first documentary attestation of Bran Castle is the letter
written in 1377 by the Hungarian Ludovic I D'Anjou, giving
the inhabitants of Brasov some privileges.
At the end of the
14th century, king Sigismund gave up the leadership of Bran
Fortress in favor of Mircea cel Batran.
The royal domain had been given to the Hungarian aristocracy,
while the fortress passed under the rule of Mircea's faithful
boyars. Few years later, the Hungarian king got back the fortress.
Bran Fortress was subordinated to the authority of Szeklers
The Fortress had an essential role in protecting
the Hungarian king from the Ottomans and Tartars' invasion,
coming from Wallachia through Rucar Pass. That's the reason
why the inhabitants of Brasov built
the Castle on their own work and expenses.
de Hunedoara fortified Transylvania's borders and also the
towers of the Bran Castle. He made sure the rights of the
peasants were respected by the boyars who ruled the fortress.
However, there were frequent fights between merchants and boyars.
1498 the fortress passed under the merchant's possession and
it was used mainly for treading. You should also know that
it was a time when in charge of the leadership was a judge
called "Judele Brasovului". Responsible for the defense
of the castle was the permanent garrison: 2 guards and 10 -
20 archers and ballisters.
boyars. had the right to collect fees from visitors and peasants.
The fortress had an extra income
from: selling cheese,
milk and muttons and from manufacturing wood. The peasants
fought against the aristocracy for several times. In 1514 they
to take action against Gheorghe Doja.
In the 18th century the
fortress was the house of the Austrians frontier guards. In
1836 Bran became the official border and
the defense role of the fortress was no longer a priority.
In 1920, the Brasov Town council donated Bran Castle to Queen
Maria of Great Romania, who lived there with the royal family
till 1947. Since 1947 the Castle is opened as a museum.
The building of Bran Castle started somewhere around the year
1378. The constructors somehow succeeded in combining wood with
the rock brought from Magura Branului.
The castle had a protective and commercial purpose. It had
two rows of walls closing the passing towards South. They were made in stone
and brick. Only few traces of the initial defense position still exist.
The undersized building of the ancient Post Office had a pit with 6-8 rooms and
a cellar also used as prison. It hasn't been preserved.
At that time the fortress comprised the exterior wall, the donjon, the round
tower and the gate's tower. The wall was built in stone blocks and bricks and
had rectangular fire holes as had all Transylvanian fortresses. The donjon
was located on the North side and comprised four floors and only two chambers.
the top there was an observation point. Since 1593 the round tower has a circular
section. At its pit the ancient inhabitants used to deposit the gun powder.
The first and the second floor comprised few chambers. Initially the gate's
was round, but it was rebuilt in 1625 in rectangular shape. The ancient gate
was blocked with beams. The only way of reaching this entrance was by climbing
a ladder. Inside the courtyard you can still see the initial well (57 m high).
centuries passed by changes have been made to the castle. In
the 16th century the wax-paper from the windows was replaced
with glass and the shingle from the roof with tile. Many of
the changes and reparations have been made by the prince Gabriel
Bethlen. He added another rectangular tower, a square tower
with two floors and the actual gate. The old observatory tower,
dated 1622, shows the Romanian architectural style. At that
time the villagers's houses were located on the North side
of the castle. On the first floor there was a vestibule, a
big dinning room, a kitchen and under the stairs a small room
where they kept the gun powder. The second level comprised
also a vestibule, a small chamber with a door towards the new
tower, a room with short beams, a small room and a corridor
made in wood (the exit towards the courtyard).
1920-1930 other changes have been made. The fire holes turned
into windows, the well into the elevator's room and the stoves
into fireplaces. There have been added towers to the stairs
and it was built in wood the fourth floor.
Many legends are
connected with Bran Castle. It is said the castle belonged
to Count Dracula (Vlad Tepes), but nobody has
any proof. Vlad Tepes lived only for a short time in the castle
and only as a guest. What is really true is that Bran Castle
conjures up the perfect Gothic fairy-tale image of a Transylvanian
castle and as a result draws crowds of tourists from far and
Castle - The Legend
In 1897 Bram Stoker wrote a terrifying
story about Count Dracula. A century after, there are still
people who believe in it. Even researchers are trying to find
out the truth about Dracula. All are trying to clear the mystery:
was there or wasn't there a vampire in Transylvania?
of these fabulous stories are legends and how many say the
Here is the legend about Dracula.
Stoker's story is based on the life of Vlad Tepes/Vlad the
Impaler (1431-1476), a ruler revered by Romanians for standing
up to the Ottoman Empire. Known as one of the most dreadful
enemies of the Turks, Vlad started organizing the state and
enforcing the law by applying death penalty and impaling
all those he considered enemies: robbers, cunning priests,
treacherous noblemen, beggars, usurper Saxons. In fact he
fought against everybody who tried to replace him either
by his step brother Vlad the Monk or by his cousin Dan the
Young. The historians nicknamed him Vlad Tepes while people
say he was Count Dracula because he used to sign with his
father's name, Dracul "The Devil". Dracula is derived
from the Romanian word for devil or dragon.
This word alone
carries with it magic and mystery.
His castle is supposed to be Bran's Castle since its narrow
corridors constitute a mysterious labyrinth of ghostly nooks
and secret chambers easy to hide a "vampire".
Dracula's Castle was built on the edge of the Bran Pass and
nowadays lures guests worldwide who wish to partake in
the legend of the Count Dracula.
| Who was Vlad Tepes ?
VLAD TEPES/The Impaler (DRACULA)
Prince of Wallachia (1448,1456-1462,1476)
Son of Vlad Dracul
(Knight of the Order of the Dragon- since his nickname
Dracul, meaning 'dragon', 'devil' in Romanian-in 1431) and
Grandson of Mircea the Great, King of Wallahia (1386-1418)
Vlad Tepes introduced a very strict order in Wallachia,
strengthened the army, helped the trade with the neighboring
countries and was merciless towards those who went against
him. He adopted a totalitarian leadership and fought against
The Ottoman Empire scoring many victories.