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Bran Castle, Romania: In Search of Dracula and the Buried Heart of a Long-Dead Queen

Bran Castle, in Transylvania, modern day Romania, conjures up one name in most people's minds. Dracula! In actual fact, Bran Castle isn't quite as closely linked to Dracula as you might imagine (or the tourist-touts might tell you). Dracula, of course, is a fictional vampire created by Bram Stoker in 1897. The castle depicted in the novel Dracula matches some parts of Bran Castle - but it's far from being an exact match. The character of Dracula was, however, based on a real individual - Vlad the Impaler. Vlad's cruelty and bloodlust was truly inhuman - stranger than fiction. This