Transylvania would be completely surrounded by Romania — and only Romania — on all sides. I find it kind of interesting that Transylvania is one of the more profitable provinces in Romania and it is in a location that prevents it from becoming completely independent. It seems like Romania has found a good way to protect its best tourism asset by keeping it completely wrapped up and secure in the middle of the country.

            The second reason follows more along the lines of why the tourism industry is so strong. Transylvania is known for vampires and for being the home of the most famous vampire, Dracula. Bucharest is another part of Romania and is known for werewolves — there were rumours that werewolves were the ruling family of Bucharest. Having the two species fighting over the territory of Romania makes for a wonderful story and that draws tourists to the area. Vampires and werewolves have always been known as enemies. Having them fight over Romania mirrors other historical conflicts like, for example, the Crusades. During the Crusades there were two warring factions each with a connection to a certain city and each side wanted it for themselves. In Romania, vampires and werewolves each have a claim to a part of Romania, but they are territorial beings and want the whole country. Having the warring factions of vampires and werewolves living so close to each other and in the same country is good for tourism. It would not be the same story if Transylvania became independent.

            Independence is a great thought for any place. Then again, so is the sense of community and belonging. Transylvania could probably survive if they went independent. The thing is they would have a lot of difficulty getting their independence. Their location makes it impossible for Transylvania to become completely independent since they are literally in the middle of Romania. Transylvania has also made a special place in Romania for itself. It is known for the amount of tourism it brings in to Romania.

February 20, 2014

Can Transylvania ever become an Independent Country?

Hey, everyone! It appears that I may have sparked some confusion with my previous post. Please let me clarify: there are no reports of Transylvania wanting to seek independence from Romania. I wrote the post because I received a request to write a post as if Transylvania was considering independence. As I said, there are no reports that this is the case. 

Since there has been a good amount of interest in this topic, though, I have decided to continue this fictional train of thought. Today I will be talking about what reasons Transylvania might have for wanting independence. This was one of the requests, and, yes, I will present opposite view in a post next week.

One of the reasons I believe Transylvania would be able to sustain itself if it became independent from Romania is the amount of tourist interest in the area. Transylvania boasts many wonderful historical locations and structures to visit and beautiful landscape, as well. Transylvania is home to over one hundred castles. One of those castles is Bran Castle, located right on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia, on the Transylvania side. Queen Marie of Romania used it as a residence after Transylvania was awarded to Romania after World War I. This is not a widely-known fact, but there are still a few who do know, and those few make it a point to travel to Transylvania to see Bran Castle. 

Transylvania is also known for the myth of the vampire called Dracula, thanks to Bram Stoker and his book of the same name. In the book Dracula, Bran Castle is the home of the title character. In this day and age, vampires are currently in style. They are cool. Then there is the fact that they are mysterious creatures who keep to the dark and to themselves. There are some be believe that seeing inside what is believed to have been the home of a vampire will give them insight into the creatures.

Tourism is not the only resource that Transylvania has. Transylvania also has gold and copper resources that have been in existence since the Roman Empire. These an be found in the mountains of Transylvania. There is also deposits of natural gas found in southern Transylvania. The agriculture system in Transylvania may not be at its best right now, but there are plans in place to make improvements. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Transylvania makes up approximately 35% of Romania’s GDP.

I guess what I am trying to say with this post is that there is a fairly good chance that Transylvania could support itself if it ever did turn independent. Unfortunately, that would also mean Romania would lose approximately one third of their current GDP. There are more than three regions in Romania. I find it very interesting that a region that brings in a third of the country's GPD is made up of less than a third of the land mass.

February 13, 2014

Transylvania As Independent State?

I feel inspired...  It was suggested to me that I look at Transylvania as if it were an independent country. I thought about that and realized that, with the amount of tourism that Transylvania supports, it would be interesting if they did become independent. But Transylvania is right in the middle of Romania and is one of the best-known Romanian provinces. Granted it is known for vampires and violence. Transylvania as an independent country may not mean a lot of changes.

Transylvanian tourism brings in a lot of money for Romania for various different reasons. First there are the Dracula tours, and there are two different types of those: There are the ones that follow the actual life of Vlad Tepes and where he was while in Transylvania, and there are the Dracula tours. The latter type focuses more on the character of Dracula from Bram Stoker’s book and the places Dracula goes — mainly Bran Castle, a major landmark of Transylvania. A portion of all the money generated from tourism goes to the Romanian government. If Transylvania became independent, Romania would lose a significant amount of income.

            Transylvania would have a hard time if they ever wanted to become independent because of its geographic location. Transylvania is located right in the middle of Romania, although it also borders slightly on Hungary. If Transylvania were to claim independence, it would be completely surrounded on all sides by Romania should the Banat region not become or decide to become independent as well. It would need to convince some of the other nearby provinces to join them in breaking from Romania in order to have an defensible border. If Transylvania chose that path, then it still would not truly be independent; it would still be connected to the other provinces, so the physical location of Transylvania is the biggest obstacle to independence.

            If Transylvania did become independent there may not be many changes in the way people think of the region. There are not many people who really realize that Transylvania is a province in Romania. A fair number of people I've spoken with believe that Transylvania is either a country on its own or a city in Romania.  Transylvania is known more for the vampire that apparently originated from there, thanks mainly to Bram Stoker making Dracula’s home Bran Castle in Transylvania. 

            Many people outside of the area do not really know much about Transylvania. They believe it to be a creepy barren wasteland. They do not know how beautiful the landscape is or how varied the cultures and customs of its people are. This is likely due to the many movies about vampires and Dracula. If Transylvania did end up gaining independence, they may be able to get some better PR — perhaps then they can better educate people about the truth about Transylvania.

February 6, 2014

Who Was Vlad Tepes' First Wife?

In previous posts, I've talked a lot about Vlad Tepes, or Count Dracula, and I've also touched upon his extended family. A topic I have been meaning to touch on is the first wife of Vlad Tepes, and I'd like to talk about how she has worked herself into the Dracula myths.

Not much is known about the first wife of Vlad Tepes other than that they truly did love each other; this was uncommon in marriages during the Medieval Era. They were also very loyal to each other. Vlad Tepes trusted his wife rule in his stead while he was away fighting. After one battle, word got back to Vlad's his wife that he had died in battle. In truth, he had not died, but believing that he had, Vlad’s wife threw herself off a cliff and killed herself. Vlad eventually did remarry.

Things were a little different in the Dracula myths. It is always reported that Dracula’s wife was killed, that she was murdered by someone. There are some myths where she was killed by followers of Dracula. In the 2013 Dracula T.V. series Dracula’s wife was killed by the Order of the Dragon. Dracula never takes kindly to who kills his wife. As with real life, Dracula’s wife was the love of his life. There is also an addition to the myth that is not in real life. In all of the myths, Dracula’s wife is always reincarnated.

The movie Dracula: The Dark Prince focuses on the reincarnation of Dracula’s wife. In this film his wife was killed by followers of Dracula who were rebelling against him. The film focuses on the reincarnation of his wife and how he tries to win her affections. In the film, Alina, the reincarnation of Dracula’s wife, hates all vampires. Dracula has to show Alina that he is not the monster that most people believe him to be. Alina is also a vampire hunter in the film. She is not your typical weak woman waiting for a man to help her.

The 2013 T.V. series Dracula, also has a fair amount of focus on the fact that Dracula’s wife was reincarnated. In this series, her name is Mina Murray. Mina is a medical student in the Victorian Era. She is one of the top students and is a woman who thinks scientifically. She did not believe in the superstitious world. I am not going to spoil what happens in the show. If you want to find out if she ends up with Dracula, you will have to watch the show.

The point I am trying to make is that the wife of Dracula is not a stereotypical woman of the era; she is a woman who thinks for herself. In the Dark Prince movie, she is a vampire hunter who is an amazing fighter. In the Dracula TV series she is a medical student. It was not the easiest thing for a woman to get into medical school in Victorian England. Dracula’s wife was an independent woman — at least her in her reincarnations.