Visiting Transylvania is a must. The other national monument and landmark in Romania is the Castle of Bran. It was better known as 'Dracula's Castle' just because the 'hero' of Bram Stoker's Horror book and vampire novel about the Dracula was living there.
Yes, he was a real person, and it is hard to decide whether the fiction of the vampire or the real historical person is more cruel.
From Budapest to Bran is about 9 hours by car. Bran is the infamous 'Vampire City' where you can find out more about the Castle and Draculas. You can easily drive there by the M3 motorway. As it was in vicinity to Brasov, we decided to visit the castle of Bran.
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Zsolt was telling the story to Daniel and me in the car on our way there. Vlad the Impaler was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia ruling mainly from 1456 too 1462. In Eastern European history, voivode is a local ruler who are semi-independent ruler of Transylvania, Wallachia or Moldavia before c1700. Vlad the Impaler was the name he received due to his cruel 'passion' of impaling enemies on poles. Grrrrrg....why didn't he choose another passion?
There were some descriptions of impalement on the topmost floor of the castle during the museum tour.
Albeit the horror story as a background, overlooking the top of the castle, you can get a wonderful panorama that looks like this:
If you looked closely, there are several beautiful villas in vicinity:
The Bran Castle is rather narrow inside with dark walkways and lots of wooden stairs. Towards the third level, there is a very narrow stairway that you must passed. I was actually wondering if someone with a big built will be able to get through it. That part of the stairway appears very dark. Furthermore, my imaginations went a bit wild recalling those days in the 13th century, and supposing they were using candlelight. Imagine those flickering shadows....hoo! spooky :)
This castle was dated 1378 when it was first constructed, this was the time where rock and wood were mostly available from Magura Branului. Its addressed is now 498 Traian Mosoiu St, Bran which lies between the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountains.
Other than the wooden rooms (where there were about six to eight rooms), a dungeon, a round tower and a gate's tower, there is also a cellar that acts as its prison. A few traces of the initial defense position still exist if you visit it today. It did not seemed too old as it was open as a museum since 1947.
Inspite of the fact that it was more famously known for the legend of Vlad Dracula, historically this castle used to be where Queen Maria of Great Romania lived with her royal family. They were living there from 1920 to 1947. In the 14th century it was rather a fortress that played an important role in protecting the Hungarian King from the Ottoman and Tartars' invasion. That time, the Turks were coming from Wallachia through Rucar-Bran Pass.