The Dracula Society in Slovakia 2011
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Climbing up to Cachtice Castle, in blazing hot sunshine.
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The first sight of the ruin.
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Not quite at the top yet.
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A spectacular sight.
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This was one of the many castles that Elizabeth Bathory owned in this area.
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It's also quite notorious...
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...as the place where she died.
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She was reputedly walled up in her room.
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Left to die alone for her alleged crimes.
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Don't jump!
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Gathering to make a traditional Society toast with Slovakian slivovice.
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A toast not to Elizabeth, but to the late Ingrid Pitt, who immortalised her in Hammer's "Countess Dracula".
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The traditional Society group shot.
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On the way down.
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A truly spectacular view.
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The only acknowledgment here of Elizabeth.
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The main gate of Orava Castle looms. "Hutter" entered here in FW Murnau's 1922 silent film classic "Nosferatu", which was the first (unofficial) screen version of "Dracula".
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We had rather more trouble getting in than Hutter did!
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One of the party enters into the spirit of the occasion.
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Yes, it IS a very nice door knocker!
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The first sight inside, still exactly as it appears in "Nosferatu", although without the flowers then!
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Another familiar sight from the film, although Count Orlok didn't loom from the darkness this time!
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The steps which Hutter runs down on his way to write his postcard home.
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Onwards and upwards. Orava is a castle built on many levels.
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The upper castle looms overhead.
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A rather inaccurate image of Orlok on display!
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Yes, it was raining!
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The doorway to the crypt used in the film. Is the coffin still in there?
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The gazebo where Hutter wrote his letter home.
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The tower of the middle castle.
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And how it appears in the film.
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The group again.
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A toast to Murnau and to Max Schreck, who created iconic images here ninety years ago.
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The castle towers over the village below.
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A roadside stop to see the remains of Starhrad Castle (yes, it was still raining!)
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This ruin appears at the very end of "Nosferatu" after Orlok is destroyed, showing that his castle has crumbled.