Between the kitsh and the romantic the road is often short (as far as I'm concerned, very short!), but it will be interesting to know that the authorities in Romania have opened the famous Bran Castle, in the Carpathians, to give a further boost to the vaccination campaign. Doctors and nurses, with fang stickers prominently displayed on their coats, have begun administering free doses of Pfizer vaccine to visitors to Transylvania's most famous attraction.
The vaccination certificate you receive at Bran Castle promises "boldness and a sense of responsibility." (ph: RO Vaccinate)
For the past month, Vlad the Impaler's Castle in Bran, Transylvania, has been used to encourage citizens to get immunized. All people who agree to get the vaccine receive a certificate praising their "courage and sense of responsibility" and promising that they will be welcome at the castle "for the next 100 years." They also receive a complimentary tour of the "torture chamber" where 52 medieval instruments are on display.
Queuing up in front of Dracula's Castle to get vaccinated. (ph: RO Vaccinate)
The vaccination campaign in Bran Castle was designed by the local health department and the prefecture of Brasov. It will go on for a month, every Friday and Sunday in May. As reported by the BBC, in the last two weekends hundreds of people have queued in front of the castle, including many tourists. In case of significant accessions, the period will be extended at least until July. Marathon in the National Library of Bucharest
The drug used is Pfizer's and there is no need to make appointments. Last week the Romanian government opened vaccinations to all age groups. So far, of the 19 million Romanians, nearly 3.6 million have received at least one dose. However, some skepticism still persists among the population, especially the elderly and those living in rural areas.
Since the pandemic began, the country has seen more than one million cases and nearly 29,000 deaths. To push the vaccination campaign, authorities have also organized a 24-hour marathon at the National Library in Bucharest.
Collapse of visits
Bran Castle, completed in 1388, is one of Romania's most famous tourist attractions, though any connection between the splendid manor and Vlad Tepes (and with Irish author Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula) has been debunked. The "real" castle of Dracula would be in truth the fortress (now destroyed) of Poenari.
Fortress of Poenari, Ph. CALIN-ANDREI STAN (123RF)
Due to the pandemic, Dracula's Castle also experienced a drop in visits in 2020.