Halloween night in Dracula's castle in Transylvania up for grabs
YOU could do something totally different this Halloween as Dracula’s castle will have overnight guests this Halloween, marking the first time since 1948 that anyone has slept in the Transylvanian fortress.
The site’s actual name in Bran Castle, and two people will be able to sleep there on October 31 thanks to a promotion by Airbnb.
The guests will be wined and dined, then left alone to lie down in red velvet-trimmed coffins just as Dracula did in the Bram Stoker horror novel which popularised the legend.
The castle is famous for its connection to Vlad the Impaler, a real-life prince who stayed there in the 15th century and had a habit of using stakes to impale his victims. Vlad inspired Stoker’s story of Count Dracula.
The Airbnb competition to find guests for the night was launched today. Entrants were asked to use their “vampiric wit” to imagine what they would say to Count Dracula if they met him.
Winners will be flown to Romania and then taken to the castle set dramatically in the Carpathian Mountains. If they are too spooked to sleep in the coffins, beds are on hand.
The castle is one of Romania’s top tourist attractions, with more than 630,000 visitors a year. Hosting the one-off Airbnb event is a descendant of Bram Stoker, Dacre Stoker.
“I want to make it both realistic and show the legend in the wonderful country that birthed the whole thing,” Mr Stoker said.
He will play the role of Jonathan Harker, a character from the novel who encounters Dracula at the castle.
When the winners arrive in a horse-drawn carriage, he plans to greet them using the same words Dracula used in his ancestor’s story: “Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring!”
The winning pair will tour the castle, then be treated to a candlelight dinner of chicken paprikash, the same meal described in the novel.
Bran Castle was originally a military fortress, strategically set on a highway that links Transylvania to southern Romania.
After the First World War, the castle was given to Queen Marie in gratitude for her role in unifying Transylvania with the rest of Romania. She bequeathed it to her youngest daughter, Princess Ileana. The Communists seized it from Ileana in 1948.
In 2006, years after communism ended, the castle was returned to Ileana’s son, Dominic Hapsburg, a retired New York architect. His sisters spent their childhood there.
A Romanian company manages the castle which is rented for weddings, soirees and corporate events. Mr Hapsburg plays an active role in the site, but nobody has stayed overnight there since he and his family were exiled from Romania.
“Did he really die at end of the novel when he was stabbed with knife? Bram leaves the question ambiguous,” Mr Stoker said.
“But if he’s still floating around, he would make an appearance.”