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Did Time In This Dungeon Turn Vlad Into The Impaler?

The real story of Vlad III of Wallachia, better known as Vlad the Impaler and inspiration for Count Dracula, includes a period when he was held hostage in Tokat Castle in Tokat, Turkey. Archeologists restoring the castle have recently discovered two dungeons, a secret tunnel, storage rooms and more that they believe was used to imprison Vlad.

What’s interesting about this discovery is that it brings to light what may be one of the reasons Vlad went bad. This period of imprisonment occurred when Vlad II I was a young boy, not yet a teen, and is not the period when he was arrested and held prisoner in Hungary as an adult.

According to historians, Vlad III, son of Vlad II Dracul (“Dracul” means “dragon” and the title signified that Vlad II was a member of the Order of the Dragon, a chivalry group founded to defend Christianity in Eastern Europe against the Ottoman Empire) and his younger brother Radu, were held in one of the dungeons as hostages by the Ottomans to control their father. They were released upon his death in 1447, when Vlad returned to Wallachia to assume the throne. It’s believed that this imprisonment is what instilled the hatred of the Ottomans that led Vlad to his war with them when he was said to have killed over 20,000 people, impaled them and put them on display to discourage the enemy.

A tunnel entrance under Tokat Castle.

A tunnel entrance under Tokat Castle.

What happened to Vlad in that Tokat Castle dungeon to turn him into the killer who inspired Bram Stoker’s famous story? That remains to be discovered, says archeologist İbrahim Çetin.

The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious.

Mysterious indeed. Like all stories, legends and myths surrounding Vlad the Impaler, the mysteries only get deeper.

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  • Bear1000

    Looking at the photos of the place, you get the vibe that it was an evil place where bad things probably happened on a daily basis. Looking at what goes on in today’s prisons, the young Vlad Tepes could have experienced anything from rape to borderline starvation. Creepy place, that’s for sure though.

  • Ilpalazzo

    I’m sure growing up and seeing the Ottomans’ preferred method of vertical impalement had a lot of mental scarring and desire for revenge.

  • Sebastian Lenoir

    Vlad and Radu were treated quite well by the standards of the day , hostages dont work unless they are treated well and being high value assets,they would have been allowed nowhere NEAR the dungeons … Vlad and Radu were very prominent in the Ottoman court by the time they left had served in the Ottoman military , hell they were considering vlad as for succession. Thing is at that time they were ALWAYS scrounging spare royalty off of each-other even from enemies , both boys spent a decent stretch of years with the ottomans… the moves they pulled afterwards are pretty much the equivalent of what that Theo douche from game of thrones pulled on the starks… they spent the majority of their time in court or serving in the armed forces with the ottomans… That being said the standards of the day the way royalty treated their own children was fucking harsh! The rich will endure conditions for their children to “toughen them up” that your standard bootcamp drill sergeant wouldn’t tolerate for the lowliest private.. So it would be accurate to say “they abused them like they were their own children” maybe a little less…they were also both received a really good education at the hands of the ottomans , logic , languages , maths,military tactics , quaran etc … which they latter used to turn their tutors into the worlds most punk rock lawn ornaments, with this sensationalist crap you have managed to against all odds to make the internet a little stupider, vlads hatred was of his brother and the sultans son because among other things his brother converted … fer christsake crack a book

  • Sebastian Lenoir

    Vlad and Radu were treated quite well by the standards of the day , hostages dont work unless they are treated well and being high value assets,they would have been allowed nowhere NEAR the dungeons … Vlad and Radu were very prominent in the Ottoman court by the time they left radu had served in the Ottoman military , hell they were considering vlad as for succession. Thing is at that time they were ALWAYS scrounging spare royalty off of each-other even from enemies , both boys spent a decent stretch of years with the ottomans… the moves they pulled afterwards are pretty much the equivalent of what that Theo douche from game of thrones pulled on the starks… they spent the majority of their time in court or serving in the armed forces with the ottomans… That being said the standards of the day the way royalty treated their own children was fucking harsh! The rich will endure conditions for their children to “toughen them up” that your standard bootcamp drill sergeant wouldn’t tolerate for the lowliest private.. So it would be accurate to say “they abused them like they were their own children” maybe a little less…they were also both received a really good education at the hands of the ottomans , logic , languages , maths,military tactics , quaran etc … which he latter used to turn their tutors into the worlds most punk rock lawn ornaments, with this sensationalist crap you have managed to against all odds to make the internet a little stupider

  • Sebastian Lenoir

    Vlads biggest bitch was that his brother Radu became good friends with the sultans son and converted to islam and ran most of the guerrilla operations that led to the fall of Constantinople