During a recent renovation of Tokat Castle in Turkey, archaeologists made a series of finds as they conducted excavation work. A team led by archaeologist İbrahim Çetin found two secret tunnels, a military shelter, storage rooms and two dungeons; they believe Vlad the Imapaler was held captive there in the early fifteenth century.
Prince Vlad, on whom Bram Stoker based the character of Dracula, is thought by the team to have been held in one of the newly discovered dungeons by the Ottoman Turks in the year 1442. The Ottoman empire took power in 1392 after conquering the city of Tokate. Çetin said,
“The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious. It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept, but he was around here.”
Vlad the Impaler, as he came to be known posthumously, had the reputation while he was alive as being extremely cruel and sadistic. His favorite method of torture and execution was impalement, although he killed those he deemed enemies in almost every way possible. Methods of torture and execution — other than the impalement for which he was famous — included mutilation, amputation, burning, blinding, strangulation, scalping, skinning, exposure to wild animals and the elements and boiling alive. Reportedly in 1462, one of his enemies from Constantinople who was preparing to attack actually turned around and made a hasty retreat at the sight of 20,000 of Vlad’s impaled corpses outside the capital city.
Restoration of Tokat Castle began in 2009 and is ongoing. Given the size of the area, it is likely that more discoveries will be made as the excavation continues.