Years ago, it was only a story I kept requesting from my dad. Then, all those Dracula books. And of course, those days we were watching horrors. My brother and I were the one choosing what to watch next. This was the procedure: dad had to hide paper in one of his hands, and the one that choose the right hand wins. My brother was always for war movies, and I was for horrors. I guess that’s the reason mom never watched movies with us. I think she is much more into romance and comedy, and a little bit in thriller. She could watch war movies, but horrors she despite! So that was the tradition for the three of us.
I have this thing for horrors even now. Although in childhood I had my moments of scary nights, I couldn’t help it because I fell in love with the fear that young. I think this is really bad, children shouldn’t watch horrors. But I guess those were years of horror expansion, and it made a lot of influence on people. My favorite horror movie ever was Vampires: Los Muertos from 2002.
The land beyond the forest
Since I explained all the cool things about Romania in my last post (here’s the link), I will now focus only about that popular and mystic land – Transylvania.
Transylvania is a word taken from Latin, and it means “the land beyond the forest”. But that is so true! All those trees and landscapes we passed by were really alive, even though they were covered in snow at that time. There is barely something other than nature on those roads beside Carpathian Mountains. It looks like the nature has its own story to tell.
Also, we captured some very strange scenes. An old lady selling water in some very old Pepsi bottles, and a man sitting beside dead animal (a pig probably). And I also think he was trying to sell it. There was blood too.
One part of the road is all about bends. That is the part of the road that is very high and it feels scary. After that, there is a village whit lots of houses that aren’t connected to the road. How do they ever get to the city?!
At one moment, my husband mentioned how they didn’t put anything about Dracula there. We think it would be nice to have some introduction to the story while still traveling. It could make the butterflies work!
As we were getting closer to Bran, we were really traveling downhill. The first moment of us stepping into that particularly sweet and dark town was astonishing. Those small streets, small buildings, dark and gentle colors at the same time… Everything nicely gathered up, and only one thing high on the hill: THE DRACULA’S CASTLE. The building we fell in love with. And the only one we could dig into more (we were traveling with a toddler).
Bran Castle – history
Bran castle was built in 14th century. The place that is called Bran now didn’t exist before that castle was built by the people of Brasov. In 15th century it belonged to Mircea the Elder (grandfather of Vlad Tepes), and from the second part of the 15th century it was Hungarian property. The last owner was king Vladislav II, who couldn’t repay loans (and the city of Brasov regained possession of the fortress). In 1920, it became residence of Romanian royal family. Queen Marie loved spending time in there, and her daughter (Princess Ileana) was using it as a hospital during World War II. After war, it belonged to communists.
Finally, from 2005, it is a property of American Dominic von Habsburg (son of Princess Ileana). He and his sisters opened the castle for tourists.
Bran Castle through our eyes
Even though we knew it had nothing to do with the legendary Dracula, Bran castle and it’s backyard are an awesome place to visit. When we got into the castle’s backyard, we were amazed by the frozen water and a beautiful dark cafe.
Also, the road that leads to the entrance is very inspiring (but very long as well). I am so lucky my little one managed to walk by himself all the way to the castle!
The wall begins with rocks. How awesome is that?! It really leaves you thinking about that huge thing built in 14th century! And it is more artistic and easy on the eye than any modern building I have seen so far! Look at that breathe-taking architecture!
The stairs in front are so big. I bet that if people kept on building those kinds of stairs – every person alive would be handsome! I had to carry the little one, but I felt amazing because I was doing my daily exercise. There are secret stairs too. It’s so dark where they are, and it gets narrowly while getting closer to the top. Here is the only picture I get to took of my guys going upstairs!
There are so many terraces with beautiful views. We stopped by every single terrace!
We were amazed mostly because of this particular picture: on one side modern road, and on the other side only a forest. Transylvania really is a land beyond the forest. And it is settled in a beautiful small hole made by human hands.
I bet their days were very good. That strange architecture. Fireplaces beside beds, desks besides windows… Very complex furniture. It all looks very cozy and I must say again – very inspiring.
My son thought that pendulum on that antique clock was yoyo, and while we were watching weapons he ran away. We found him in that “yoyo” room acting amazed and playing with it his favorite game. “Yoyo” was chasing him!
Vlad The Impaler and the vampire story
Vlad III was Prince of Wallachia. He was the second son of Vlad Dracul (who got Dracul name from the Crusader Order of The Dragon and then passed it onto his son), ruler of Wallachia. But as “(dragon) dracul” is “devil” in Romanian language, later Vlad was consider devil.
But did you know that Vlad Tepes never was inside that castle?!
Dracula is only a fictional character created by Irish writer, Abraham Bram Stoker, in his Gothic novel – Dracula. The writer never wanted the real Bran castle to be Vlad’s home. In fact, he never visited Romania and didn’t know about that castle.
Real castle of Vlad The Impaler was in ruins, so Stoker had to create his own vision of it. And people of Romania saw it like a great opportunity for tourism (because the castle in book was described exactly like Bran castle looks like).
The only truth about everything is that Abraham used real historic person, Vlad The Impaler, because some people named him “blood-thirsty”.
The impression after this castle was all about the architecture and how things built before are very complex. Not simple, but not complicated as well. We were tired and we were cold, but we wanted some more time inside. I think we didn’t even visited every room. Anyway, we had some quality family time in that old historic place.
I fully encourage everyone with kids to visit it! Transylvania has fresh air. And the castle is very interesting for children. So many different things for them to see! Both inside and outside. If you decide to visit it with young children, you will have to be very careful and you will have to say a lot of nos. My kid didn’t get “no” very hard, because he always had something new to see.
Don’t be discouraged because Vlad Tepes isn’t a vampire. This is a must-see! I mean, is there such thing as vampires?!