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.
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.
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.
Walking in Dracula Country
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- 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.
© 2011 Annette R. Smith Last updated on December 8, 2013
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