Who has not heard of Count Dracula? The mysterious medieval character described in Bram Stoker’s novel has plenty of fans worldwide and continues to amaze people from all around the world – I’m not an actual fan of Dracula myself but, anyway, I decided to make a short trip to Bran (an excellent choice for a weekend getaway, I must say) where according to the legend, the bloody vampire lived.
Located in Bran, in central Romania (Transylvania region), the Bran Castle is a highly appreciated tourist attraction mostly because of its interesting history, the natural beauty of the surroundings, and its very well preserved shape.
Once in the small Romanian town, I was thrilled to discover the unique mountain landscape, the beautiful neighborhoods with old houses, as well as the rich offer of hostels and pensions run by very hospitable people – visitors can actually find cheap places to stay in every corner of the city. The entire town looks like a fair where you can find souvenirs, handmade folk clothes, and traditional Romanian food and beverages (very tasty, too!).
The Legend of Dracula vs. the Truth
The Bran Castle is the main attraction of the area throughout the year, but especially during the Halloween, due to the association with the legendary vampire Dracula.
The castle was built on top of a cliff around 1200 and first mentioned in an official act in 1377. Over the centuries it had hosted Teutonic knights, princes and many royal families.
The castle became famous with the popularization of Dracula – a character based on the Romanian prince Vlad Tepes, who in his lifetime has earned the name of Vlad Dracul (or Dracula) because of his harsh methods to punish thieves and robbers. The truth is, however, that Vlad Tepes never lived in Bran Castle and the legendary vampire Dracula (Bram Stoker’s novel character), is just … well … a legend.
Today, the castle is a museum open to tourists, but only a part of its rooms can be visited, exposing the old furniture of the royal family, impressive collections of ancient sculptures and icons, ancient weapons and armor belonging to the Teutonic knights, and collections of jewelry that belonged to Queen Marie of Romania.
Visit the official site of the castle for opening hours details and ticket prices: www.bran-castle.com/en/ .
In my next article, I will continue my city travel reviews – stay tuned for my travel guide to Brasov, the most beautiful city in Transylvania.