Dracula theme park to draw tourists to Romania

The government of Romania, one of the poorest ex-Communist countries in Eastern Europe, has approved a plan to build a theme park dedicated to the fictional vampire, Dracula. It?s expected the park will boost the tourist profile of the Transylvania region which was the source of inspiration for writer Bram Stoker. His story was first published in 1897.

The park will house a gothic castle with spooky effects, horror rides, labyrinths and also a golf course and a hotel. The planned location is near the town of Snagov, a lake resort near Bucharest.

Dracula Park is a major tourism investment for Romania and consultants from London have been appointed to help raise private enterprise funding and sponsorship for the project.

Initial proposals were rejected because they meant building too close to the historic birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, who is thought to have been the inspiration for the Dracula character. UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, said building the park near Sighisoara would have ruined the 13th century town which is designated a World Heritage Site.

One of the castles associated with Bran Stokers fictional account of Dracula is about 15 miles south west of the city of Brasov in Transylvania. Bran Castle was originally a fortress built by the Teutonic Knights in 1212 and was later used for the defence of the city of Brasov through the centuries, and one of the homes of Vlad Tepes, known as the Impaler. It is an attraction for sightseers, visiting Dracula fans and literary scholars from around the world, and has an ecotourism resort nearby. Another edifice, Castle Dracula, is now in ruins on a site beside the Arges river in the Fagaras mountains of central Romania.

But Scotland claims to have the original castle that inspired Bram Stoker to write his vampire story. He was staying near Slains Castle in north-east Scotland in 1895, where he wrote part of the novel. The local authority this week gave its approval to renovate the bleak ruined building, and develop 35 vacation apartments within its walls. The scheme is to be discussed in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. The plan has some opposition from locals who say development will drive a stake through the castle’s historic charm.