Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bran Castle and the Dracula connection

We drove to the town of Bran, where a castle had been built in the 1400s to protect the region from frequent Turkish attacks. Jump ahead a few hundred years, and an Irish man named Bram Stoker wrote a horror novel about a count named Dracula in a far off place called Transylvania.

Legend connected Stoker's character to a very real Transylvanian ruler = Vlad the Impaler. Vlad was revered by his countrymen for fighting off the Turks, but he just happened to impose very painful punishments on his enemies. Vlad's father was given a title of the Order of Dragons, but the peasants didn't know what dragons were, so it was shorted to "dracul". Or something like that.

Long after Romania's Queen Maria renovated the castle in the early 1900s, someone made a very wise, financial move, connecting the castle to the Dracula legend. And so, a tourist destination was created!




Bran Castle is hardly opulent like Peles Castle. In fact, all of the sparse furnishings were only recently brought in, so any connection to Queen Maria and her summer residence is purely coincidental.





The modern town of Bran thrives on the Dracula legend, and you can find almost anything with Vlad the Impaler's image, vampires, or blood stains for sale in the shops at the foot of the castle.

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