Tuesday, 30 December 2014


On our last day in Romania we had one more place to visit, Arguably the most iconic and recognisable building in Romania... Bran Castle!

Set high in in the pine covered hills sits the centrepiece of Bram Stockers horror master work Dracula it is in this castle that fictional solicitor Jonathan Harker was imprisoned and tormented by the vampire until his daring escape. However as compelling as the novel was the truth about this mysterious castle is just as arresting.

Unsurprisingly the castle has a rich history of war and political instability from the 13th Century until living memory that have inspired not only great story tellers but almost everyone who looks upon the face of this towering stone giant.

The first fortification in the area was constructed in 1212 by the Teutonic knights. The wooden fort was built to protect the trade routes into the mountain valley which had been used for over a thousand years. Just decades later in  1242 the fort was destroyed by the Mongol army. As time passed the castle we all now know was drawn up by the Saxons in 1377. The stone castle was used by Vlad the Impaler to defend his homeland from the Ottomans in 1438 and continued to be used up until the second world war when Romania's princess Ileanna offered up the castle for use as a military hospital. Following the Second World War the communist regimes expulsion of the Royal Family and was not returned to the heir and rightful owner until 2005.

Upon entering the small town in the present day tourists can expect to find small stalls selling all sorts of vampire related souvenirs from mugs to t shirts to snow globes.
Unlike most landmarks in Europe though the atmosphere was relaxed and an absence of pushy salesmen was a refreshing  change from the chaotic, often stressful and occasionally intimidating methods used in major tourist attractions elsewhere in the world.
Sorry for the low quality image. I was trying to take it subtly to avoid being forced 
With time to kill before the castle opened to visitors we drank coffee in a nearby bar, bought some tacky Christmas presents and made friends with a few local residents including a rather chatty can and gang of very friendly dogs.

This cat wouldn't stop meowing, I think he was actually telling me the history of the town in cat language.

One dog in particular made friends with me and followed me right up to the ticket office for the castle and then proceeded to accompany me up the slope and into the entrance of Bran Castle where he patently waiting for me.

The entrance fee for the castle was only 25 Lei which works out less than £5.00.
The interior is in my opinion the perfect balance of original artefacts and only essential information so it really is like stepping back in time.

Each room is kitted out as if it was still waiting for the owners return.

There was more than just fancy beds in Bran Castle... Suits of armour stand guard at every turn and the castle also has a rather curious collection of torture devises!

I'm not sure what this was for but I don't think it'd be nice. I'm sure someone in the fetish scene would disagree though.

All throughout the castle are windows, balconies and openings offering amazing views of the surrounding landscape.

While not nearly as lavish as the nearby Peles Castle there was something very enchanting about this castle. Maybe it was the centuries of warfare but at the risk of sounding like a hippy the place had a very strong energy. The troubled building seemed to have a soul.

In fact as I was reading some information I heard someone walk in and felt a breath on the back of my neck only to discover I was very much alone in the room.
I don't think I encountered the lost soul of a sickly soldier who died when the castle was used as a hospital or the vengeful spirit of a furious Vlad the Impaler.
It was probably just echoing footsteps and a gust of wind.. but it was an eerie place to say the least.


One the way out we got a sinister stare off the big man himself. Vlad's eyes seem to follow you around the room.

I really could not fault Bran Castle. It was everything I wanted it to be and I am very glad I saw it.
Pressed for time we unfortunately had to get back to the capital city and fly back to our vampire free reality. We were supposed to get a train back to Bucharest but we instead took a ride with a friendly Transylvanian all the way to the airport while driving over misty mountains and hearing all about contemporary life in the country.
Unfortunately our Wizz Air flight was delayed by 5 hours...

I loved Romania and I would love to go back someday and stay for longer. Bram Stockers's novel might have inspired me to go but now I have a lot more reasons to go back to this mysterious and addictive country.

If you are planning to go to Romania I hope this helped you out a bit.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions  please feel free to leave a comment and I'll endeavour to answer you!

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