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Bran Castle
Well Preserved Medieval Castle in Romania

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Bran castle is a national monument and landmark in Romania. It is commonly known as "Dracula's Castle", and although it is one of several locations linked to the Dracula legend, it is marketed as the home of Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula. There is no evidence that Stoker knew anything about this castle. On the other hand Dracula is clearly based on Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) who was known as Dracula during his lifetime and who did use the castle during his raids into Transylvania.

It is owned by His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Dominic of Tuscany, Archduke of Austria. 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.


Bran Castle
Compania de Administrare a Domeniului Bran
Str. General Traian Mosoiu, nr. 24
Casa "Principesa Ileana" - Castelul Bran
Judetul Brasov

Telephone from the UK: 00 268 237 700
Telephone from the US: 010 268 237 700
Telephone from France: 00 268 237 700
Telephone from other countries: +(0)268 237 700

Fax: 0268 237 702



Google Maps


Small scale map showing the location of
Bran Castle

Google map showing the location of
Bran Castle

Large scale map showing
Bran Castle


Location of Bran Castle


Bran Castle situated near Bran and in the immediate vicinity of Braşov. It is situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia, on DN73.

Bran Castle is known in German as Törzburg and in Hungarian as Törcsvár.

At the bottom of the hill is a small open air museum park exhibiting traditional Romanian peasant structures (cottages, barns, etc.) from across the country.



History of Bran Castle


The first documented mention of Bran Castle is the act issued by Louis I of Hungary on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt the privilege of building a stone citadel at their own expense.

The castle was used in 1378 in defence against the Ottoman Empire, and later became a customs post on the mountain pass between Transylvania and Wallachia. The castle briefly belonged to Mircea the Elder of Wallachia. Vlad Tepes used Bran Castle as headquarters for his incursions into Transylvania. Vlad (Vlad the Impaler) was a Roman catholic convert renowned for his great cruelty.

The area saw many battles between Christians and Moslems, and in Bram Stoker's book set in the nineteenth century Dracula recounts what are clearly personal memories of these battles several centuries earlier.


From 1920 the castle became a royal residence within the Kingdom of Romania. It was the principal home of Queen Kestine Marie, and is decorated largely with artefacts from her time, including traditional furniture and tapestries that she collected to highlight Romanian crafts and skills. The castle was inherited by her daughter, Princess Ileana.

It was later seized by the communist regime after the expulsion of the royal family in 1948.

In 2005, the Romanian government passed a law allowing restitution claims on properties such as Bran, In 2006, the Romanian government awarded ownership to HI&RH Prince Dominic of Tuscany, Archduke of Austria, Dominic von Habsburg, an architect in New York State and the son and heir of Princess Ileana.

In 2007, Prince Dominic put the castle up for sale for a price of £40 million ($78 million), but it was not sold. In 2009 it was revealed that the Prince had decided not to sell the castle, but instead turn it into a museum dedicated to the history of the surrounding area and to the history and memory of Queen Marie and her family.






Vlad the Impaler


Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia , more commonly known as Dracula, was a three-time voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462.

Historically, Vlad is best known for his resistance against the Ottoman Empire and its expansion] and for the cruel punishments he imposed on his enemies. In the English-speaking world, Vlad III is most commonly known for inspiring the association of the name of the vampire in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.

Vlad's Russian surname Dracula, the name he was referred to in several surviving documents, means "Son of the dragon", and points to his father, Vlad Dracul, who received that epithet from his subjects because he had joined the Order of the Dragon. Dracul, from the Latin word Draco, meaning "dragon", is derived from the Greek word Δράκων (Drakon), though in modern Romanian Dracon means "devil". His other epithet Tepes or Impaler originated in his killing opponents by impalement. In Turkish, he was known as "Kazıklı Voyvoda" which means "Impaler Prince".

On September 26, 1459, Pope Pius II called for a new crusade against the Ottomans and on January 14, 1460, at the Congress of Mantua, His Holiness proclaimed the official crusade that was to last for three years. His crusade failed and the only European leader that showed enthusiasm for it was Vlad Tepes, whom the Pope held in high regard.

In the West, Vlad III Tepes has been characterized as a tyrant who took sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing his enemies. Estimates of the number of his victims ranges from 40,000 to 100,000.

Atrocities committed by Vlad in German stories include impaling, torturing, burning, skinning, roasting, and boiling people, feeding people the flesh of their friends or relatives, cutting off limbs, and drowning. Other methods of punishment included skinning the feet of thieves, then putting salt on them and letting goats lick off the salt.

Impalement was Vlad's preferred method of torture and execution. Death by impalement was slow and agonising. Victims sometimes endured for hours or days. Vlad often had the stakes arranged in various geometric patterns. The most common pattern was a ring of concentric circles in the outskirts of a city that constituted his target. The height of the spear indicated the rank of the victim. The corpses were often left decaying for months.

One of the most famous woodcuts of the period shows Vlad feasting in a forest of stakes and their grisly burdens outside Braşov, while a nearby executioner cuts apart other victims. (see left)

This place was famously known as the Forest of the Impaled. In this forest is a story of Vlad's "sense of humour": a servant was holding his nose and Vlad said to him while feasting "why do you do that?" The servant replied, "I cannot stand the stench" Vlad immediately ordered him impaled on the highest stake and said, "then you shall live up there where the stench cannot reach you."

Vlad the Impaler is alleged to have committed even more impalements and other tortures against invading Ottoman forces. It was reported that an invading Ottoman army turned back in fright when it encountered thousands of rotting corpses impaled on the banks of the Danube.


Vlad III Tepes - Dracula





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