© iStock/ Sasiistock
© iStock/ Sasiistock
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Embracing Dracula at Festivalul Usturoiului near Tihuța Pass

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Every country has its own legends and history. For many, the first thing that comes to their mind when they think about Romania is Dracula. It may be the legends or the famous novel Dracula that helped spread this. The missing pieces in the history of Transylvania or even the mystery behind vampires make this subject even more attractive. Even though not every Romanian is excited about vampire legends, one festival managed to embrace the topic in a very local way: the Festivalul Usturoiului (the Garlic Festival). This festival, which takes place every year in August, near the Tihuța Pass, is all about embracing Dracula and the legends surrounding him. 

Where does the festival take place?

© iStock/ Ivanica Monica
© iStock/ Ivanica Monica

This local and specific festival takes place on the plateau between the Hotel Castel Dracula and the Tihuța Pass. It is one of the most beautiful places in Romania in autumn, so the timing of the event couldn’t be more perfect. It is the harmonious combination between nature, exploring local tradition, and having fun. You can easily take your tent and visit this event while camping somewhere in the wild.

Hotel Castel Dracula,  Piatra Fântânelei
Hotel Castel Dracula, Piatra Fântânelei
DN17, Piatra Fântânele, Romania
Tihuța Pass, Piatra Fântânelei
Tihuța Pass, Piatra Fântânelei
Tihuța Pass, Romania

The theme

© iStock/ julos
© iStock/ julos

I am sure all of you heard about Dracula before. Some of you may have even taken a journey to detect Dracula in Transylvania. Just as a reminder, Dracula is the vampire with supernatural powers. He is depicted both in the famous novel with the same name and in the movies where Count Dracula is the main character. The garlic is one of Dracula’s fiercest enemy. Due to this legend of protection spreading for centuries, people started celebrating a festival dedicated to the garlic.

Local aspects to experience

Take this opportunity to not only eat Mămaligă like Jonathan Harker from the famous novel by Bram Stoker, but also delight your senses with local traditional food. Of course, all the gastronomy products will contain garlic. This is not random, as you may well know and I already mentioned, garlic has an extraordinary power. In many legends, it is what keeps vampires at bay and drives evil forces away. If you'd like to learn new recipes, that is also possible. The festival includes cooking events where one may learn how to prepare the best food and get the best culinary advice from locals. Also, you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits grown by the residents

© iStock/ Mattis Kaminer
© iStock/ Mattis Kaminer

Every year sports events are organized, perfect for competitive and adventurous visitors. If you need a remote nature getaway, Colibița Lake is just around the corner. Children may attend special events, including nature walks, theater plays, and face painting. The socially responsible ones may plant a tree in the area nearby, also as a part of this festival. As the night falls, a series of concerts can be attended. Local bands are invited to delight everyone’s ears. 

Last but not least, Dracula himself will also be attending this event. He will be reliving his tales with the help of residents. Remember, don’t be afraid, you'll be safe considering the amount of garlic around you! It's just a perfect way to start embracing Dracula at Festivalul Usturoiului near Tihuța Pass.


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The author

Eva Poteaca

Eva Poteaca

Hello, I am Eva from Bistrița, Romania. I studied art history and love to travel and discover hidden gems all over the world. Through my writing, I will share with you a different side of Romania.

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