I was always fascinated by stories and novels about counts and vampires, about mysteries and legends and Bran Castle in Transylvania Romania is one of theses places wrapped in legends and mysteries.
I have always wanted to visit Transylvania and see with my own eyes how this Romanian region looks like, what is the truth about it!
Castles in Transylvania Romania
I know you read many interesting stories about count Dracula who suck people’s blood and you were fascinated by its magnificent fortress.
But have you ever considered to visit Romania and Dracula castle and see what is the truth behind the legend?
I am sure you will be surprised to find out that many of the things behind the story are true and in this article, I am going to tell you what is true and what is not about Bran Castle and the stories related to this place.
Let’s start with the beginning and discover together the most amazing things about this fortress:
1. Bram Stoker never visited Transylvania
You probably will be as surprised ( at least I was) to find out that the author of Dracula’s novel had never been to Romania.
Everything from the characters to the story was an invention of the Irish novelist.
But the most amazing thing is that the vast and creepy fortress described by the author in his book resembles perfectly with Bran Castle in Transylvania Romania.
The author talks about a fortress located high above a valley with a river passing right at it’s base.
And this description from Bram Stoker ‘s Dracula matches perfectly with Bran ( remember that Stoker never actually visited the castle or Romania).
2. Count Dracula never lived at Bran
Believe it or not, this is the truth: Count Dracula, the Wallachian emperor never lived at Bran castle near Brasov.
The real name of Count Dracula was Vlad the Impaler and he was born in Sighisoara, a beautiful medieval fortress from Transylvania.
Description of Bran Castle was so accurate that after a short visit to Bran castle you will think that this place was used as inspiration for Bram Stoker novel.
His name can be associated with Targoviste where was located his main residence or with Poenari fortress where he stays and plans his battles during Ottoman invasions.
The only connection with Bran Castle is that it might have been imprisoned at this fortress for a few months after he loses a fight with Transylvania emperor from those times.
Today Transylvania and Wallachia are two amazing regions of Romania, but hundred of years ago they were part of different occupations.
3. The locals believe in vampires and ghosts
Here is another strange thing: locals do believe in vampires; the only difference is that they call them “strigoi”.
A strigoi is a dead person who comes back from death and feeds on their victims’ blood.
During day time, this strigoi is a normal people but once the night is coming he is transforming into thirsty blood drinker. Sound extremely familiar especially if you had read the book written by Bram Stoker, right?!
4. There is a secret passage inside Vlad Dracul castle
Bran Castle in Transylvania Romania has many secret rooms and even a secret passage, discovered at the beginning of the 19th century.
The secret passage links the first and the third floors and most probably it was used by the officers to escape in case of emergency.
The passage remains secret until 1920 when Queen Mary of Romania commands a fortress refurbishment.
So, during the renovation process, a piece of tile from the old fireplace was removed with the purpose of rearranging the room.
At that moment, the passage sees again the sunlight the first time after many years.
To ensure you a unique experience of the chateau, the hidden passage was included in the tour of the chateau and I have to tell you that it is now the centrepiece of the tour.
5. Vlad Tepes castle had multiple usages
Over the years the chateau had multiple usages: it was a fortress, a royal residence and even a hospital.
By 1920, Queen Marie of Roumania received this castle as a gift and start the restoration working to the place which lasts until the summer of 1934.
With love and care, Queen Marie transformed this Bran Castle in Transylvania Romania into the royal family’s summer residence.
During World War II, the daughter of Queen Marie, Princess Ileana transformed the chateau into a hospital.
Princess Ileana was a qualified nurse and use the place like a hospital to treat injured soldiers.
After that, the communist era began and the chateau was taken by state authorities. Only after 1990 the castle was given back to the Romanian Royal family and was open to the public.
6. Bran castle in Transylvania Romania home of a royal family
As I said earlier, the Bran, this amazing castle became the summer residence of the Romanian royal family.
Queen Marie felt in love with this castle immediately and she put a lot of passion to refurbish it and to give it the glory of the old times.
Because the place was huge and very hard to keep it warm during the hard Romanian winters, the castle was used only a few months per year during summertime.
During Queen Marie age the castle received electricity and many other facilities in order to make her stay more comfortable.
After Queen Marie death, her daughter Ileana took her heart and put it in a golden box and deposited the box at Bran Castle.
When communist took over the castle, the heart was taken from the castle and brought to Bucharest to be exposed in a museum ( at least this is what rumours said).
In 2015, the heart was taken from History Museum in Bucharest and deposited in the Golden Room from Pelisor Castle; which is another emblematic castle in Transylvania, where can be seen today.
7. Vlad Dracula’s castle has an elevator
Incredible but true, the Bran Castle in Transylvania Romania has an elevator built during the 19th century at the request of Queen Marie.
For those of you who plan to visit the castle, you have to know that there are a lot of stairs and for old people might be a little bit difficult to move around.
The fact that the castle is built on top of a cliff, make it even harder to access, but this was the initial purpose: to be inaccessible for enemies.
So, by the time you get to the castle, you already feel tired and it is just the beginning; you need the energy to explore the castle now.
But as Queen Marie gets older it was more and more difficult for her to get to the castle move around so she ordered an elevator.
So, the construction of the elevator began; in the interior courtyard, you will see a copy of that elevator.
The real one is hidden for public eyes behind some black doors and it was extended with a vertical tunnel that leads to the royal gardens.
Wow, these facts are indeed amazing and I bet you have never heard about them when reading all kind of materials about this amazing castle!
But have you ever considered of seeing the castle when outside is dark or are you afraid of ghosts and vampires?
The castle under the moonlight is mystical and is an image which you should not miss when visiting this magnificent place!
Conacul Torzburg Bran offers is a great place to sleep and is located within a few walking minutes from the castle!
Ask for a room with a view over Bran Castle in Transylvania Romania and be careful as a vampire might come to suck your blood, especially if outside is a full moon!
If you don’t have enough time to spend the night in Bran than you might consider taking a full day tour from Bucharest.
It is a good opportunity to see the Carpathian Mountains, Bran fortress and Peleș Castle from Sinaia (which is on your way to Bran).
I recommend you to try Peles & Bran Small Group: 2 Transylvanian Castles in 1 Day a full-day guided tour of these magnificent castles located in the heart of Romania, close to Brasov.