A well-known intelligent, elegant and educated Romanian Lord, Vlad the Impaler was an important leader from Medieval Europe, who, during his reign, stopped the advancement of the Ottoman Empire towards Western Europe.
Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Draculea (1431 – 1467) was an important Romanian ruler and a great European leader of the time, who stopped the Ottoman expansion towards Western Europe during his reign.
On one hand associated with the fantastic character Dracula and on another with the impalement method of execution, Vlad the Impaler was wrongly depicted for centuries, the historical truth being far different from his tyrant-like image.Transylvania World defines Vlad the Impaler as a real savior of Western Europe and Christianity, an intelligent, elegant and well educated lord, member of the House of Drăculești, whose lineage goes all the way to Charles, Prince of Wales. (The prince himself confirmed this in a video interview).
Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Draculea (1431-1467), imposing Romanian leader who first ascended to the throne in 1448, is a controversial historical character partly because of his association with the fantastic character Dracula. The controversies spawn from the lack of knowledge regarding Romanian history and from the mendacious massive international exposure of the fantastic character.
Transylvania World wants to clarify once and for all the difference between the historical character Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Draculea) and the fantastic character Dracula. At the same time, our association pinpoints Vlad the Impaler’s historical role and argues againts the theories which make the Romanian leader appear as a tyrant.
Nephew of the great Romanian ruler Mircea the Elder and member of the House of Drăculești, Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Draculea) was born in 1431 in Sighisoara and spent the first years of his life in Transylvania and Hungary. He had a rough childhood, being taken hostage by the Ottoman Turks when he was just 11 years old alongside his brother, the pain and suffering he endured in the following years marking him for life. The name “Dracul(a)” is taken from his father’s name, Vlad Dracul, the particle “a” being used in Romanian language in order to indicate the son of somebody (the son of Dracul in this particular case).  
As a member of the House of Drăculești, Vlad was provided with exquisite education, being taught by Romanian scholars and Greek teachers from Constantinople. In time he gained military tactical abilities alongside being skilled in geography, mathematics, science and classical arts. He also spoke fluent Slavic, German, Turkish and Latin.
For a better understanding of Vlad’s lineage, we have to mention that Charles, Prince of Wales is directly related to the Romanian Lord, fact confirmed by Charles in a video interview. According to the genealogy, the tenth generation before Queen Mary, Elizabeth II’s grandmother, descends from the House of Drăculești, more precisely from Vlad III the Monk, Vlad the Impaler’s stepbrother. 
Vlad the Impaler was at the same time a member of the Order of the Dragon, a select monarchic chivalric order, similar to the Knights Templar, its purpose being to stop the Ottoman Empire from expanding.  
We have to mention that the word “draco” means “dragon” in Latin, this creature being the order’s symbol. Vlad’s father’s name “Dracul” comes from his inclusion in the above-mentioned order. Transylvania World points out that from an etymological point of view, the name “Dracul” is not related to the Romanian word “Drac” (unholy, devil), a frequently encountered mistake which enhanced the Romanian Lord’s undeserved negative reputation.
Vlad the Impaler ascended to the throne for the first time in 1448, a difficult period in Romanian history, when corruption was omnipresent in the country, having negative repercussions upon the economy and causing major internal political struggles. At the same time, the danger posed by the Ottoman Empire was threatening Europe through the South-East routes.  
The Ottoman Empire was a formidable military power which manifested its domination in Europe, Africa and Asia, reaching its pinnacle in the 16-17 centuries. All of Europe was constantly threatened by the continuous expansion of the Ottoman Empire.
Once he became lord, Vlad the Impaler refused to pay tribute to the Empire, wanting to maintain his country’s independence. This radically changed sultan Mehmed II’s attitude and in 1462 he sent a massive army in order to conquer Vlad’s territory. The Romanian lord annihilated the Ottoman army, the battle known as “The Night Attack” being his most important military victory. The Greek historian Chalkokondyles related that Vlad the Impaler defeated “the largest Turkish army gathered since the fall of Constantinople”.
Vlad’s victory over the Turks had an overwhelming role in slowing down the Islamic expansion towards Western Europe through the Transylvanian route, being celebrated by the Pope and all of the Italian city-states. In this regard, a Venetian envoy said that the whole of Christianity should celebrate the Romanian’s victory.  
Transylvania World points out that Vlad’s stout and rigid personality was absolutely essential in order to lead a country in those dark times. This is the starting point for his centuries lasting erroneous portrayal.
The Romanian leader was not in the least a tyrant. He was simply the ruler of a country who resorted to the standard methods of his times in order to impose his authority. His purpose was the abolishment of corruption, which was so spread out at the time that it threatened even his position as ruler, and the protection of his country from the Ottoman Empire.
The most controversial execution method he used was impalement, which led both to his nickname “The Impaler” and unfounded rumors and legends. A large number of these false legends, allegedly attributed to him were spread by Vlad’s enemies.
Contradictory sources estimate that Vlad impaled a number of 40.000 people, including war victims. Transylvania World specifies that during Vlad’s “reign of impalement”, Europe was ruled by the Inquisition. This group of institutions caused considerably more horrific atrocities, among their victims being some of the most important scientists and literates of all time such as Galileo Galilei or Bruno Giordano (who was burned at the stake). 
Transylvania World focuses on Vlad the Impaler’s stout character and strong personality, mentioning that a threat of the Ottoman Empire’s magnitude could not have been dealt with without a leader with the Romanian lord’s qualities. His stiffness and assuredness which led to the controversial executions were key elements for his part in saving Europe from the Ottoman menace.
On global level, Vlad the Impaler is frequently associated with the fantastic character Dracula, mainly because of Bram Stoker’s novel in which the main character is similar to the Romanian leader.
Vlad’s brilliant mind and sturdy personality are part of Dracula’s characteristics, the book mentioning as well the House of Drăculești and the Romanian leader’s bravery. Stoker also found inspiration in the Order of the Dragon clothing. Vlad’s apparel, just as Dracula’s, was extremely elegant, predominantly red with a black cape upon which the crest was embroidered. According to Bram Stoker, alongside Vlad the Impaler, his inspiration was drawn from the Transylvanian legends and superstitions.
An essential aspect is the fact that Vlad the Impaler never lived in the popular Transylvanian Bran Castle. The author simply found inspiration from its architecture and emplacement.
Vlad’s residence was at Curtea Domnească, Târgoviște; the medieval ansamble of fortified buildings being well preserved up to this day. Another medieval fotress (its purpose being a hideaway), sursăed to Vlad is the well-known Poienari, located on the Transfăgărășan – the road which stretches between the highest peaks in the Romanian Carpathians.    
The most important fortress related to Vlad the Impaler is his place of birth, Sighișoara, the famous medieval old town being fully conserved and part of the UNESCO heritage. Sighișoara represents a first class tourist destination where medieval gothic manifestations are being held. 
Vlad the Impaler is introduced by Transylvania World as a key element of the Transylvania brand, due to his historical significance, his connections with the supernatural and not least due to the majestic medieval aura surrounding him.
Note: The Transylvania World concepts are an essential part of the association brand and their usage has to quote the source and reference this website.