Every year hundreds of thousands of tourists come to Bran, Romania, in search of the legend of Count Dracula. 30 kilometers from Brasov, nested between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountains, Bran Castle started as a fortress built by the Teutons in 1212 and conquered by the Germans in the 13th century.
It appears in official documents for the first time in 1377, when the fortress is being rebuilt as a citadel. Fast forward to more recent times, the castle is being donated in 1920 by the citizens of Brasov to Queen Mary the Great, as a symbol of gratitude for her contribution to Romania's Great Union of 1918. Immediately after, the castle goes through a 7-year renovation project led by Carol Liman, the Royal Court architect, who transforms it into a summer residence.
After Communists came to power at the end of WW2, the castle was abandoned and only in 1956 it has been refurbished as a History and Medieval Art museum. The castle has recently returned into the possession of Dominic of Habsburg, Princess Ileana's successor.
The castle has been redecorated once again and it is open for visitors. It even has a room dedicated to Bram Stoker and the legend of Dracula. However, those looking to find real vampires will be disappointed.
The court of the castle houses a village museum showcasing the life of the local peasants and the customs in the Rucar - Bran area.
How to get there
if you're driving from Brasov, take road 73A towards Paraul Rece and Rasnov. Local buses are also available from Brasov every 30 minutes.
You can find a beautiful gallery of Bran Castle over at ImgAI.