The beginnings of Bran are lost in the mists of history. Scholars say that its founding is tied to the Order of the Teutonic Knights, a medieval military order that settled in the area and built a wooden fort to defend the nearby mountain pass. The fort, however, was short-lived, being destroyed by the invading Mongols in 1242. However, this was the place where the stone castle was built afterwards by King Sigismund, castle that is known around the world as Dracula’s Castle.
Bran is a village located in Transylvania, in Brasov Count
In its stead, King Sigismund of Hungary erected a stone castle that was meant to protect the crucial roadway between Transylvania and Wallachia. Drawn by the protection offered by the castle, people begin to settle in its vicinity, and thus Bran was born. Later, the same castle would put Bran on the map as an important touristic destination that is visited by thousands of tourists every year.
The Bran castle
Situated at about 30 kilometers from the city of Brasov, the village of Bran is famous today thanks to the fascination that the castle of Bran exerts on people. The austere, imposing building is shrouded into a blend of history and legend, and perhaps the biggest myth of all is that of Count Dracula.
The castle’s recent history is controversial. The building was given to Queen Mary of Romania after the First World War, who restored the property. The communist regime confiscated it after the Second World War, and turned it into a museum, but failed to properly maintain it, which contributed to its degradation. In the 2000s, the castle was restituted to a descendant of Queen Mary, Dominic of Habsburg.
But it’s not the controversial ownership of the castle that draws visitors but rather the mystery of a supposed vampire that used to live in the area, as immortalized by Bram Stocker in Dracula.
The Bran Village Museum, located within the Bran Castle’s park
The Winter resorts
In the wintertime, resorts like Sinaia, Poiana Brasov and Predeal, all easily accessible from Bran, attract thousands of winter sports lovers to their slopes, some of the best in Eastern Europe.
The city of Brasov
From Bran, you can easily reach Brasov, home to some of the most representative historical monuments in Romania, including the Black Church, the Smiths’ Bastion, Catherine’s Gate, the Franciscan Monastery and the Art Museum.
In the area
The Peles Castle
Nearby Bran, there’s another beautiful castle that is famous for its rich architecture and historic significance. The Peles Castle in Sinaia was built for King Carol I of Romania in the German neo-renaissance style, and is today considered one of the most beautiful castles in Europe.
The Rasnov Fortress
About three kilometers from Bran, visitors can see the Rasnov fortress, built in the 13th-14th century to further protect the area from the attacks of the Ottomans.
How to get there Bran is accessible by car, bus, or minibus from nearby Brasov. The closest airports are those from Sibiu, Targu Mures or Bucharest, with the one in Brasov being currently under construction.