The following is an excerpt from the book Single White Female Backpacker from the Teresa the Traveler Series.
Our next stop was Bran’s Castle, which was built in 1377 by the Saxons of Kronstadt. It was first used in defense against the Ottoman Empire, then later became a custom’s post on the pass between Transylvania and Wallachia. In 1920 it became a royal residence for the Kingdom of Romania and the principle home of Queen Kestine Marie. It was later inherited by her daughter Princess Ileana before being seized by the communist regime after they expelled the royal family from Romania in 1948.
In 2006, in accordance with the new 2005 law allowing restitution claims on properties seized by the communist government, Prince Dominic of Tuscany, the son and heir of Princess Ileana was awarded ownership of Bran Castle. The Prince promptly put the castle up for sale for a whopping $78 million claiming he would only sell it to a buyer “who will treat the property and its history with the appropriate respect.” The Romanian Parliament then tried to reclaim the castle saying the transfer of ownership to the Prince was illegal but failed in their attempt. Fortunately the Prince had a change of heart and decided not to sell this precious piece of Romanian history. Instead he turned it into a museum dedicated to the history of the surrounding area and the memory of Queen Mary whose collection of art and furniture are displayed in the castle.
Vlad Tepes also used the castle as a headquarters for his raids into Transylvania hence the reason it is marketed as the home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a favorite site for tourists – particularly on Halloween when the castle hosts a big bash. There is, however, no evidence that Bram Stoker ever visited or even knew about the castle.
Unfortunately we got there on the one day of the week when it was closed for cleaning but Claudiu bribed the guard and managed to get us through the gates and up to the castle. Unfortunately we were not able to convince the maid to let us inside because her boss was nearby. It was probably a good thing the castle was closed because I brought along a cape so Carolyn and I could entertain ourselves by taking pictures of each other in front of the castle dressed as Dracula. Other tourists may have thought we were a wee bit strange and had us committed. To make matters worse, we also made our poor guide Claudiu wear the cape so we could pretend Dracula himself was giving us a tour of the castle. I am not proud of my wacky behaviour but I couldn’t help myself, there must have been some craziness floating around in that cold Transylvanian air
Where I Stayed...
Str. Pietii nr. 5 cod 50007
Vis a vis de Teatrul Dramatic
Tel: (40) 268 411 080
Mobil: (40) 755 065 790
Quiet clean basic rooms right in the center of the old downtown core