Bran Castle is often referred to as Castle Dracula, but its history has very little to do with Vlad the Impaler who most people associate as being the inspiration of the novel. Apparently, Bram Stoker based his description of Dracula’s castle on a description of Bran Castle that he had read about during the time that he was writing the book. The castle does indeed match his description in that it does sit on the edge of a cliff overlooking the valley below. Bram Stoker never actually visited Transylvania, but the illustration of the castle in the original novel is supposed to match Bran Castle pretty closely. The only actual relationship the castle has with Vlad Dracul is that it was where the tax officers resided who collected taxes from the aristocrats of Bran. Vlad was also reportedly held in the castle for two months by the Hungarian’s after being defeated by their armies. Regardless of whether you go to the castle because of its association to Dracula or just because you enjoy historic castles, the visit is certainly worthwhile.
We read a lot of complaints about the size of the crowds visiting the castle before our arrival and needless to say, it is true. As with any popular tourist destination, complaining about the crowds is beyond ridiculous, what else would you truly expect. With that said, we were fortunate to be there during the off-season, so it could have definitely been worse. The second thing that we read was that the castle has been refurbished, not restored, so don’t expect what you see to be truly authentic to the period. Although there are some historic pieces of furniture scattered throughout the rooms of the castle, it is the dramatic views and the castle courtyard in the heart of the castle.
It is truly a beautiful part of the country and the views from the castle are quite amazing. Although its popularity is based simply on being the inspiration to the castle in Bram Stoker’s novel, it is quite dramatic to see it almost rising out of the rocky cliffs below. Maybe it is the romantic notion of the folklore, the desire to transcend time and live forever, or just to say we have been there, we enjoyed our brief visit to the castle. There are certainly plenty of things to see in the Carpathian Mountain region of Brasov in Transylvania, but any trip there should probably include Bran Castle.