July 4, 2005
The landscape is very nice, as the Bran Pass builds the border between two mountainous groups of the Transilvanian Alps, the Bucegi Mountains, and the King’s Stone Mountains. On clear days, the view over the nearby meadows and the gigantic riffs and up to the heights of the Carpathians is spectacular. Thanks to these meadows, the inhabitants of Bran, who normally herd sheep and cows, became very rich, even during the totalitarian regime.
In Bran, there is also a village museum, which brought together typical peasant houses from the area. The castle was built by the inhabitants of Braşov during the 14th century in order to control the Bran Pass. Nowadays, it houses an art collection – which includes furniture, armors, ceramics, and such – and all can be visited now. The most interesting, however, is to visit the castle itself, which has been modified several times over the past centuries. In the mid-15th century, the castle was owned by the Vallchian Prince Vlad Ţepeş (the Impaler), better known as Dracula. The prince was generally correct to his subjects, but cruel as well. No wonder so many tales are told about him. Wrongdoers, murderers, and thieves were executed: a pale was pushed through their body, and if it did not touch a vital organ, they died after several days of breathing insufficiency. The tales of his cruelties reached Western Europe through Transylvania and Hungary. Bram Stoker’s novel "Dracula" interconnected these tales and became, in a short time, a bestseller.
The Castle of Bran is a real Dracula castle, dark and frightening, and it has a little, almost round inner court, narrow aisles, cold rooms where there is a draft, and mysterious stairs. When one visits it alone or in small groups, it frightens one. The castle, where the ghost of the legendary Dracula is said to still wander, is equal to the Scottish castles. Older people say that Dracula would not have died. He should be buried in the monastery he built near Bucharest, the Snagov Monastery, though studies have proved that the grave is empty.
In the 1930s, the castle had been used as the summer residence of Queen Mary. The courageous queen is the last person who made changes to the castle. In an old well, she constructed a lift that brought people from the bottom of the rock up to the inner court of the castle. The dark character of the castle was not diminished.
From journal Bran Castle