Dracula-Themed Golf Course to Rise from the Dead

Once thought killed off by protestors a year ago, a Dracula theme park complete with an 18-hole course has risen from the dead. The new site is a farm once owned by another infamous Romanian, dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

As reported in Cybergolf, in February 2003 the Romanian government announced plans to build a theme park-resort in the Transylvanian city of Sighisoara, the birthplace of 15th-century prince Vlad Tepes, also known as the Impaler, or Dracula. (Tepes got his nickname because of a fondness for skewering captured Turkish soldiers in such a way that it would take them up to two days to die. But it was Tepes’ father, called Vlad Dracul for his position as a knight in the Order of the Dragon – or Dracul, who’s the real namesake of Bram Stoker’s fictional vampire.) But protestors argued that construction would damage what was designated a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

So a new site – Ceausescu’s farm, located 25 miles north of Bucharest – was found. Romania’s tourism ministry has authorized construction of the resort on the property, thought to have been where Vlad Tepes was buried. “Work is to start in March (2004) with an initial investment of 50 million pounds,” Sorin Marica, a tourism ministry official, told Harry de Quetteville of the London Daily Telegraph.

The 1,500-acre state-owned Ylasia farm at Snagov was once the pride of Ceausescu. The blood-thirsty dictator responsible for killing thousands of Romanians was deposed and shot 14 years ago. “(Ceausescu) was extremely careful about what he ate,” said Nicolae Dima, from the Snagov municipality. “He would only touch food he was sure was ‘pure.’ So everything for his plate came from this farm.”

Whereas the previous attempt faced stiff opposition, including religious objections to the “sinful” project, the new proposal has received no objections. Indeed, some of the previous opponents support the new plan. “The Dracula theme in Sighisoara is dead – we drove a stake through its heart,” said a former protester, Stephanie Roth. “It’s all right in Snagov now.”

The park will feature Disneyland-style children’s rides, an 18-hole golf course, a horseracing circuit and a housing development. A cable car will link the resort facilities to an island in the middle of Snagov’s lake that houses a 15th century church. There, according to Snagovians, is the final resting place of Vlad the Impaler. “He is buried here for sure,” Dima told de Quetteville. If all goes well with construction, the resort will open in late 2004.

The tourist facility is expected to boost the fortunes of Snagov and environs. The town has nourished its relationship with one of history’s most notorious characters, and will continue that link with the resort. A bust of the heavily armored, thickly moustached Tepes sits outside the town hall and is one of the city’s most popular gathering spots.

“It will be great for Snagov,” said Dan Stefan, owner of a small local market. “It will be built on Ceausescu’s farm, so one monument to evil will be replaced by another. This one, though, will be better for us.”