May 5 “. . . on the very edge of a terrific precipice . . . with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm [with] silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests.” This is the line through which Bram Stroker describes the Count’s castle in his famous book ‘Dracula’. Bran castle fits perfectly Bram Stroker’s description of Dracula’s castle as it is the only castle in all of Transylvania, Romania with those characteristics. Throughout the world, Bran Castle is now known as Dracula’s castle.
The original name of Bran castle was “Dietrich stein”, named after the builder of the castle.
- The very first fortress was erected in Barn was by the Teutons- a Catholic religious group formed in Palestine in the 12th
- They were driven away in 1226.
- In 1388, the castle was completed by the Saxons of Transylvania after the office of Hungarian king- Louis the Great issued a document for the people of Brasov to build a castle.
- The original castle was built across the Carpathian Mountains along the trade route called Bran pass.
Teutonic Knights(1211-1226), Saxons(1388), Prince Mircea(1407), Iancu Prince of Transylvania(1441), Vlad the Impaler(1459), Saxons of Brasov(1498), George II Rackoczi(1651). Queen Maria of Romania(1920), Princess Ileana(1938), Communist’s transformed it into a museum(1956), Princess Ileana of Romania and Archduke Anton of Austria(2006), Archduke Dominic, Archduchess Maria Magdalena and Archduchess Elisabeth(2009)
4. Association with Bram Stroker’s Dracula
- The description of Bram Stroker’s Count Dracula’s castle exactly matches the Bran castle.
- Bram Stroker never visited the Bran castle.
- Although Stroker’s character Dracula is entirely fictional but it highly resembles the real-life villain, once the owner of Bran castle- Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia.
5. Secret Passage
- Though the secret passage is no more a secret, it connects the first floor to the third floor.
- The secret passage had its door hidden behind an old fireplace.
- It was discovered during the renovation of the castle by Queen Marie in 1920.
- In case of emergency, it was used by the officers as an escape route.
6. Eerie castle or hospital?
- During WW-II it was turned into a hospital by Princess Ileana to treat the wounded soldiers.
- Princess Ileana was a qualified nurse and would treat the wounded herself.
- Putting an expensive property for goods used by royalties as seen very less often.
7. The old entrance
- The entrance which was used in the past is gone now.
- A steep staircase now leads to an old beautiful door, which welcomes one inside the castle.
8. Vampires: myth or reality
- Romanian locals used to believe in Strigoi. The Strigoi were the spirits that rose from the dead during the night and fed on their victims.
- Strigoi are similar to vampires, and it is believed that Bram Stroker got inspired by the stories of this mysterious creature that used to walk during the night.
- Vlad, the Impaler, was a merciless and cruel ruler. People at that time used to believe that he was a strigoi.
9. Mysterious water-well
- At the centre of the courtyard is a well which is 60 feet deep.
- In the medieval era, water played a very crucial role, as it was used to put out the fire and was the cheapest way to boil and throw water on the enemies.
- This well has a secret chamber or a hideout just above the water level, which was used as a last resort from the enemies.
- When Queen Marie renovated the castle, she extended the chamber in a 30 feet long horizontal tunnel, which reaches the bottom of the castle. There was an elevator attached to the tunnel by which the queen would go down to the garden at the bottom of the cliff without climbing the stairs.
10. Queen Marie’s heart
- Queen Marie was so in love with this castle that she wanted her heart to be buried in the gardens of the castle after her death.
- At first, the Queen’s heart was buried in the Bran castle kept in a silver casket.
- When communism swept the country, the heart was moved away.
- Currently, the Queen’s heart is resting in Pelisor Palace in Romania.
Currently, Bran is open to tourists as a museum, displaying the belongings of Queen Marie. But the castle is famous as Dracula’s castle in Romania. It is not just a national monument of Romania but also the first private museum of the country. The thick wall of the fortress which is still standing strong has seen long dark days as well as the love of the Queen. The castle has a long history starting from the 13th century Teutonic knights’ laying of the foundation of the castle to the 20th-century renovation by its loving owner Queen Marie.