Vlad the Impaler,
the medieval Romanian prince who inspired the character of Count
Dracula, was not a blood-thirsty tyrant, he was simply a misunderstood
victim of bad Western European propaganda, a new exhibition has
The show, which
has just opened in Bucharest, attempts to rehabilitate Vlad Tepes,
also known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad the Impaler, who ruled Wallachia
in the 15th century.
Dracula was doubtlessly cruel, but not more so than other princes
of his time," said Margot Rauch, the Austrian curator of the
exhibition, entitled "Dracula – Voivode and Vampire".
Vlad was born
in the town of Sighisoara, in Transylvania, in 1431. He ruled over
Wallachia, now a region of Romania, between 1456 and 1462 and was
reputed to have killed thousands of political opponents, common
criminals and captured Turkish soldiers by having them impaled on
sharp wooden stakes. It is estimated he had 50,000 people put to
He is also
said to have committed other atrocities, including torturing, roasting,
dismembering and drowning his enemies.
the historical evidence, according to Ms Rauch, "In fact he
was a victim of bad propaganda".
She said historical
studies presented in the exhibition show legends related to Vlad
Dracula were "aimed at presenting eastern Europe as a primitive
land and a source of evil".