Bran Castle - a ghostly castle of Count Dracula in Transylvania
Location show on map
General Traian Mosoiu Str., nr 24, 507025 Bran, Romania
Date of build
1377 - 1382
The Bran Castle is located in central Romania on the border of the historic Transylvanian and Wallachian regions. It is situated on a cliff 762 meters high and surrounded by valleys and hills.
This is a national monument and landmark known under several other names, such as Dracula Castle or Bran Fortress.
The aim of the castle was to develop important customs points in Transylvania and strengthen the southern borders of the emerging state. The strength of this fortress was directly linked to the prosperity of the city of Brasov, and vice versa.
The original name of the castle was "Dietrichstein" and the first mention of it dates back to 1212. This name was probably the name of the builder of the castle, because a historical document from 1509 states that the castle once belonged to the commander with the same name.
The Act of Louis I of Hungary of 19 November 1377 gave the Saxons of Kronstadt the privilege to build a stone castle, which was given the name "Bran Castle".
In 1448, Vlad III (known as "Vlad the Impaler" or "Vlad Dracula") became the prince of Wallachia, and the stories about his cruelty and torture to the people inspired the famous title character of the Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker - Dracula, who is said to have lived on an empty mountain top, which many people associate with the location of the castle Bran.
In fact, Bram Stocker never visited Romania before or after writing his bestselling novel. This is all the more strange because the book quite faithfully describes the wild and natural scenery of the Carpathians and Transylvania, as well as the castle where Count Dracula is said to have lived.
The castle was pledged to the town of Brasov in 1500 by King Władysław Majgar, the then owner of the castle.
In the 16th century many modifications were made to the castle. Then the castle served as a fortress for several hundred years, and from 1880 it fell into ruin.
During World War II, the castle was run by Princess Ileana, who became his heiress from her mother, Queen Mary.
The castle was turned into a museum in 1948, when, under the control of the communist regime in Romania, the royal family was expelled from it.
Dopiero on May 18, 2006, after a long legal battle, the castle was returned to its rightful heirs, namely Dominic von Habsburg, son of Princess Ileana. Since then it has been renovated and still remains open as a private museum.
The characteristics of the castle include its narrow and winding stairs, which lead through rooms connected by underground passages. This includes a secret passage connecting the second floor of the castle with the third. These were evacuation stairs, hidden in the wall and used by the castle officers if necessary.
The entrance to the castle is not the same as in the past. While today's steep stairs lead to beautiful old doors, in the past it was completely different. The old castle entrance consisted of a small door high above the ground with a drawbridge, which made the fort difficult to reach.
The 60 rooms here are made of wood. While visiting these rooms, we can admire unique architectural elements, as well as numerous collections of important historical furniture, armor and weapons from the 14th to 19th century. The whole is complemented by beautiful and valuable works of medieval art, such as painted icons, statues, ceramics and silver.
In the central part there is a picturesque courtyard. Outside the castle there are towers and turrets.
On the south side of the castle there is a small chapel built in 1940 to commemorate Queen Mary.
Continuously the castle remains a popular tourist attraction, especially during Halloween. Every year it is visited by more than 500,000 tourists and lovers of Dracula's legend.
Official website: http://www.bran-castle.com/
"[We] pulled up in the courtyard of a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the sky… the courtyard looked of considerable size, and several dark ways lead from it under great round arches…" - Bram Stoker's novel