The Bran Castle is situated in the North-East of Transilvania, on a cliff, in the Rucar-Bran passage. Actually it was built in the 13th century, probably made of wood as a defending citadel.
In 1377, the King of Hungary Ludovic I of Anjou gave the saxon from Brasov the right to build a new stone citadel in Bran. The castle was an important military and civilian strategic point. Through the Rucar-Bran passage was the main commercial road which used to linked Brasov and Campulung, being a connection between the two Romanian provinces (later, near the Bran Castle was also built a custom’s building). In time, the castle was under the property of some illustrious rulers like Sigismund of Luxemburg, Mircea cel Batran, Iancu de Hunedoara and even under the property of Brasov. In 1920, the Brasov’s inhabitants gave the Bran Castle to Maria the Queen of Romania. This was a gratitude gesture for her contribution to the Implementation of the Great Union from 1918. As it was restored by the architect Karel Liman, the castle was transformed into a summer residence for the Queen. Later, the Queen Maria let it as inheritance for her daughter, the princess Ileana, the 2nd King’s Carol sister. In 1948 the castle was nationalized, passing in this manner into the Romanian state’s property. In 1956, here was founded a medieval history museum. Later, in 1961 it was also added an ethnographic section: Bran State’s Museum. In this outside museum are exposed peasant households which are specific to the Bran area.
After 2000, the Bran Castle was returned to the Archduke Dominic de Habsburg. For reopening the museum, he equipped it with his personal collection items. Of course that over so many centuries the owners has influenced this medieval fort.
The initial settlement on the cliff of “Magura Branului” was conceived in a strategic manner. The original construction was closing the passage from the South, with two walls. The indoor wall had vertical and horizontal shooting holes which were covered by wooden shutters. The North dungeon relies on the cliff and on the roof was settled a guard post. In time, to the Bran Castle it was added a round tower in the South and a rectangular tower in the East: the Gate Tower. The entrance could be reached on a ladder. The old gate was defended by a grill of beams which could be lowered using the pulleys. The tower’s interiors were used as weapons and ammunition storage, guarding rooms and even as prison. On the North side were constructed buildings with access to the inside yard. Here were two basements and a bread oven. The rooms meant for living used to have Gothic style vaults and Saxon motifs painted beams. The “Big Hall” was decorated with a fresco.
At the Queen Maria’s command, the castle’s austerity will be dimmed, arranging the park with alleys and designing the terraces and the fountains.
The Bran Castle gained a worldwide reputation thanks to Bram Stocker, the author of the novel “Dracula” (1897). The action has developed inside the castle, becoming Vlad Tepes’s residence which is presented as being a vampire. Even if the Wallachia ruler has never been inside the castle, nowadays he is more renowned as being “The Dracula Vampire” than the ruler Vlad Tepes (Vlad Dracul’s son and Mircea cel Batran’s nephew). More and more tourists are coming to see the places where the famous Dracula “lived” and where were made Vampire movies. The large public interest for this type of legends has actually a favorable and unexpected result.
The visitors have the opportunity to know Romania, to admire the beauty of the landscapes and to meet the real history of a medieval fort like The Bran Castle.