Bran Castle , situated between the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains, 30 km far from Brasov, is the only touristic point that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists because of a legend: Count Dracula’s Legend, although the historical sources state that Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) dropped by only once, in his way to Brasov. Initially, the Bran Castle (in Slavic „brana” means „gate”) was a stronghold known as Dietrichstein, built by the Teutonic Knights in 1212, stronghold that was conquered by the Saxons living in Transylvania towards the end of the 13th century. The first documentary attestation dates from 1377, when Ludovic I D’Anjou gave the inhabitants of Brasov the privilege to build the citadel in the place of the old stronghold. Then, between 1419 and 1424, it was in Sigismund’s possession.
<ul><li>On 1st December 1920, the Bran Castle was donated to Queen Marie of Great Romania, as a symbol of the inhabitants of Brasov’s gratitude for her contribution to the achievement of the Great Union of 1918. Right after that, the Castle came into a seven year restoration period under the guidance of the Royal Court architect, Carol Liman. He imagined the architectural ensemble as a summer residence. During the same period of time the Tea House was also built. During this restoration works, the Castle was supplied with running water from a 57 meters depth fountain dig up in a rock and lighted by a turbine electric power plant. Later, in 1932, the Bran, Simon and Moeciu villages were lighted on from this electric power plant. Then, in 1938, Queen Marie left with will the Bran Castle to Princess Ileana, who owned it until 1948. </li></ul><ul><li>Bran Castle. </li></ul><ul><li>After the abdication of King Mihai and the expulsion of the Royal Family, the Castle became the property of the government, being abandoned and ravaged for a period. Only in 1956 the Castle was set as a museum of history and medieval art. The rooms of the four flour museum include ceramics collections, furniture, weapons and armours. In the court of the Castle there is a village museum presenting the life of the peasants in the area, the work and customs from the Rucar – Bran area. The Bran Castle is the destination preferred by American and British tourists for Halloween. </li></ul>
Where does Count Dracula’s Legend come from? The writer Bram Stoker , who published in 1897, in London, the novel “ Dracula, the vampire from Carpati ” is the one who created the fame of the Castle associated with Dracula. Literary critics consider the book as being mediocre, but it had a great impact upon the readers, as six editions were printed before 1903. Otherwise, Stoker does not determine exactly the place of the castle in his novel, but some historians state that it was in the Bargau Area, on the mountain pass between Transylvania and Moldavia. Anyway, it is certain that, because of this novel and of the film versions of the novel, it was created an indestructible connection between Dracula, the Bran Castle and Transylvania.
<ul><li>Given back and then taken back </li></ul><ul><li>In 2006, the Castle was given back to Dominic of Habsburg, heir of Princess Ileana. In the winter of 2007, the new owner put the castle up for sale. Because the Brasov town Council was willing to redeem the Castle, the lawyers who were dealing with the transaction requested the price of €60 million. Because the negotiations were hardly moving, it was stated at some point that there were offers of over €100 million, and that multi-millionaires from the Western Europe were among the potential buyers. Finally, the investigation of a committee of the Romanian parliament concluded that the retrocession of the Bran Castle to Dominic of Habsburg did not respect all the legal stipulations. </li></ul><ul><li>Price lists and accommodation </li></ul><ul><li>The castle can be visited daily between 9:00 A.M and 6:00 P.M., and on Monday between 11:00 A.M and 6:00 P.M. The price of a ticket is 12 lei for adults and 6 lei for students, pupils and pensioners, while for children under 5 the entrance is free of charge. The tax for taking photos and making films is 10 lei. According to statistics, over 385.000 tourists visited the Bran Castle during the last year, and 100.000 of them were foreigners. There are various possibilities for accommodation. The Bran village is considered to be the place with the greatest number of boarding houses. One has to pay between 60 and 150 lei for a room. Some of the boarding houses also offer to the tourists traditional dishes, as ewe cheese with polenta, fried pork meat or milk and maize. </li></ul>The way to the entrance in Bran Castle.
<ul><li>How to Get There </li></ul><ul><li>If you come from Bucharest and go to Brasov, you have two possibilities: one is the highway 73A (Paraul Rece – Rasnov), that is a fork in the European highway 1 before Predeal, and the other is the national road 73, from Brasov. Every half an hour there are buses from Brasov to Rasnov, Bran and Moeciu. It takes an hour to arrive at Bran, and ten more minutes from Bran to Moeciu de Jos. </li></ul><ul><li>The most important touristic objectives in the Rucar – Bran area are: the Dambovita quay , Dambovicioara Cave (which has electrification) and Uluce Cave (on the Cheia Valley). Moreover, there are many routes along the valleys or alpine routes with beautiful landscapes, and which also offer the tourist the possibility of covering the distances by bike </li></ul>