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Bran Castle is a gothic fortress located on top of a cliff in Transylvania. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania and is popularly known as the Dracula’s Castle as it is believed to have inspired Bram Stoker’s stories.  While Bram never set foot inside this castle, the description in his book ‘Dracula’ resembles Bran Castle quite closely. 

Bran Castle’s history dates back to the 14th century when it was built to protect Transylvania. Later, it acted as a customs point for entry into Wallachia. In 1920, Queen Marie received the fortress as a gift, who renovated it and turned it into this gorgeous castle. She loved spending time in this castle so much that she requested her heart to be buried beside it. 

Between 1377 and 1388, Bran Castle was built atop a strategic location overlooking a widely frequented mountain route between Transylvania and Wallachia, the territory governed by Vlad the Impaler in the 15th century. By 1388, the castle was completed and was also used as a customs house for Transylvania, which was then a province of Hungary. In the early 15th century, King Sigismund of Hungary temporarily gave up the fortress to Prince Mircea the Old of Wallachia, a neighboring kingdom under threat from the Ottoman Turks.  Bran Castle was built by the Saxons of Transylvania as a fortress and a customs point. It was perched atop a hill to offer clear views of the valley and was built to stop the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. Later, it became solely a customs point to collect taxes from merchants who wish to enter Wallachia.

In 1920, Queen Marie restored and converted the fortress into a summer palace where she spent many years. Currently, the museum spans across the 4 floors of Bran castle where furniture, ceramics, weapons, etc. are displayed.

  • Bran Castle played a significant role in the history of Transylvania. 
  • It played a major role in defending against the Ottoman Empire from 1438 to 1442. 
  • Up until the mid-18th century, Bran Castle played a strategic military role. 
  • Rumors of Vlad Tepes being the inspiration for one of the most iconic characters of Count Dracula popularized Bran Castle as Count Dracula’s Castle. 
  • Romania soon started to market Bran Castle as Count Dracula’s castle to improve tourism.

More castle facts and history can be found here.