Bran Castle is situated near Bran and in the immediate vicinity of Brasov; it is a national monument and landmark in Romania. Commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle”, it is marketed for resale in 2014 as the home of the titular character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The castle is now a museum open to tourists, displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. Tourists can see the interior individually or by a guided tour. In 1920, the castle became a royal residence within the Kingdom of Romania.
It became the favorite home and retreat of Queen Marie. The castle was inherited by her daughter Princess Ileana who ran a hospital there in World War II: it was later seized by the communist regime with the expulsion of the royal family in 1948.
In the 1400s, Vlad was a ruler of modern-day Transylvania and a man with a tremendous appetite for cruelty. His blood-thirsty acted as inspiration for Bram Stoker’s vampire named Dracula, in the novel written 450 years later.
Vlad the Impaler was born Vlad III, Son of Dracula, and Dracula being his father’s name, roughly translated to ‘dragon’. In youth, he was denied his seat on his father’s throne of the state of Wallachia.
As a result, he became a truly fearless warrior, destined to slaughter the families of all those who opposed his reign of the region. When Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula’ was unleashed upon the world in the 1890s, it was an almost instant sensation.
He wasn’t the first author to write about vampires. Bram Stoker openly acknowledged that the ‘immortal’ character of Vlad the impaler a man who feasted on bloodshed and cruelty – inspired his creation of Dracula the Vampire. Bram Stoker travelled to Romania to uncover ideas and inspiration to strengthen his novel.
We know that he would have seen many castles in photographs at least but modern day scholars can find no evidence of one particular castle that acted as inspiration for his work.
Tales of the supernatural had been circulating in Romanian folklore for centuries when Irish writer Bram Stoker picked up the thread and spun it into a golden tale of ghoulishness that has never been out of print since its first publication in 1897.
The Castle was built on a steep cliff between Măgura and Dealul Cetăţii, with an exceptional view of the nearby hills, Moeciu Valley and Valea Bârsei. It served the role of customs – holding 3% of goods transferring in and out of Transylvania and the role of a fortress the castle stood at the Eastern border of Transylvania and was used in an attempt to stop the Ottoman Empire’s expansion.
The Castle was damaged over time, often by sieges and otherwise by common negligence or even by forces of nature. For example, in 1593 there was an explosion on the powder mill and in 1617 a severe storm destroyed the roofs. The castle also underwent reconstruction during the reign of Gabriel Bethlen.
In September 1990, Princess Ileana, who since 1961 lived in a convent and was ordained as Mother Alexandra, visited Bran Castle and witnessed the damaged buildings and loss of some of the inter-war construction.