The Bran Castle is situated in the vicinity of Brasov. It is a national monument and landmark in Romania. The fortress is situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. Commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle”
Dracula (literally meaning ‘little dragon’) is a fictitious character whose name derives from the appellation given to Vlad Tepes, the ruler of Wallachia from 1456-1462 and from 1476, and who, for largely political reasons, was depicted by some historians of that time as a blood-thirsty ruthless despot.
One of the most beautiful medieval castle in Romania, the Castle was a fortress that was built to fight against the Ottoman Empire, and later became a customs post on the mountain pass between Transylvania and Wallachia.
I decided to visit this castle because of it connection with the Dracula story. I found out that Count Dracula never actually lived here but he was imprisoned within the fortress. Vlad the Impaler burned the city’s suburbs and murdered hundreds of Saxons from Transylvania, provoking the Saxon community to seek revenge by later mentioning in reports that the Voivode (Eastern European title that originally denoted the principal commander of a military force, literally meaning war-leader or war-lord) was a tyrant and extremely ruthless.
From 1920 to 1957 Bran served as a royal residence, a gift of the people of Brasov to Queen Marie of Romania. The castle is now a museum open to tourists, displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie.
Visitors to Bran Castle should make the distinction between the historic reality of Bran and the character of the Count in Bram Stoker’s novel. Dracula existed in the imagination. The novel of the same name, has inspired countless horror movies, television shows and other bloodcurdling tales of vampires.
Though Dracula is a purely fictional creation, Stoker named his infamous character after a real person who happened to have a taste for blood: Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia or — as he is better known — Vlad the Impaler. The morbid nickname is a testament to the Wallachian prince’s favorite way of dispensing with his enemies.
I had an amazing time in Bran Castle, and learned a lot about the real Dracula family and history, and also about the fictional aspects connected to this beautiful place. If you ever visit Romania do visit this beautiful place, only two and half hours from Bucharest.