The proud castle in the village of Bran has an international reputation as the "Dracula Castle" and is the most visited sight in Romania by foreign tourists.
Bran Castle in the town of the same name in Transylvania gained international fame as the alleged home of Bram Stoker's "Count Dracula" and attracts 560,000 tourists to Transylvania every year. Accordingly, the eerie walls are among our top 10 sights in Romania.
In fact, Bran Castle on its 30-metre-high rock bears striking similarities to the Dracula castle in the horror novel. However, the "real" Count Dracula, Vlad III Draculea, is said never to have entered it. Nevertheless, a visit to the Dracula Castle in Romania is undoubtedly marked by eerily beautiful creepiness.
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PICTURES: Bran Castle (Dracula Castle)
Photo gallery: Bran Castle (Dracula Castle)
History of the Bran Castle
Bran Castle, originally the "Törzburg", was built in 1377 by the inhabitants of Brasov with the permission of the Hungarian king. The castle remained in Hungarian hands until 1427, after which it was besieged several times but could never be taken.
Summer residence of the Queen
It was not until 1916 that the Törzburg was conquered by Romanian troops who invaded Transylvania and, after the annexation to Romania, went to the Romanian Queen Maria ("Missy"). She fell in love with the defiant castle and furnished it comfortably as a summer residence. The Dracula Castle owes its present appearance to her and the court architect of the time, Karel Liman.
Dracula Castle thanks to Ceausescu
However, the Törzburg owes its reputation as a Dracula castle to the Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, who turned it into a tourist attraction after the Second World War. In 1957, the castle was opened to visitors as a medieval museum.
After the release of the film "Bram Stoker's Dracula" in 1992, the number of visitors increased more and more. This is because Bran Castle is the only castle in Transylvania that is enthroned on a rock above a valley through which a river flows - exactly as Bram Stoker described it.
In 2006, the castle went back to Dominic von Habsburg after Queen Maria bequeathed it to her daughter and Archduchess of Austria, Princess Ileana. The latter tried in vain to sell it to the Romanian state for 80 million US dollars and finally opened a museum with Habsburg exhibits in 2009.
Tip: If anyone would like to spend the night in Dracula's castle: a luxurious flat in the tower of Bran Castle is rented out to guests.
Visit to the Dracula Castle
Bran Castle is located about 30km from Brasov (Kronstadt) and can be reached by car via the national road DN73/E577. In addition to magnificently furnished rooms, beautifully crafted pieces of furniture and other Habsburg exhibits, the sceptre, crown and silver dagger of King Ferdinand, Maria's husband, are also on display.
However, most visitors do not come because of the historical objects, but because of the fictitious lord of the house, Dracula. And indeed: if you look at the castle on its rock, surrounded by crows, with its battlements and towers, small windows and dungeons, you can well imagine that a bloodsucking, sun-shy vampire count would have felt quite at home here. Incidentally, the castle has been up for sale again since 2014.
Official website of the Dracula Castle in Romania
Opening hours and entrance fees of Bran Castle in Romania