Top 7 Places for Vampire-Hunting
The legend of the vampire has been thrilling mankind for hundreds of years, and now, thanks to the television show True Blood and the Twilight series of books and movies, there is a resurgence of interest in these immortal bloodsuckers.
Here are seven locations around the world where vampire lovers can be inspired by Dracula and his ilk.
1. Musée des Vampires, Paris, France
This small museum is open by appointment only, taking tours of a maximum of ten guests through rooms crammed with all manner of objects and artifacts related to the vampyric legend. Museum owner Jaques Sirgent has an incredible wealth of knowledge on the topic of vampires, and can answer any questions about their history with authority.
2. Whitby Abbey, Whitby, England
The romantic ruins of this 13th century abbey served as the backdrop for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and are featured in the novel several times. The ruins are very atmospheric, and while visiting you can easily understand why Stoker was inspired to set his tale in the town of Whitby.
Exterior view of Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire.
Copyright © English Heritage Photo Library
3. Bram Stoker’s Dracula Experience, Whitby, England
At this attraction you’ll get a spine-tingling theatrical tour through the storyline of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and an understanding of the city’s connection to the legends of Dracula. Set in a historical building once owned by Sir Issac Newton, the experience may not have any “real” vampires allegedly attached to the site, but is decidedly creepy.
4. Bran Castle, Bran, Romania
This castle in Romania is so widely believed to be the home of Vlad the Impaler, who Bram Stoker refers to as “a king Dracula”, that it is often referred to as Dracula’s Castle instead of by its official name. On site is a museum and gallery space that detail the history of the area, as well as some of the legends pertaining to the vampire myth and how it was created from Romanian historic events and enduring rumours about atrocious acts of long dead Romanian royalty.
Photo credit: Romanian National Tourist Office – North America
5. French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana
There are many vampire stories attached to this former red light district and current tourism hot spot. There are numerous companies offering vampire walking tours around the French Quarter, where you’ll visit historic locations where vampires are alleged to have carried out their dastardly blood sucking deeds.
Photo credit: NewOrleansOnline.com
6. Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is famed for its beautiful and ornate cemeteries, known as “Cities of the Dead” due to the architecture contained in them (bodies are buried in structures above ground due to the city’s frequent flooding). Lafayette Cemetery, which is located in the lush Garden District, has been featured in many of Anne Rice’s vampire novels, and there is a grave there that belongs to an alleged vampire.
Photo credit: Jean-Paul Gisclair and NewOrleansOnline.com
7. The Catacombs of Paris, Paris, France
When Paris began to drown in dead bodies at the end of the 1700s, it was decided that the bones from the over-spilling cemeteries would be transferred to vast quarries beneath the streets of Paris. In 1808, the removal of the bones of some six million Parisians began, and so was built the world’s biggest necropolis. The result is a creepy tourist attraction visited by the likes of Napoleon, and the inspiration for various scary stories, such as Barbara Humbly’s Those Who Hunt the Night, which sees vampire investigators finding a 600 year old priest turned vampire in the catacombs.
*The catacombs were badly vandalized in 2009, and are currently under repair and set to reopen in Spring 2011.
Photo credit: Paris Tourist Office / Henri Garat