Located at 30 kilometers away from Brasov, between the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains, the Bran Castle is surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend. Beyond its undeniable charm, the castle owes its fame to the myth created around count Dracula by Bram Stoker. For the travelers with a determined taste for the Gothic, the castle is best seen from the distance, with its grey façade often shrouded in mist.
The castle was first mentioned in 1377, during the reign of Ludovic I of Anjou, king of Hungary. Starting in 1378, its construction used both wood and stone. The castle was meant to be a strategic, military and trading point. It was built by Saxons from Braşov in 1382 to defend Bran pass against the Turks. It may have housed Vlad Ţepeş (aka Dracula) for a few nights on his flight from the Turks in 1462.
From the outside, the construction is massive and imposing with stone made walls. But the inside, with its narrow corridors that make up a labyrinth of hidden corners and secret closets, create a spooky and mysterious atmosphere.
The inner yard is guarded by four tours oriented to the four cardinal points. Here you can discover a fountain of 57 m depth, two cellars, the bread oven and a prison.
Queen Maria, the niece of Queen Victoria of the Great Britain, who was known as “the great queen who (…) spreads her blessing everywhere she walked, thus wining, with an irresistible momentum, the hearts of the entire country’s population” received the castle in 1920 as a gift from the city council of Brasov.
After that, by the orders of the queen, the castle became a bright and sophisticated summer residence, surrounded by the park with beautiful promenade alleys, wells, halting terraces and teahouse.
After the death of beloved Queen Maria, the legend tells that her heart, preserved in a silver box, has been discovered in the niche of the construction.
On the southern side of the castle wall is a small chapel built in 1940 in memory of the queen. The church is a copy of another church in the queen’s palace grounds in Balchik, Bulgaria (formerly part of Romania).
Today the castle is the Feudal Art Museum with valuable collections of weapons, armors and furniture. The tourists may visit the Etnographic Museum near the castle as well
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