This is one of my favorite castles!! (Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is my favorite!) I love this castle because it is what I imagine a castle to be with the secret passageways, towers and turrets.
Bran Castle, which is better known as Dracula’s Castle, is located in the town of Bran. It is a 45-minute bus ride from Brasov. The castle is built on a 200 ft high rock and has gained fame thanks to Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, written in 1897. It is interesting to note that Stoker never visited Romania but did much research on the Eastern European folklore and vampires. His description of Dracula’s castle has lead many to believe that Bran Castle is indeed the castle that he used for his story. It is believed that he was influenced by the book Transylvania by author Charles Boner. There is an illustration of Bran Castle in Boner’s book.
Stoker’s character, Dracula was loosely based on the Prince of Wallachia who is better known as Vlad the Impaler. It must be understood, however, that Dracula is a fictional character of Stoker’s vivid imagination. That point was made very clear while touring the Bran Castle. Vlad the Impaler never did live in Bran Castle but was imprisoned there for 2 months in 1462. If you are interested to read more about Vlad the Impaler and his life, there is great information on the Bran Castle website: www.bran-castle.com/dracula
Actually, there were only a couple of rooms at the very end of the castle tour that had any information about the novel Dracula. The history of Bran Castle was dedicated to Queen Maria and King Ferdinand I.
In 1918, Transylvania became united with the rest of Romania. In 1820, the council of Brasov voted unanimously to give Bran Castle to Queen Marie who was immensely popular with the people of Romania. Queen Marie used the castle as her summer residence until her death in 1938. She was only 62 years old. The castle was left to Queen Marie’s daughter, Princess Ileana.
Once you pass through the souvenir booths that have been established at the bottom of the castle……
You start climbing to get to the castle entrance. The castle is very imposing. It is easy to imagine it with a full moon in the background and vampires coming out at night!
In the entryway, are the photos of the King and Queen and the history of the castle. It is very informative. You are then free to wander throughout the castle with the several other visitors. I didn’t notice any tours being offered but we had a couple of people approach us offering to be tour guides in the castle. You can rent audio guides that can be used as you visit each room. Tickets were approximately $10 per person.
The first group of rooms that we entered were Queen Marie’s apartment. This was a small parlor and the stairs took you to her bedroom.
Off from the salon, were her sitting rooms which are now used to display historical documents. This exposed wall was in the salon and shows how the walls looked before the restoration work that Queen Marie had done to make the castle more suitable to live in. The secret passageway takes you up to the next level. My apologies for the blurry photo. I had to take it quickly as people were waiting behind me to enter the stairway.
Around the town of Bran
For the rest of our time in Bran, David and I walked around looking for a cafe to get a coffee. There were several restaurants but we had a difficult time finding just a coffee shop. We did enjoy the sites that we saw in our wandering.
Here are a few photos of the various streets we walked on:
I happened to look up and saw this stork on her nest! What a surprise!
Of course, I couldn’t resist a couple of doggie pictures!
I was never a fan of Dracula and can say that I have never read the book or seen the movie. I am just not a fan of “scary”. I did want to visit Bran Castle. My gosh, Romania is famous for it. I could not imagine visiting Romania and not seeing Dracula’s castle.
It was well worth. Until my next post, may you be blessed, be filled with joy and sparkle!✨✨✨