Tokat Castle, which has become famous as the place of Count Dracula’s captivity
A secret tunnel that has been discovered during restoration work under Tokat Castle, Turkey’s second-largest castle in the northern province of Tokat, will be opened to tourism. The tunnel, known as Ceylanyolu, is claimed to have been used by a Roman king’s daughters in order to go to the Pervane bath in the Çanakçı stream area.
Restoration work in the castle was started in 2009 by Tokat Governor’s Office Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate in order to open the castle to tourism and completed in 2010. Last September, work began again to reinforce the bastions in the castle, which were used for defense in the Seljuk and Ottoman eras.
Over the course of the restoration carried out by three archaeologists, cubes, a military shelter, two dungeons and a secret tunnel to the Pervane Bath in the city center were discovered. It has been claimed that Wallachian Prince Vlad III “The Impaler,” who was also known as Dracula and lived between 1431 and 1476, was held captive in one of the these dungeons during the early 15th century.
However, most historians say he was kept in captivity in Romania. The exact length of his captivity is open to debate, though indications are that it was from 1462 to 1474.
Three hundred and fifty meters long
Work has recently begun to open the castle’s secret tunnel to tourism. A railway system has been set up for the removal of stones and earth in the entrance of the tunnel. The Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Abdurrahman Akyüz, highlighting the importance of the castle, said, “The castle served as a prison in the Ottoman era, and many famous figures was kept there.”
He said Dracula had also been kept captive in the castle, adding, “The castle has great potential for tourism. Such a steep castle is very rare in any city center in Turkey.”
Akyüz said they did not know the exact length of the tunnel, and continued: “We have set up a railway system, since it is impossible to remove earth and stones here manually. We estimate that the tunnel is about 300-350 meters long and goes to the Pervane Bath. The first mission here is to clean the tunnel way through the city center.”