Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle)
Romania, Bran (Brasov)

Romania, Transylvania, Brasov county, Bran village - the most famous vampire who ever existed on Earth, Count Vlad Dracula lived and committed his atrocities here. Bran Castle is called Dracula's Castle, because of all the castles in Romania it is most consistent with the description of the monastery of Dracula in the book of the English writer Bram Stoker. The history of the castle begins in 1211, when King Andrew II of Hungary presented the lands near Brasov to the knights of the Teutonic Order, who built the fortress in Bran. On November 19, 1377, the Hungarian King Louis the Great granted the privilege to the people of Brasov to build a castle on the site of the Teutonic fortress. Already in 1388 the construction of the castle was completed. His role at that time was to protect the eastern border of Transylvania from the attack of the Ottoman hordes. In 1407, Sigismund of Luxembourg gave Bran Castle a gift to Prince Mircea in exchange for an oath of allegiance. The prototype of the powerful and sinister vampire Dracula, the hero of Bram Stoker's book, was Vlad Tepes, the ruler of Wallachia, whose rumor of cruelty and ruthlessness extended far beyond the borders of his possessions. Vlad Tepes really wore the nickname Dracula, which he received from his father, who was a knight of the Order of the Dragons. However, Vlad Tepes never owned Bran Castle and did not live in it. In 1459, his army marched through Brasov, burning villages and suburbs of the city on its way and killing hundreds of Saxons from Transylvania. Obviously, the legends about the cruel ruler of Wallachia served as an occasion to call Vlad Dracula an ominous vampire. In 1498, for 1000 florins, the Saxons of Brasov bought the right to use Bran Castle from King Vladislav II Jagello. In 1836, the border between Transylvania and Wallachia was moved from Brasov, and Bran Castle lost its military significance. After 1918, Transylvania became part of Romania. On December 1, 1920, the citizens of Brasov presented the Bran Castle as a sign of respect and love to Queen Mary of Romania. From 1920 to 1932, a large-scale reconstruction was carried out in the castle under the guidance of Czech architect Karen Liman, as a result of which the castle was transformed into a summer royal residence. Around the castle was laid out an English park with two ponds and a tea house. A guest house, a wooden church, servants' houses, stables and a garage were also built. After the death of Mary in 1938, the castle was inherited by Princess Ileana. In 1940, the heart of Queen Mary was delivered to Bran Castle from Balchik Palace. A marble sarcophagus with a royal heart was placed in the crypt of a chapel carved in a rock, next to the castle. In 1948, in connection with the change of power in the country, Princess Ileana and her family left Romania. In 1956, a museum was opened in the castle, in which expositions devoted to life in the castle of the royal family, medieval history of the region and ethnography were presented, a rich collection of medieval furniture, weapons and armor was collected. On June 1, 2009, Bran Castle returned to its rightful heirs, Archduke Dominik, Duchess Maria Magdalene and Duchess Elizabeth, children of Princess Ileana. Bran Castle offers a rich entertainment program for visitors. Here you can celebrate Christmas, Valentine's Day, visit the Cheese Festival, which takes place as part of the traditional Sheep Festival. But the most interesting tourist attraction is Halloween at Bran Castle. Guests are entitled to a night tour of the castle, dancing, wine, and for dessert - Count Dracula himself.

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