‘Dracula’s Dungeon’ Discovered by Archaeologists at Tokat Castle in Turkey

Nestled near the Black Sea in northern Turkey, archaeologists have discovered deep dungeons, tunnels and a military shelter in an ancient fortress that towers above its town. Tokat Castle is believed to be the prison where Wallachian Prince Vlad III “the Impaler” — the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” — was held by Ottoman Turks in the 15th century.

The discovery came during the most recent part of a five-year restoration and excavation project, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Turkish archaeologist Ibrahim Cetin told the newspaper that the team found two dungeons “built like a prison.” “It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept, but he was around here,” he said.

“The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels,” Cetin said. “It is very mysterious.”

'Dracula's Dungeon' Discovered by Archaeologists at Tokat Castle in Turkey

By most accounts, Vlad III was born sometime between 1428 and 1431 in the mountains of what would become modern-day Romania. Legend has it his father, Vlad II, ruler of Wallachia, was called to a political meeting in 1442 and decided to drag along his two sons, Vlad III and Radu, according to LiveScience and Ancient Origins. The children were reportedly captured by Ottomans and held in Tokat Castle to ensure their father’s loyalty. During that time, Vlad III’s hatred for the Ottomans began brewing.

Following the brutal murders of his father and brother, Vlad III’s captivity eventually came to an end. That’s when he began impaling Ottoman invaders and enemies by driving poles through their bodies — earning him his nickname.

According to LiveScience, historians believe Vlad III killed an estimated 80,000 people — 20,000 of whom were said to have been impaled and put on display outside the city of Targoviste to deter Turks from invading.

In 2009, archaeologists began to restore the Tokat Castle in the western region of Pontus, a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea in modern-day Anatolia, Turkey. They previously found a 300-foot tunnel the king’s daughters are believed to have used to reach a nearby Roman bath, the International Business Times reported.

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