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Dracula's Castle: Bran Castle in Romania

Bran Castle, also known as Dracula's Castle, is a national landmark in Romania. Learn more about the castle's history, mystery, and legend.

A courtyard view of Romania's Bran Castle.
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A courtyard view of Romania's Bran Castle.

The Legend of Bran Castle

Castle Bran is a national monument and important landmark in Romania, a dramatic East European country that is rich in history, art and breathtaking scenery.

The unique fortress, famously known as Dracula's Castle, is the country's biggest tourist attraction. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Bran Castle is located in the picturesque village of Bran near the Romanian city of Brasov. Overlooking the village from a 200-foot cliff, the castle occupies a border between Transylvania and Wallachia on a national road called DN73.

An aura of mystery surrounds the castle, which is linked to the title character in Bram Stoker's Dracula. The fortress is nominally associated with Vlad Tepes (Vlad III), an infamous Transylvanian prince who ruled Wallachia in the late 15th century.

Vlad Tepes was known as Vlad Dracula, "son of the dragon" or "son of the devil." Also called Vlad the Impaler, the ruthless ruler was known to use massive stakes to impale his enemies alive.

It is said that Vlad Tepes inspired Stoker's Dracula novel, but historians believe it is doubtful that the Irish author knew about Bran Castle.

A view of Bran Castle / Dracula's Castle near Brasov, Romania.
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A view of Bran Castle / Dracula's Castle near Brasov, Romania.
Vlad Tepes in a 16th-century portrait.
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Vlad Tepes in a 16th-century portrait.
Source: Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

The History of Bran Castle

The history of Bran Castle dates back to 1212 and the Teutonic Knights, a German military order that fought during the Crusades. The castle was initially used as a fortress against the medieval Ottoman Empire.

Later, it served as a customs post on the mountain pass between Wallachia and Transylvania. Although it held little significance for Vlad Tepes, the castle sheltered him as he passed through Bran Gorge.

From 1920 to the late 1940s, the castle served as a royal residence for Queen Marie of Romania. Her furnishings and decor grace the castle today. The residence eventually passed to Marie's daughter, Princess Ileana, who lived in Bran until the country's communist regime seized the fortress and expelled the royal family in 1948.

The Romanian government reclaimed the castle in 2005. One year later, it gave the ownership to Prince Dominic of Tuscany, Ileana's son and heir. In 2007, after considering the sale of Bran Castle, the family chose to turn the fortress into a museum.

Today, Bran Castle is dedicated to the mystery, legend and history of Bram Stoker's Count Dracula. The castle is Romania's top tourist attraction.

Location of Dracula's Castle: Bran Castle near Brasov, Romania

Tourism and Bran Castle

In addition to the Dracula legend, Bran Castle is known for its imposing towers and turrets, narrow winding stairways, numerous underground passages and amazing museum collections.

Valuable works of art decorate the castle walls. The extensive collection includes wood paintings, sculptures, ceramics, silver and decorative furniture. The castle museum houses an impressive collection of weaponry and armor dating from the Middle Ages to the 1800s.

The Customs House, an important economic center during medieval times, lies at the foot of the castle in Bran village. The Village Museum is an open air attraction of traditional folk architecture.

The cover of a rare book by John N. Merrill.
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The cover of a rare book by John N. Merrill.

Walking in Dracula Country

Autographed Walking in Dracula Country, Romania: Dracula's Castle, Poiana Brasov, Postavaru, Risnov, Bran, Cheis, Piatre Mare, Busteni, Bucegi Massif, Piatra Craiului Massif, Fragaras, Moldoveanu, Zarnesti, Mount Omu, Transylvanian Alps (Autographed 2008 Paperback Printing, Second Edition)
Autographed Walking in Dracula Country, Romania: Dracula's Castle, Poiana Brasov, Postavaru, Risnov, Bran, Cheis, Piatre Mare, Busteni, Bucegi Massif, Piatra Craiului Massif, Fragaras, Moldoveanu, Zarnesti, Mount Omu, Transylvanian Alps (Autographed 2008 Paperback Printing, Second Edition)
This autographed copy of "Walking in Dracula Country" is a rare edition of a book by John N. Merrill. The legendary author, marathon walker, and interfaith minister hails from London, England.
Amazon Price: $600.98

Your Turn

Have you visited Bran Castle or another castle in Europe? Leave a comment below and tell us about it. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your social networks.

Reference Sources

  • Bran Castle. (n.d.) "About Bran: Medieval Fortress / Royal Residence." Official Site of Bran Castle. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  • Brasov Tourism contributors. (n.d.) "Dracula's Castle." Brasov Travel Guide. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  • Every Castle contributors. (n.d.) "Bran Castle." Every Castle / Castles and Palaces of the World. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  • Romania Tourism contributors. (2011) "Castles and Fortresses of Romania." Romania Tourist Office. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  • Wikipedia contributors. (October 19, 2011) "Bran Castle." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 22, 2011.

A view from a walkway inside Bran Castle / Dracula's Castle near Brasov, Romania.
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A view from a walkway inside Bran Castle / Dracula's Castle near Brasov, Romania.
Source: Kyle Thayer | Wikimedia Commons

© 2011 Annette R. Smith Last updated on December 8, 2013

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Comments 15 comments

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 2 years ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Hello, Sarah Lyn. Thank you for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub!

 
Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 18 months ago from Orange County (Southern California) Level 5 Commenter

Annette,

This is a well-researched, beautifully-formatted article. You did a great job in presenting the information.

princessdaffy profile image

princessdaffy 18 months ago

That Vlad was not a very nice person...Nice castle and beautiful countryside though ;o)

ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Level 4 Commenter

Interesting background on the monument Annette!

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 18 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Hello, Daisy. Thank you for the kind words! I'm glad you liked the article and format, and I so appreciate the encouragement.

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 18 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Hi, Princess Daffy. So glad to see you here on HubPages! Thank you for taking a few minutes to read my article and leave a comment. Blessings, Annette

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Annette R. Smith 18 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Thanks, Christy. I appreciate the share!

Charity Squid profile image

Charity Squid 15 months ago

Great Hub! I love the castles in Romania and their history. By the way, how do you get those cool borders in between each segment?

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 15 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

I'm glad you enjoyed this hub, Charity. I had fun creating it! To make the dividers, I grab free graphics (horizontal lines/bars) and upload them into image capsules, which I then place between my text capsules. I'm glad you like them!

Charity Squid profile image

Charity Squid 15 months ago

Thank you for the great tip!! And your willingness to share!!!!

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 15 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

You're welcome, Charity. I appreciate your comments and the follow!

Hubert Williams 11 months ago

Dracula what a nice guy

He looks you in the eye

While he bleeds you dry.

Nice story and beautiful castle.

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 11 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Hello, Hubert Williams. What a creative comment, and fun to read! I am glad you enjoyed my article. Thank you for stopping by.

tastiger04 profile image

tastiger04 9 months ago Level 3 Commenter

Great hub! The info on the castle and the famous (or infamous) Vlad the Impalor was very interesting. I hope to visit some day! :) voted up and interesting

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 9 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Thank you, tastiger04! I am so glad you enjoyed my hub on Castle Bran. I had a lot of fun creating it.

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