Transylvania was an autonomous state for more than 170 years, it was called the Principality of Transylvania and it was under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire. This historical region of Romania has been very disputed over time, being part of Dacia, the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary or the Austrian Empire.
Transylvania is often associated with the vampire realm. This starts from the story in the novel Dracula, published by Bram Stoker in 1897. So, don’t worry, vampires don’t live in Transylvania, even if such a conservative people is still involved in some practices that might scare you.
One of these practices made a big difference a few years ago, when the Discovery Channel station made the decision to include Romania in the top of the scariest countries in the world. The reason for this was that some of the locals suspected that a villager had turned into a ghost after his death. They dug up the body, took out his heart, burned it and drank the ash. As tourists you will not come across such pagan customs, which had been passed on from ancestors, but it is good to know that they exist.
Transylvania covers an area of 57,000 km² and is divided into 16 Romanian ethnographic areas, having traditional names such as the Land of the Woodlands or the Prince’s Land.
The place-name Transylvania has its origin in medieval Latin and means “The land beyond the forest”. On the coat of arms of Transylvania there is the black eagle with a yellow beak, the sun and the moon (the symbols of the Saxons) and seven fortress towers, representing the seven fortified Saxon villages/churches in this region.