Bistritz (or Bistrita) is a town of some 35,000 inhabitants located in northeastern Transylvania in present-day Romania. It entered into the world of vampires as the first location visited by Jonathan Harker, in Bram Stoker‘s novel, Dracula. It is only 50 miles from Borgo Pass where Harker was met by the carriage that took him to Castle Dracula. Bistritz was an old German settlement and the tower of the German Church found there is still the highest in all of Romania. Harker’s account mentions a series of fires between 1836 and 1850 that destroyed much of the old town. In Stoker’s day, the town had approximately 12,000 residents.
While there Harker stayed at the Golden Krone (Crown) Hotel. Unlike the very real Bistritz, the Golden Krone is a complete fiction, or at least it was. In 1974, in order to take advantage of the tourists interested in Dracula, a Golden Krone Hotel was opened, and the meal Harker ate while at the hotel was placed on the menu. Robber steak consisted of bits of bacon, onion, and beef roasted on an open fire together with red pepper on a stick. It was served with Mediasch wine. Today a tourist at the Golden Krone can also dine on “Elixir Dracula,” (a red liquor made from plums), stuffed cabbage Birgau, Dracula cakes, and Dracula red wine. The hotel also sells a line of Dracula paraphernalia and souvenirs.
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