Transylvania is most famous from the Irish author Bram Stoker's Count Dracula. Although the book was written in 1897 and the main character is fictional, Transylvania has become synonymous with the iconic vampire.
Geographically, real-life Transylvania consists of a 300-500-metre-high plateau, surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains on all sides. The region is divided into 16 provinces, with the largest city being Cluj-Napoca with 320,000 inhabitants. Contrary to popular belief, Transylvania is not a poor rural area. It is the heart of Romania. It is the birthplace of the nation and accounts for 35% of Romania’s GDP, due to its mineral resources, cattle raising, agriculture and timber industries.
Transylvania has a long hunting heritage. Bears, wild boars, deer and wolves have been hunted here since the Stone Age. The first hunting reserves were established back in the 15th century, where they managed the game, and in some places even introduced new species, such as fallow deer.
When Romania declared independence in 1877, hunting became a royal sport. Hunting castles or stately lodges were built in each hunting area. Apart from the taking of hares and small game, hunting was reserved exclusively for royalty and the nobility. In the 19th century, Romania attracted many aristocrats from around the world. They were lured by the stately Carpathian red deer, the big brown bears and the beautiful chamois.