Brasov travel information
BRAN CASTLE - Brasov, Romania
Located in Transilvania region, 30 km from the picturesque city of Brasov, on the road from Brasov to Campulung Muscel, in the middle of the mountains, Bran castle is one of the main reasons foreign tourists come to Romania and it is the best known tourist attraction around the world.
What makes it so famous? Its architecture, history, age? Well actually it is the legend of Dracula that made it known world wide and the writer Bram Stoker who visiting the area and finding out about the legend and some connection between Vlad the Impaler (the historic figure he used as a base for his character Count Dracula) chose this castle as Dracula’s residence. The many films based on the book spread the word even faster so now if you ask a foreigner what they know about Romania they will say it is the country where Dracula lived.
The historic figure Vlad Tepes, the Impaler was the prince of Wallachia in the middle of 15th century. His father was Vlad Dracul (Knight of the Order of the Dragon) and from here the connection Bram stoker made and called him Dracula. This name somehow matched his character as he was known as a merciless ruler who adopted the most dramatic measures against all his enemies and most of the times the fatal punishment was impaling.
Bran Castle now known as Dracula’s Castle was built first as a fortress by the Knights of the Teutonic Order in 1212, later on at the end of 14th century it developed into a fortress needed for the protection of Brasov city and the whole region against the Ottoman invasion. It is said that Vlad Tepes used Bran Castle as his residence for a few short times. The castle had several owners over the years and in December 1920, it became the property of the Romanian royal family. Queen Mary began a process of restoration and put a lot of heart into decorating and bringing the castle to an excellent shape. The castle became the main residence of the queen who decorated it with artifacts from her time. You can also see typical Romanian furniture and tapestries. The castle passed on to her daughter Princess Ileana of Romania till 1948 when it was taken by communists. Since 1956 the Castle was opened as a museum of history and feudal art, a museum visited by millions of tourists every year.
The museum hosts a rich collection of Romanian and foreign furniture dating 14th-19th centuries
The castle sits high atop a 200 ft. tall rock overlooking the picturesque village of Bran. On the grounds below there is an open-air ethnographic museum of old village buildings with exhibits of furniture, household objects and costumes.
Because of Dracula’s legend Americans and British come here by the thousands every year especially for Halloween as the castle is the best place to feel the true spirit of this holiday.
Tourists coming here for the first time with the legend in their mind, approach the castle with anxiety. The castle can be seen from the distance being set on top of the mountain dominating the area towering over a bed of stone. The village bearing the same name, Bran village looks like a tiny spot next to the imposing construction. The tour of the castle is a really special one, the guides fulfilling every expectation of the tourists who come here to see Dracula’s castle and maybe even see its ghost!
The village set at the base of the castle has a very interesting market rich in artifacts, souvenirs and traditional products.
Accommodation is available both in cheap hotels and in pensions or in the homes of villagers who practice rural tourism. For the foreigners the last choice would be the best as they will learn something about traditions and know the local people and the way they live here in the shadow of Count Dracula!