Dracula’s Dungeon

draculasdungeonArchaeologists working at the site of Tokat Castle have recently uncovered a warren of tunnels and dungeons beneath the citadel that likely held Vlad the Impaler during his time as a political hostage of the Ottoman Empire. Located about 400 km east of Ankara, and 200 km south of the Black Sea, the city of Tokat itself was inhabited at least as far back as the Hittites (1600 BC).¬† The dramatically situated castle, also known as the Fortress¬†Dazimon, dates to the Seljuk conquest of the area in the 12th century. Sometime around 1442, Prince Vlad III and his younger brother Radu were taken prisoner in a power play against his father Vlad II, who had earned the patronymic Dracul after joining the Order of the Dragon, a chivalric order of knights tasked with the defense of Christianity by Sigismund, the King of Hungary. After his release, Young Vlad went on to become one of most sadistic rulers in recorded history, impaling as many as 20,000 Ottomans on stakes outside his castle in Targoviste (and ultimately inspiring Bram Stoker’s titular character).¬† Although some evidence exists to the contrary, it is commonly alleged that Vlad developed his penchant for barbarous revenge while chafing under the yoke of his imprisonment.