Located about 30km from Brasov, Bran Castle stands on the ancient border between Transylvania and Wallachia.
The castle was built in medieval-Gothic style in 1211 by the Teutonic Knights on the orders of Andrew II of Hungary to protect the Transylvanian border from invaders.
Used first as a customs house and then as an outpost, it passed definitively into the hands of the Princes of Transylvania in 1407, before being occupied in 1448 by Vlad III, also known as “Vlad the Impaler”.
After the death of Vlad III, the dilapidated building was bought by the Kingdom of Saxony.
In 1920 after centuries of neglect Bran Castle became the residence of the sovereigns of the Kingdom of Romania.
At the end of World War II, the country fell to the Red Army and converted to communism. The royal family was exiled from the country in 1948, the Castle became national property and turned into a museum.
Finally, in 2009, after years of exhausting negotiations, the Royal Family had their entire ownership of Bran Castle returned by the state authorities.
Today Bran Castle is the most visited tourist attraction in Romania. In a complete tour you can visit the inner court, the apartments of Queen Marie and Prince Nicolae, the apartments of King Ferdinand and the Chapel of Mircea.
The legend of Count Dracula
In 1897 the Irish author Bram Stoker decided to set in Transylvania the famous gothic novel about Dracula, a Count who lived in a castle near the Carpathians.
Although Stoker never visited Romania, he wrote so precisely the landscapes and the Castle itself that in the mind of the reader of the novel the resemblance to Bran Castle was immediate, and so, in common belief, it was identified as the real Dracula Castle.