Photographs of Dracula’s Castle — and Your Chance to Win Spending Halloween Night There
Y ou could win the opportunity to travel to Romania and spend Halloween night in Dracula’s Castle — whose actual name is Bran Castle — where the legend of Dracula was created by Bram Stoker.
I have been to Bran Castle; so this article is also the first part of a trip report of sorts — using photographs which I have taken, of course. I intend to post a second article with more photographs with the intention of attempting to get you…er…stoked about wanting to participate in this promotion.
By the way: the name of the castle is pronounced more like bron than bran; so do not worry about being too…er…regular when reading this article. I am not that flake-y.
What Is At Stake
A horse-drawn carriage carries you swiftly through Transylvania as the sun sets towards the horizon, heralding the hours of swooping bats and howling wolves. When you come around the final bend on the tree-lined road, you’ll catch a glimpse of Bran Castle. This misty mountain-top manor is home for the night. The chill that suddenly fills the carriage is not the evening mist, it’s a fear older than the forests now grown up around the castle rock. This is the lair of vampires, and you cannot leave until dawn.
Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great grandnephew, will answer your knock on the castle’s imposing wooden doors. He will be your host for the night, and resident expert on Transylvanian lore. Enter the castle and explore the labyrinth of lamp-lit corridors, creepy nooks, and squeaky staircases while there is still light in the sky. You may traipse through all fifty-seven rooms, from lofty tower lookouts to deep dark crypts, and even enjoy an incomparable view of the Carpathians from the terrace as the sun makes its final descent. But once darkness comes, retreat inside. Unexpected guests have been known to come knocking in the moonlit hours.
A secret passage on the first floor leads to the grand dining room where an intimate candlelit dinner will await, prepared exactly as described in Bram Stoker’s novel. Following the hearty, blood-enriching meal, you will be left to sleep in luxurious velvet-trimmed coffins in the seclusion of the Count’s crypt.
Fall asleep to the creaks and whispers of the Transylvanian night, and the sound of wolves roaming outside the castle walls.
“Listen to them, children of the night, what music they make…”
The House Rules — Not the Garlic House Dressing
Read these house rules — how much fun are they, anyway?
- No garlic or garlic-scented items allowed
- You are kindly requested to leave your silver jewellry at home
- Do not cross the cutlery. In fact, please refrain from placing anything in a cross formation
- Beware of the bats in the castle tower
- Please close all curtains before sunrise
- The count is not a fan of mirror “selfies”
How to Sink Your Teeth Into This Promotion
If you were to actually meet the Count in his own castle, what would you say to him? Would you meet him at the cape and fang him very much for hosting you? Could you be rendered speechless enough that you would be coffin up a storm? Does the mere thought of meeting him drive you batty; or are you really Igor to take full advantage of this promotion? Did any of these thoughts even cross your mind upon reflection — or lack thereof?
You can enter this contest only once; so you must follow this process in order to be eligible to attempt to win the prize where you could be sleeping in his crypt as the witching hour approaches:
- You must be a minimum of 18 years of age at the time of participation
- Sign in with an Airbnb account
- Go to the Dracula’s castle in Transylvania competition listing Internet web site
- Click on the Enter to Win button
- Use your vampiric wit by submitting your reply — which should be between 50-550 characters in either English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian or Portuguese; or 100-300 characters in either Simplified or Traditional Chinese, Japanese or Korean — by 11:59 in the evening Central European Time on Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Des-Crypt-ion of the Sur-Prize
Two participants will be selected from the submissions and will be nominated winners and best story writers of the contest. The winners will be chosen entirely on merit, based on the following criteria applied by a panel of judges:
- Does the submission fit the criteria for entry?
- Originality and creativity of the submission: does it surprise and delight the judges?
- Spirit of the submission: how does your submission relate to the legend of Dracula?
In recognition of their personal writing talent, each winner will receive the following trip whose total approximate retail value is 3,000 euros — plus a return trip to the place of origin for prize winners who are not residents of Romania:
- For all participants who are not residents of Romania: economy class return travel to Bran, Romania
- Attendance at an exclusive event at Bran Castle on Monday, October 31, 2016
- Transport between the airport in Romania and Bran Castle
- All on the ground lodging expenses prior to and after the event whilst the winner is in Romania
- A stay in Bran Castle on Monday, October 31, 2016
- Dinner on Monday, October 31, 2016 and breakfast on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 — as well as meals prior to and after the event whilst the winner is in Romania
- Travel insurance
Not included in the prize are:
- Fees for visas or any other required travel permits or authorizations
- Transport between the home of the winner and airport or train station.
- Any expenses not expressly included in the prize description
- Any meals not expressly included in the prize description
Bloody Content Which Sucks Will Be Disqualified
You do not want your chances of winning this prize to go down like the stairs you see in the photograph on the right; so content of the submissions must:
- Be the original work of the participant
- Not have been previously published
- Not have been entered in any other competition
- Not violate the rights of any other party — including but not limited to intellectual property rights or rights of privacy, publicity or other moral rights
- Not contain advertising or commercial content for any party other than Airbnb or its partner
- Not contain content which endorses or promotes illegal or harmful activity
- Not include material which is:
- Otherwise objectionable
- Not contain adult material
- Not contain defamatory content
Count on These Select Official Rules
No purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win. A purchase or payment will not increase your chances of winning.
The contest is not open to residents from: Cuba, the Crimea Region of Ukraine, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Sudan, any country subject to embargo by the United States of America or any jurisdiction where the contest would be prohibited or restricted by law. This means that you are not allowed to participate if you reside in one of these jurisdictions. The contest is for residents of all other countries of the world and by entering participants agree that the individual winners will be selected from all Submissions received from these countries.
Participants must be available to travel to Bran in Romania by Monday, October 31, 2016 and have a valid passport or European Union Identity Card to travel to Bran, Romania during the period of the trip to redeem the prize. The winner and guest represent they will behave as good citizens during their stay at Bran Castle and that they will cooperate with the security personnel who will be present at Bran Castle.
Other official rules, terms and conditions apply — be sure that you read all of them carefully and agree with them before participating in the sweepstakes — which include but are not limited to those dealing with the topics of:
- Privacy and personal information
- Release and limitations of liability
- Selection and verification of winners
- Winner notification procedure
- Disqualification of participants
- Tax liability
- Technical issues
- Legal waivers and statements
- Unclaimed prizes
- How to find out the name of the grand prize winner
- What can potentally happen in the event of a dispute
- Burden of proof of submission of entry
- Typographical errors
- Other disclaimers and conditions of participation
“Nestled in the Carpathian mountains, high in the heart of Transylvania, lies the home of the most chilling tale of the nineteenth century. Are you brave enough to test the myth?” Dacre Stoker is “thrilled to welcome and guide you through the dark passages of the castle for a private unveiling of its many mysteries.”
Now how many people can say that they spent Halloween night in Dracula’s castle?!? This can be your chance to brag about that fact if you are indeed one of the two winners; so get to work writing the content of your submission…
…but here is a “spoiler alert”: I will warn you that Bran Castle and its surroundings are more beautiful than scary, as you will see in the “second installment” of my photographic trip report…
All photographs ©2007 by Brian Cohen.