Bran Castle – Dracula Castle

Bran Castle is famous for Dracula, probably one of the most famous fairy tales to come out of Romania. Dracula never actually existed, but probably Vlad Tepes – a famous medieval warrior who never lived at the castle, was the character behind the fairy tale.

In 1212 the Teutonic Knights built the wooden castle of Dietrichstein as a fortified position in the Burzenland at the entrance to a mountain valley in southern Carpathians through which traders had traveled for more than a millennium, but which was destroyed in 1242 by the Mongols. The first documented mentioning of Bran Castle is the act issued by King Louis I of Hungary on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt (present Brasov) the privilege to build the stone citadel on the 60 meters high rock; the settlement of Bran began to develop nearby. The Bran Castle was first used in 1378 in defense against the Ottoman Empire, and later became a customs post on the mountain pass between Transylvania and Wallachia. The Bran castle briefly belonged to Mircea the Elder of Wallachia. While Vlad Ţepeş (known as Dracula) did not actually live in the Bran Castle, it is believed he spent two days locked in the dungeon while the Ottomans controlled Transylvania.

From 1920 the Bran Castle became a royal residence within the Kingdom of Romania. It was the principal home of Queen Marie, and is decorated largely with artifacts from her time, including traditional furniture and tapestries that she collected to highlight Romanian crafts and skills. It was inherited by her daughter, Princess Ileana, and was later seized by the communist regime after the expulsion of the royal family in 1948. In 2005, the Romanian government passed a special law allowing restitution claims on properties such as Bran, which was seized by the Communist government of Romania in 1948. In 2006, the Romanian government awarded ownership to Archduke Dominic of Austria, Prince of Tuscany, known as Dominic von Hapsburg. In 2007, von Hapsburg put the castle up for sale for a price of £40 million. On January 26 2009 it was revealed that the family had decided not to sell the castle, but instead turn it into a museum dedicated to the legend and history of Dracula. Bran Castle represents in the consciousness of any tourist the darkness residence of prince Dracula, a fictional hero in the famous British Bram Stocker’s novel. Nowadays Bran Castle is one of the most visited sites in Romania.