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Newly-discovered tunnels and dungeons in Tokat Castle, Turkey

Archaeologists believe they have found dungeons that held 'Dracula'

Archaeologists in Turkey have uncovered a secret tunnel, storage rooms, a military shelter, and two dungeons during restoration work on Tokat Castle, where Vlad III the Impaler, who served as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s character Dracula, is believed to have been held captive in the early 15 th century.

According to Hurriyet Daily News , restoration works were first initiated in 2009, with the latest project having been carried out over the last ten weeks to restore and reinforce its defensive bastions. It was during the most recent excavations that archaeologists unearthed the secret tunnels and dungeons. “The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious,” said archaeologist İbrahim Çetin, who is working on the excavations.  Previous work at the castle uncovered a 100-metre tunnel in the northern façade, which is said to have been used by the king’s daughters to reach the Roman bath near the castle.

Tunnel unearthed in Tokat Castle

Tunnel unearthed in Tokat Castle, which is said to have been used by the king’s daughters to reach the Roman bath near the castle. Image source .

Tokat is a town and province in the western region of Pontus. It was conquered by the Seljuk Turks at the end of the 12th century and was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1392. Among the most landmarks of Tokat is the ruined citadel lying on a steep hills above the city, often identified as Tokat Castle or the fortress Dazimon. It is here where historians say that Prince Vlad III and his brother Radu were held captive in 1442.

Tokat Castle, Turkey

Tokat Castle, Turkey. Image source: Travel Photo Report

Vlad III is the 15th century Prince upon whom Bram Stoker based his 1897 gothic novel ‘Dracula’.  Vlad was born sometime between 1428 and 1431, probably in Sighişaora, Transylvania. His patronymic, ‘Dracul’, means Dragon, derived from the membership of his father, Vlad II Dracul, in the Order of the Dragon. This was an order of chivalry founded by Sigismund, the King of Hungary, for the defence of Christianity in Eastern Europe against the Ottoman Empire.

The Ambras Castle Portrait of Vlad III

The Ambras Castle Portrait of Vlad III. Photo source: Wikimedia.

In 1442, Vlad and his brother Radu, who were only children at the time, were taken as hostages by the Ottomans to ensure the loyalty of their father. It is during this time that historians say the young Princes were held in Tokat Castle. Çetin said that Vlad was probably kept inside one of the newly-discovered dungeons. “It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept, but he was around here,” he said. 

It is during his childhood years in captivity, that Vlad was said to have developed an intense hatred for the Ottomans, leading to his later brutality against them.  It is said that as Vlad retreated from a battle against the Ottomans in 1462, he impaled and put on display some 20,000 people outside the city of Targoviste as a deterrent to the pursuing Ottoman forces. This psychological attack worked, as it is claimed that the sight was so repulsive that the Ottomans, after seeing the scale of Vlad's carnage and the thousands of decaying bodies being picked apart by crows, turned back and retreated to Constantinople

Vlad III, or Vlad the Impaler, as he came to be known, was eventually arrested and held in prison for 12 years. After his brother’s death in 1475, he managed to reclaim the Wallachian throne.  The exact date, cause, and location of Vlad’s death is unknown, but is believed to have taken place between October and December 1476, when he disappeared in battle against the Ottomans.

Featured image: Newly-discovered tunnels and dungeons in Tokat Castle, Turkey. Credit: Doğan News Agency

By April Holloway

Comments

That's interesting, but I don't find anything mysterious about those tunnel systems. Many castles have secret tunnels. They were normally used either to hide things and/or persons or to flee during a siege. And isn't it that people still don't know where exactly he was held captured? Many of my sources say that it was in Edirne...

I would love to make a meditation to connect to this timeline and frame and learn the truth

Me too... tunnel systems underneath castles weren't that rare. Many castles were built for defense. They had different kinds of defense "technology", including murder holes (these were holes in the ceiling through which harmful substances could be poured, thrown or shot on enemies), moats, battlements, embrasures, towers and - surprise, surprise! - secret tunnel systems. They were often very long. For example, the one underneath "our" castle here in Wolfsburg (Germany) is said to be up to 30km long. In case of sieges, people could flee through these tunnels and they secured supply with e. g. food.

A very important detail they are leaving out is that when Dracula was a prisoner of the Turks HE WAS ELEVEN YEARS OLD yet every time anyone tried to say he was treated in any way other than kind by the Sultan during those six or seven years that child Dracula and his brother Radu were held by them, it gets removed on Wiki. Do the math. This article admits he was held in 1442. He was born at the end of 1431. He was only eleven. He wouldn't be twelve until that winter. And Radu was six. It wasn't the ruthless impaler they kept and tormented, it was the little boy, causing him to become Vlad the Impaler as we now know him.

Edit: I know the article does address that he is a child but many don't seem to grasp just how young he and Radu were at the time.

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