Transylvania (German: Siebenbürgen, Transsilvanien or Transsylvanien, Hungarian: Erdély, Romanian: Transilvania or Ardeal) is a historical region in Eastern Europe which is located in central Romania. Until December 1st, 1918, it was part of Hungary. The region of Transylvania is known for the scenery of its Carpathian landscape and its rich history.
Transylvania has played host to many myths involving folkloric monsters, specifically vampires, which the Western world commonly associates the region with because of the influence of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula and its many film and television series adaptations.
In popular culture
Following the publication of Emily Gerard's book The Land Beyond the Forest (1888), Bram Stoker wrote his Gothic horror novel Dracula in 1897, using Transylvania as a setting. With its success, Transylvania became associated in the English-speaking world with vampires. Since then it has been represented in fiction and literature as a land of mystery and magic. For example, in Paulo Coelho's novel The Witch of Portobello, the main character, Sherine Khalil, is described as a Transylvanian orphan with a Romani mother, in an effort to add to the character's exotic mystique. The so-called Transylvanian trilogy of historical novels by Miklos Banffy, The Writing on the Wall, is an extended treatment of the 19th- and early 20th-century social and political history of the country. Among the first actors to portray Dracula in film was Bela Lugosi, who was born in Banat, in present-day Romania.
Largely as a result of the success of Dracula, Transylvania has become a popular setting for Gothic horror fiction, and most particularly vampire fiction. In some later books and films, Stoker's Count Dracula was conflated with the historical Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad III the Impaler (1431–1476), who although most likely born in the Transylvanian city of Sighișoara, ruled over neighboring Wallachia.
Transylvania in the Castlevania series
Vampire Killer, from 1986, marks the first time Transylvania was ever mentioned in the Castlevania mythos (where it is referred to as "Dransylvania"). While the first game in the chronology, Lament of Innocence, has its setting in medieval Europe, it's never specified in which country or region it takes place.
In 1476, the Belmont Clan of vampire hunters, once exiled from Wallachia —a region neighboring Transylvania—, is beseeched by the Church for help as the Vampire Lord, Count Dracula, has begun ravaging Europe with an army of monsters with the sole purpose to exterminate mankind. Trevor Belmont, current heir to the legendary Vampire Killer whip, along with travel companions Sypha Belnades, Grant Danasty, and the Count's own son, Alucard, cross the Transylvanian countryside, defeat Dracula's minions and eventually defeat the Count himself at his castle.
From this point onward, Transylvania and the neighboring region of Wallachia have frequently appeared as the main settings of many installments in the series, while the other two major regions of Romania, Moldavia and Dobruja are ignored, although oftentimes the setting is only referred to simply as "Europe" or outright other countries (such as Japan).
Games worth mentioning that have had their settings specifically in Transylvania are Dracula's Curse, Curse of Darkness, Castlevania: The Adventure, Belmont's Revenge, Castlevania and Simon's Quest, among possibly others in the main timeline, as well as some spinoffs such as Vampire Killer, Super Castlevania IV, Castlevania (N64) and Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness.
- The word "Castlevania" is a portmanteau of the words "castle" and "Transylvania".