TOKAT – Doğan News Agency
The first 30 meters of a hidden tunnel, near what was described by a Turkish expert as "Dracula's dungeon," has been opened in northern Turkey after it was discovered during restoration work on Tokat Castle.
The tunnel in the province of Tokat, known as Ceylanyolu, is estimated to be 350 meters long. Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Abdurrahman Akyüz said they were excited to find the end of the hidden tunnel.
The restoration work was started in 2009 with the aim of opening the castle to tourism. Some restoration was completed the following year before work again resumed in 2014. As part of the project, the bastions of the castle, which were used for defense in the Seljuk and Ottoman eras, were reinforced.
Food preparation areas, a military shelter, a secret tunnel to the Pervane Bath in the city center and two dungeons were found during the restoration conducted under the supervision of three archaeologists.
Archaeologist İbrahim Çetin, who works on the excavations, claimed last year 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 these dungeons during the early 15th century.
Most historians say Vlad III was kept in captivity in Romania. The exact length of his period of captivity is open to debate, though indications are that it was from 1462 to 1474.
Akyüz, on the other hand, said the tunnel in Turkey's Tokat went through the city center, and added, “We are excavating the tunnel with the museum. We have made progress. Since it has an angle of 45 degrees, it is hard to remove stones and earth. We think that this tunnel was closed in the past to prevent possible danger.”