When people think about Romania, thoughts of vampires and Dracula immediately come to mind. Bran Castle is one of the most well known, and visited sites in all of Romania. Interestingly, the majority of Romanians do not like the link between Romania and Vampires, which is understandable because the country has many things to offer.
The castle is located about 2 hours north of Bucharest in the Carpathian Mountains in the Transylvanian region. The castle is near Brasov, in the small village of Bran.
In 1377 the Hungarian King, Louis the Great, commissioned the people of Brasov to build the castle to serve as both a fortress for the Eastern border of Transylvania and as a customs checkpoint. The castle was completed in 1388. Over the course of the next hundreds of years, the castle changed hands between several different groups and kingdoms. It underwent multiple renovations during that time as well. In modern history, the castle was transformed into a museum by the communist regime. After the fall of communism, and multiple legal proceedings, the castle was returned to the rightful heirs in 2009. Today, the castle is open for visitors and is a very popular attraction. If you have some spare change lying around, the castle is for sale for $80 million.
The Legend of Dracula
Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula, first published in 1897 is a thrilling tale. The scene in the book is set in a castle on a hill in the Carpathian mountains. While author, Bram Stoker, never visited Romania his description matches up pretty well with Bran Castle. The main character, Count Dracula, is a Count with a castle located in Transylvania. This character is oftentimes mistaken for the bloodthirsty ruler, Vlad Tepes. Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, never ruled from the castle but is said to have spent a few nights there during his reign. He was also rumored to have been held prisoner thereafter he was captured by the Hungarian Army in 1462.
Visiting Bran Castle Today
The cost to enter the castle is 30 Romanian Lei (10 US dollars). The self-guided tour takes about an hour or so. There are lots of restaurants and cafes around the castle area. There are also loads of tourist shops with everything “vampire” you can imagine. The hours for the castle vary depending on the time of year, so if you are planning a visit it is good to out the website link here, Bran Castle.