Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Times Online: Bram Stoker is honoured for services to tourism in Transylvania

Bram Stoker is honoured for services to tourism in Transylvania
From Bojan Pancevski in Vienna

A bust of the writer Bram Stoker was unveiled yesterday in the area made notorious by his immortal literary creation — Count Dracula.
Even though Stoker never visited Transylvania, his effect on the tourist trade in the Carpathian mountains of central Romania has been incalculable.
“Romanians hope to fly on the wings of Dracula and embark on a cultural, artistic and, not least, economic journey towards the world. Had it not been for Dracula, Romania would be less known internationally,” Nicolae Paduraru, the president of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, a cultural-tourist organisation, told The Times.

“The event was timed to coincide with the 159th birthday of Bram Stoker and it is meant to strengthen the ties between his home town, Dublin, and the birthplace of his literary invention.”
One of the guests of honour in Pasul Tihuta, in the county of Bistrita, was Padraic Cradock, the Irish Ambassador to Bucharest, who said: “Stoker had never been here, but nevertheless gave a fairly accurate description of the place. I am very happy to be here, because many Romanians from this particular region have recently emigrated to Ireland.”

The bust, positioned in front of the Dracula Castle Hotel, was conceived by local authorities as a tribute to Stoker’s contribution towards Transylvanian international renown, but also as an attempt to attract more tourists to the region.
The hotel, built according to the description of the eerie literary mansion, is the only one in the country with a graveyard at its gates.
Ioan Moldovan, its owner, who met most of the costs for the bust himself, said: “Thousands of people come here from across the world just because of the Dracula myth.
“I am a fan myself and now I have the hotel and the bust of the man who created the legend. I hope this event will create more awareness about this beautiful region.”

Alexendru Misiuga, the hotel manager, who is a spritely 83-year-old, said: “I have always been a big fan of the Dracula legend and when I read Stoker’s book for the first time more than twenty years ago I realised then and there that I wanted to do something in my life connected with it.
“We opened this hotel back in 1983 but the Communist authorities did not approve the Dracula name for it. But, when communism collapsed, we changed its name and now we have the only Dracula Castle Hotel in Romania.”
According to Mr Misiuga many British tourists on the Dracula trail visited the hotel, especially at Hallowe’en.
Dracula ranked 33rd in a recent US listing on the most influential fictional characters.,,13509-2444700,00.html


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