The business of Count Dracula: A visit to Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, Romania

PHOTO: Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula in a scene from the 1931 film "Dracula."PlayUniversal/Getty Images
WATCH Inside the business of Transylvania and the real-life Dracula's castle in Romania

There are, perhaps, only a handful of characters throughout history known as well as Count Dracula.

"Dracula is the most portrayed character in cinema. There have been more Draculas than there's been any other character," Eric Nuzum, the author of "The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires From Nosferatu to Count Chocula," told ABC News' "Nightline." "I think outside of somebody like a character like Santa Claus, you'd be hard-pressed to see one that's been as commercially and regularly exploited as Dracula."

PHOTO: Dracula is the most famous resident of Romanias frost covered mountains. ABC News
Dracula is the most famous resident of Romania's frost covered mountains.

Dracula, as he is popularly known, is loosely based on the legend of Vlad Dracula -- better known as Vlad the Impaler, a notorious ruler in Romania in the 1400s known for his violent and torturous methods of suppressing dissidents.

Bran Castle, better known as Dracula's castle, is located on a cliff in the middle of the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, Romania. It was built and used by local kings, including the Dracula family, as a military castle.

PHOTO: The castle is on a cliff in the middle of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. ABC News
The castle is on a cliff in the middle of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania.

In some ways, Dracula is Transylvania's main export. According to a tour guide "Nightline" met at the castle, about 1 million tourists visited the castle last year alone.

Some companies even offer Dracula-themed tours, with one website charging $1,400 for a sightseeing trip to Transylvania.

PHOTO: In 2017, over a million tourists visited the castle, according to a tour guide. ABC News
In 2017, over a million tourists visited the castle, according to a tour guide.
PHOTO: The town of Bran, at the base of the castle, has earned the nickname Dracula City. ABC News
The town of Bran, at the base of the castle, has earned the nickname "Dracula City."

At the base of the castle is the town of Bran, which has a population of 5,100. It's become known around the world as "Dracula City" where merchandise related to Dracula is readily available for purchase.

PHOTO: Janusz Szalinski is the owner of the Dracula Castle. ABC News
Janusz Szalinski is the owner of the Dracula Castle.

Janusz Szalinski, who's lived in Transylvania for more than 10 years, is the owner of a Dracula-themed haunted house in Bran. Szalinski said the area resembles nothing like what it was when he first arrived.

"Except for that little part here that was souvenirs, there was nothing here," Szalinski told "Nightline." "When I came here, everybody, the foreigners, they were asking for anything to do with Dracula. Like, 'Do you have the Dracula restaurant? Do you have something to promote the Dracula legend?' And they couldn't find it."

Szalinski, who spent much of his life living in Denver, first came to Transylvania to visit his wife's parents.

"I fell in love with this place. I loved the scenery, I loved the country and then I saw some business opportunities as far as the Dracula goes," Szalinski said. "You can accommodate the tourists that are coming from all over the world."

PHOTO: Known as the creepy count, Dracula has appeared in over 200 films. ABC News
Known as the "creepy count," Dracula has appeared in over 200 films.

You might call Szalinski the "godfather" of Dracula City. In addition to his haunted house, he owns a full, immersive 5-D movieplex and the largest restaurant in town.

"I was the first one who was promoting Dracula here," Szalinski said. "Dracula's great for business."