27 Jun Bran Castle
Bran Castle – between myth and history
A visit to Bran Castle
Everybody knows something about Dracula, the renowned character from Bram Stocker’s book, a book that had a remarkable echo. What people don’t actually know is that Bran Castle is the place that inspired the writer. In Bram Stocker’s description there are details that indicate the fact that Bran Castle was indeed the source of inspiration “… right on the edge of a terrible precipice…with deep clefts where there are silver strands, where rivers make whirlpools in deep canyons hidden in the heart of the forest”.
The truth is that Bram Stocker has never been in Romania and made up the story inspiring himself from books and images that described Vlad Dracul (The Impaler) and from stories about Bran Castle. His character is made by stories about Vlad the Impaler and his cruelty. He used to execute by brutal methods people who did not respect the laws.
When you get to Bran village, you will discover a mix between reality and myth. You will find here Bran Castle, you will see all the books and historic documents, but you will also find lots of vampire and bloody scenes souvenirs.
You should know that Bran Castle (Törzburg in German), also known by the name of Dracula’s Castle, is a landmark in Romania. It is located in Bran, an old village near Brasov (about 30 km away).
The history of Dracula’s Castle begun in 1377; back then it was a new stone fortress built in Bran village. This place was known in that era thanks to the Teutonic Order named Dietrichstein. The Teuton knights stayed in this area until 1226. They have built this fortified wooden settlement named Bran in order to protect Transylvania. They were part of the order named – “Ordo domus Mariae Sanctae Theutonicorum Hierosolimitanorum”.
Brand Castle was finished in 1388. It had a double role, both defense and customs. The Ottoman danger was imminent at that time and Bran Castle gained major importance as strategic defense point. Bran settlement begun to develop at the same time as the new stone fortress. Bran Castle benefits from a strategic positioning, being located on the road that connects Transylvania and Wallachia. This strategic advantage offered the new building a major political importance.
The history of Bran Castle is connected to Vlad Tepes (ruler of Wallachia). After he lost his throne, Iancu of Hunedoara (ruler of Transylvania) helped Vlad Tepes to take back his throne and become protector of the strategic road between Wallachia and Transylvania. This is why Vlas Tepes is connected to Bran Castle and its history.
During his first reign, Vlad Tepes was ally of the inhabitants of Brasov and Bran, fighting against Ottomans. During his second reign he conquered Bran fortress and killed many Saxons.
Bran castle was part of the Habsburg and Austrian Empire between 17th and 19th centuries, maintaining its vital importance all this time. In 1836 Bran Castle lost its strategic and military importance because the border between Wallachia and Transylvania was modified. In 1920, after it became part of the properties of the Royal Family of Romania, the castle was restored. Today the castle is open to the public.
If you come to Bran, you will definitely live a beautiful experience. It is a wonderful thing to pass next to the mountains in order to get to this place sheltered by the cliffs on which Bran Castle rises. It is like reliving old times when you get to the castle. The huge building made by stone can be seen from a few kilometers away and it becomes bigger with every step that brings you closer to it. When you enter the big yard, it is like reliving the medieval age and feel the spirit of Dracula, always alive. Countless boutiques that sell souvenirs amplify this feeling. It is extraordinary how big the castle seems from this place. The journey continues as you start to walk in the Gardens of Bran Castle. A big wooden gate lets you step inside. Here, between trees, you can see the auxiliary buildings of the castle. A stone road helps you climb the amazing cliff on which the castle is build and enter inside it. The medieval atmosphere becomes even more authentic. The small rooms, the narrow stairs, the tall walls, the inner yard and the scents, they all make you feel the bygone ages.
By listening to the information given by the guide and getting in harmony with the place that whispers its history, you become inspired. This is actually the main idea; Bran Castle has the power to inspire. You will be sure of it when you will realize that this place is still alive in your mind even after many years.
Being born and raised in this area, in a town not too far from the castle, I had the chance to see it at a young age. The first time I was here everything seemed enormous; Bran Castle was something unimaginable. I think I was five years old back then. Now I think it is a great place that overwhelms you. Bran Castle is an interesting place, at least because it has the power to make you understand the delightful mix between myth and history.
Article by: Alexandru – Pure Romania
Photos – Pure Romania