Bran Castle is a slender stronghold with tile roofs
erected in the 14th century, located not far from the city of Brasov in Romania. It commands
the green hills on the edge of the Little Carpathians, a subrange of the great chain arcing
The Bran castle was built in the 14th century, a stronghold to protect
the villagers and landowners of the plains beyond the Bucegi Mountains, although it is most
famous for being the location of the famous vampire, Dracula.
It is the perfect setting for a vampire-lord. Tall, turreted,
red-roofed, with a massive guard tower, it has thick walls with narrow openings for archers and
cannons, iron grates over the portals, and secret passageways.
The Bran castle had to be mended and refurbished over
centuries of struggle with the Ottoman Empire. Once the two spacious inner courtyards had been
flower gardens, and the white-washed walls of the high-ceilinged rooms had been covered with
brilliant-hued carpets from the northern reaches of Moldavia.
There is much confusion regarding the myth of Dracula and why Bran
Castle is known in pop culture as Dracula’s Castle. Bram Stoker never mentioned Bran as
Dracula’s castle, but the castle fit perfectly into Stoker’s description as it
stands on a rocky outcrop in the mountains. It is believed that Vlad the Impaler spent some
time in Bran Castle, and some say he was even imprisoned there, but there is no evidence to
Although there is no clear evidence that links Vlad the Impaler
(Dracula) to Bran Castle, much of the myth surrounding Prince Vlad is
Dracula ruled this extraordinarily beautiful place for a couple of
decades in the 15th century. Even for those rather bloodthirsty times, he was a savage and
unforgiving man, though he was certainly not a vampire.
His nickname, Dracula, means "son of the dragon,"
after his father who was a Knight of the Dragon, a great royal distinction in the 15th century
and before. His real name was Vlad, again after his father, and it was an unpleasant habit of
his that earned his name in Romanian history: Vlad the Impaler.
His favourite method of executing enemies was to have them impaled. A
victim would be held spread-eagle while a long stake or limbless, sharpened tree was plunged
through his body.
Then the poor soul was left to die - a grisly process that sometimes
took days. Vlad had numerous disagreements with the prosperous burghers of nearby towns, who
occasionally challenged his right to rule. Most famously, he wreaked vengeance on
the towns of Sibiu and Brasov.
A traveller reported to the court in Vienna once that the hills
surrounding Brasov seemed to be forested with stakes bearing rotting corpses. He went on to
tell that Dracula had ordered his men to set his table for lunch among the dead and
Visit Bran Castle
Bran Castle lies off a wide, well-marked highway. As
you approach, turns in the road reveal the castle's impregnable towers. Leaving the parking lot
you struggle up a boulder-paved road, grabbing the hand-rail for support.
On the left, gloomy pine woods fall away to a valley where the moat
had been. Panting, you reach the massive gate; inside the courtyard you climb another steep,
rough path to the entrance.
A ticket for an adult costs only around $6, while students and people
over 65 can get a discounted ticket. Permission for shooting costs another $6.
Bran Castle is located about 30 km from
Brasov, Romania. Get help with directions using the map provided below.
View Larger Map