Jul 14


In this part of our journey among the legendary castles of Romania we will visit the famous Dracula’s castle, a place which has been the source of inspiration for many writers and movie directors. Ironically, this place has only been visited once by Vlad the Impaler, the famous historical figure who is as the base of the fictional character – the blood-thirsty vampire.

But let us see what this is all about!

Bran Castle, the place where Dracula actually never lived! In 1211, the Teutonic Knights belonging to a Catholic order founded by German crusaders in Palestine in the late twelfth century receive a gift from King Andrew II of Hungary for defending the southeastern border of Transylvania against the attacks of nomad invaders coming from the far-east; that lace was the beautiful and picturesque Barsa district. Teutons raises a fortress at Bran but in the year 1226 they are driven out of there by the locals. This is the first official mention of Bran castle, which will rise after the document issued by King Louis I of Hungary (in 1377) that gives the Saxons seated in the surroundings of Brasov the right to build a new stone castle on their own money and expense.

Over the following years, the castle was used as a strategic base by Sigismund of Luxemburg, who gave it to the Romanian prince Mircea cel Batran in 1407. About two decades years later, the castle became the property of the Crowned King of Hungary, who had to fortify it, expand it and, in 1498, rent it to the leaders of Brasov. Also in the 15th century – more precisely in the year 1459 -, Iancu of Hunyad has commissioned Vlad Tepes to defend the pass to Transylvania by guarding the entrance to this city – which is why the myths about “Count Dracula” have occurred; however, it seems that Vlad Tepes never actually lived at Bran Castle.

On the 1st of December 1920, the castle was donated to Queen Mary as a symbol of gratitude for the contribution to the Great Union of 1918. The Queen of the castle had declared it as one of her favorite places, and under her personal care, Bran has lived one of its most glorious eras since its construction. In 1938, Princess Ileana receiver the castle on testamentary rights, but shortly after, the royal family is to be banished from the country and the castle became the property of the communist state. Continuously degrading, Bran was closed to the public during 1987 – 1993. It was then returned to the touristic circuit and currently it belongs to Dominic von Habsburg, the heir of Princess Ileana. After the handover, the castle was stripped of the most important pieces becoming quite austere. The furniture was moved by the Ministry of Culture and the rooms were decorated with pieces belonging to the owners, but its charm is not diminished, as the amazing architecture and the inner yard and the lovely fountain in the center of it preserve the timeless beauty of this place so heavily charged with history and myths.

You can visit it any time and you can enjoy the beauty of the surroundings, which gets a different hue depending of the season: from bright green during the warm season, to rusty-yellowish shades, during fall and if you necessarily want to feel that horror movie shiver down your spine, you can visit it in winter time, when the leafless trees cast a gloomy and somber appearance over the landscape.

Note that on each Halloween, there are theme parties where you are supposed to have a vampire suit, or at least a set of fake teeth, so enjoy your time at a glad of delicious boiled Romanian wine!

Photo source:

Picture 1: 4x4-tours.com; Picture 2: timpul.md; Picture 3: hotelalpin.ro; Picture 4: infotravelromania.ro; Picture 5: camitravel.com; Picture 6: transylvaniantouring.co.uk.
Apr 12

Bran Castle (Castelul Bran)

Bran Castle is the main tourist attraction in the Transylvanian region. It is situated within less than 30 km from Brasov, between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains, on the road which connects the cities Brasov and Campulung Muscel.  The castle has a very rich history, having changed its destination throughout time from a medieval fortress to a royal residence. At present, the castle has become a museum, drawing thousands of visitors every year.


The castle dates from 1378, when it has been erected on top of a cliff. At the time, the construction bore high value from a military point of view as it reigned over the Rucar-Bran passage which led through the mountains.

Source: http://www.draculascastle.com

In 1407, the ruler Mircea the Elder received the Bran castle from Sigismund of Luxembourg, the German emperor and king of Hungary. The building remained under Wallachian authority until 1419. In 1427, the castle was taken over by the Hungarian ruler and it underwent a series of fortification and extension works.

The castle become royal residence in the true sense of the word in 1920 when the Town Council of Brasov donated it to Queen Mary of Romania as a token of appreciation for her contribution to the Grand Unification which occurred on December the 1st,1918. The Queen had decorated it according to her taste and had left it as inheritance to her daughter, Princess Ileana, the sister of Carol II. The royal family had been expelled from the country in 1948 and Bran Castle became property of the Romanian state. Unfortunately, the building was abandoned and suffered considerable damages.

It is not until 1956 that the castle is reopened for visitations when it is partially transformed into a history and feudal art museum. In 1987, restoration works are conducted and these are completed by and large in 1993.


Source: http://www.tripideas.com


Bran Castle is mostly renowned for the legend of Count Dracula, which has been promoted extensively through the novel ‘Dracula’ written by the Irish author Bram Stoker. The legend is actually based on a real story which revolves around the ruler Vlad the Impaler who was a cruel and bloody person that punished its enemies and its disobedient subjects by using different types of torturing measures: cutting limbs, boiling people alive, strangulation, burning, mutilating. But the legend distances itself from reality, as the main character is actually a vampire that feeds itself with the blood of its victims. It doesn’t really matter that Count Dracula did not resemble Vlad the Impaler in many ways, the fact remains that the fictional story has stirred the imagination of thousands of readers, bringing them to Bran from all over the world. Visitors are enticed with the idea of seeing in person the place where the cruel vampire dwelt. In fact, some are so convinced of the idea that Dracula actually existed that they are intent in finding evidence of his existence in the castle. This goes to show the impact that the book had on its readers and the fame that Bran Castle has attained throughout time.

Tourists can visit both the interior of the castle and the exterior courtyard and they have an experienced guide at their disposal who can reveal them the secrets hidden inside the castle.


Source: http://www.tripideas.com

At present, visitors can admire the ceramic collections, the furniture, weapons and armors which date from the time of Queen Mary’s reign. The modifications made by the Queen are quite noticeable as the castle has been transformed from a military fortress into a summer residence for the royal family, so the esthetic and structural improvements are visible.

In 1932, the Queen requested for an electric generation to be built and from this year onwards, the castle benefited from artificial light. An elevator was also built in order to facilitate the access to the garden from the superior floors of the castle.

A hunting house, a wooden church, a wooden house with 7 rooms and two cottages (one for the Queen and one for her daughter) have been built. You can notice the refined taste of the Queen in the design she conveyed to the entire castle. Among these, the Grand Room (a living room decorated in the German Renaissance style), the Yellow Room, the Music Hall, the Tyrolienne Chamber (belonging to King Carol II) stand out as they are characteristic to that period and to the sophisticated style of the Queen.


Source: http://www.romania-tour.ro

In the exterior patio, tourists can visit the Romanian Village Museum which brings together different types of architectural designs and popular customs from all over Romania.

As you can see, Bran Castle is a place where history, culture and myth intertwine. The architecture and the décor are impressive and you will definitely not regret having visited this one of a kind touristic attraction.

Visitation hours:

  • Monday: 11:00-18:00;
  • Every other day: 9:00-18:00.


  • Adults: 9 RON/person (3 euro);
  • Students: 4 RON/person (1,3 euro)
  • Children under 5 years old have free access