Bran Castle, otherwise known as Dracula’s Castle, hasn’t catered to overnight guests since 1948. But that’s about to change, according to The Pueblo Chieftan. Thanks to Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew and Airbnb, two lucky people will win the opportunity to camp out in Count Dracula’s amazingly gothic digs on October 31.
The winners will be whisked off to Romania, only to arrive at Bran Castle in a horse-drawn carriage. None other than Stoker’s nephew Dacre Stoker will be waiting to greet them. Dressed as a character from his uncle’s famous novel, Dacre plans on welcoming them with the following sentiment.
“Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring!”
After touring the castle and eating a delicious meal, the winners will be left alone to bask in the spookiness of their surroundings. They can either sleep in the coffins, pictured above, or in traditional beds, whichever they prefer.
In a report by Winona Daily News, the candlelight dinner will consist of, among other things, chicken paprikash. If you’ve read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, you might recall the same dish being mentioned at some point in the story.
Bran Castle gained its notoriety as Dracula’s Castle because of a real-life prince who was known as Vlad the Impaler. Vlad didn’t own the castle, which was originally used as a military fortress. However, he lived there briefly on more than one of his visits to Transylvania. He may have been imprisoned there for two months in 1462 as well.
How did he get his name? It was common for Vlad to impale his victims, as a means of punishment for whatever he thought they did wrong and also to avenge the deaths of two of his immediate family members.
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Airbnb has this sage advice for the winners of the contest. No silver jewelry, garlic, making of crosses or looking glass selfies in Count Dracula’s Castle. After all, everyone knows that vampires aren’t especially fond of mirrors.
There’s still time to enter the contest. According to the official rules, you have until 11:59 p.m. on October 26 to share your thoughts about what you would say to Dracula if you happened to bump into him at Bran Castle.
The challenge is to be as witty as vampire-ly possible in 550 characters or less. Not only do submissions need to revolve around the legend of Dracula, they must also surprise and delight the judges. Visit the contest page for more information.
The manor sits on a mountain top in the Carpathians. The castle itself is comprised of 57 rooms and a host of spooky nooks and dimly-lit corridors to explore, not to mention the tower lookout and secret passageway that leads into the grand dining room.
Bran Castle is without a doubt one of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania. Almost 650,000 visitors tour the grounds each year. Dacre Stoker hopes that the publicity of this contest will show both the realistic and legendary aspects of the region. That being said, he looks forward to playing the role of Jonathan Harker, just as he enjoyed staging the castle for the winners.
Are you brave enough to spend the night in Transylvania’s Bran Castle? If your answer is yes, now’s the time to come up with your best vampire prose. Someone has to win. With a little black cat-inspired luck, it might even be you!
[Featured Image by Andreea Alexandru/AP Images]