The real castle behind Bram Stocker’s “Dracula” novel. Located right at the heart of Transylvania.
Bran Castle is a national landmark in Transylvania, Romania, which was built more than 600 years ago, also known as Dracula’s Castle. The castle was originally a wooden fortress named Dietrichstein, built by the Teutonic Knights in the year 1212, strategically placed at the entrance of a mountain pass used by many traders for more than a thousand years. The original castle was destroyed by the mongols in 1242.
Bran Castle has no less than 57 rooms and was home to Queen Marie of Romania between 1920 and 1938.
It is believed that Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad III Dracula (or simply Dracula), who ruled Wallachia starting with 1448, was imprisoned in this castle after he was captured by his enemies in 1462. He was known for his brutal acts of war, such as impaling enemies and even his citizens on large spikes for everybody to see. Needless to say, this unorthodox method of killing his enemies earned him the nickname “Vlad the Impaler”. After seeing such a morbid scene, the Ottoman forces following him after a battle returned home. He later inspired Bram Stoker to write the famous book Dracula.
The view from the gothic fortress, which sits at 61 meters high on top of a cliff, is truly epic. Inside the castle you can find furniture and art collected by Queen Marie, weapons, instruments of torture and armor dating from the 14th century. Besides shields decorated with the city’s emblem, maces and axes, you will also get to explore dozens of tunnels, a secret staircase and a room dedicated to Dracula.
The secret passage was once known only to soldiers and was later discovered during renovations in 1927. Its purpose was to allow the soldiers to climb safely at the top of the fortress where they would cast stones at the enemies in the eventuality of an invasion.
The exhibition also includes a room dedicated to costumes and you can watch a short movie if you are eager to learn more about Queen Mary and the royal house. Most panels with information about vampires and scary stories about the undead and Dracula are in English, so you can easily learn more about the dark history of the castle.
The biggest room in this fortress is called the Music Room of the Queen, where she used to organize concerts and receptions with her close friend, George Enescu, a well-known Romanian composer.
The stunning backyard can be admired from a room close to this one, called Loggia. Climb the staircase that leads to the 4th floor of the castle to experience the breathtaking view of the hills of Moeciu. Among other things you will get to see a dining room which features statues and fine works of art.
When you exit the castle, don’t forget to check out the small building which sits at its base. This was the Tea House of Queen Mary, made of wood and meant for gatherings with her close friends in a less formal setting.