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Romania: Bran, Bucharest, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Transalpina Highway, Transfagarasan Highway
Bran, Romania: Home of Count Dracula
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Bran is a commune in Brasov County, Romania. It lies 30 km from the city of Brasov and is composed of five villages: Bran, Poarta, Predelut, Simon and Sohodol. The medieval Bran Castle, which was once besieged by Vlad the Impaler, is a popular tourist destination, partly because it resembles the home of Dracula in Bram Stoker's famous novel.
Bran Castle, also known as Dracula's Castle is a national monument and landmark in Romania. The fortress is situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. It is the home of the titular character in Bram Stoker's Dracula. There is, however, no evidence that Stoker knew anything about this castle, which has only tangential associations with Vlad III, voivode of Wallachia, the putative inspiration for Dracula.
Bran was our first stop after leaving Bucharest. My son Anuj and I were on a 5-day self-drive journey of Romania in a Porsche Macan Turbo – a 400 horse power beast. We had booked the tour from Porsche Travel Club. Since we are on the subject, we were quite delighted with the Travel Club’s meticulous planning and service. They have our complete recommendation.
In 1212, Teutonic Knights built the wooden castle of Dietrichstein as a fortified position in the Burzenland at the entrance to a mountain valley through which traders had travelled for more than a millennium, but in 1242 it was destroyed by the Mongols. In 1438–1442, the castle was used in defense against the Ottoman Empire, and later became a customs post on the mountain pass between Transylvania and Wallachia. It is believed the castle was briefly held by Mircea the Elder of Wallachia during whose period the customs point was established.
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 2005, the Romanian government passed a special law allowing restitution claims on properties illegally expropriated, such as Bran, and thus a year later the castle was awarded ownership to Dominic von Habsburg, the son and heir of Princess Ileana.
Since we were a privileged group and had made advance bookings, we were allowed to park our cars (a total of 8; 16 guests in all) at the very foothills of the castle. Being holiday season, tourists were full to the brim. We spent couple of hours in the castle and the premises around. The castle is now a museum with its rooms displaying various exhibits... costumes, utensils, torture equipment, et all.
We next drove towards Sighisoara.
Bran Image Gallery Photo viewer
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