It is perhaps because of Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula that Romania, particularly Transylvania, is very famous today. Vampires are thought to originate here and that they are real. Well, who doesn’t love vampires? Twilight and The Vampire Diaries have massive fanbases because people love vampires, and not to mention, their stories!
Anyway, I had the perhaps once-in-a-lifetime experience of visiting the rather famous (or maybe infamous) castle where Romania’s (or the Wallachian kingdom at the time) great Christian defender Vlad Tepeș III, commonly and widely known as “The Impaler,” once lived. Actually, it was one of the few castles that he lived in while he was the voivode (the Prince who ruled the kingdom) for three times in the 15th century.
The Bran Castle, or Dracula’s Castle, is situated in Brașov, Transylvania, Romania. Every year, foreigners from neighboring European countries and other continents and locales alike flock to visit the once fortress. When I was among these people last summer, I was excited to finally step unto the grounds of the Bran Castle premises.
Once you have entered the gates, or even before, you will see the vast grounds. As you walk a few meters away from the gate, you will see a souvenir shop on the left, the upward pathway leading to the castle itself in the middle and the landscaped lawn and the lake with water lilies on the right.
And then, the throng of people lining up, waiting for their turn to get into the castle met my eyes. I did hear about many people visiting the castle during summertime but I didn’t expect it to be that many. And it was still barely mid-day.
While waiting in line, I was taking a few pictures for my personal documentation purposes. And here, you can see the thick walls of Bran Castle.
And here is the entrance of the castle, which is seemingly designed, rather than merely renovated, for touristic purposes .
The exploration begins here. You can see the narrow hallways, huge rooms, chests, a fireplace and some paintings.
And going outside past the crossing room is the hallway that has the courtyard view. In a particular angle, you can also see the paronamic view of city below.
Weapons and armors.
Dracula of Bran Castle poses for picture taking.
After exploring the interior of the castle, next is taking a look at the castle grounds. It can be noticed that the premises are well-kept, clean and hospitable.
Aside from the souvenir shops in Bran Castle (one near the entrance and one inside the castle), there are a lot of souvenir stalls outside the castle as well. The souvenirs range from custom-made T-shirts, native clothes to handmade quilts, winter slippers/boots to mugs to kitchenwares and many others.
In my couple of hours visit, the experience already enriched my knowledge about how people lived during the medieval times. For some, Dracula’s Castle might be eerie or just a landmark like a museum to this day. But for me, Bran Castle has told me many stories in the past that feed my imagination.
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