Romanian Castles and Fortresses
Peles Royal Castle, Bran Castle and Rasnov Saxon Fortress
The rich medieval heritage of the country is best illustrated by Romania’s fortresses and castles. While castles built from the 14th to the 18th century are strong and austere, intended mainly for military purposes, those erected in the late 1800’s display an imposing and luxurious architecture. The most popular examples are the 19th century Peles Castle, Royal Family summer residence, with its 160 rooms filled with priceless European art collections and, of course, Bran Castle, built at the middle of the 13th century and legendary home of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula.
On the other hand, Rasnov Fortress dates back to 1331 and represents the enterprise of the Teutonic Knights, as a protection against invaders; it was enlarged later on by the Saxon population. Unlike other traditional Saxon fortresses, Rasnov was a place of refuge over extended periods of time. As such, it had at least thirty houses, a school and a chapel.
Included Services: transport, certified national guide, entrance fees to Peles Castle, Bran Castle or
Rasnov Fortress, Black Church in Brasov.
– Peles Castle is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays; the Black Church is closed on Sundays.
– Lunch and dinner not included !
– Meal reservations in Sinaia, Bran or Brasov – upon request.
– Photo tax not included!
Highlights of Bran Castle
Surrounded by an aura of mystery and perched high on a 200-feet rock, Bran Castle became famous due to its imposing towers and turrets, as well as to the myth created by the English novelist Bram Stoker and his Count Dracula character.
The castle was first mentioned in an official document issued by King Louis I of Hungary in 1377, who gave the Saxons from Kronstadt (Brasov in German) the privilege to build the citadel on the site of a Teutonic Knights stronghold dating from 1212. During the first decades of the 20th century, the castle served as a royal residence for the Romanian Royal Dynasty, a gift of the people of Brasov to Queen Mary of Romania, wife of King Ferdinand I.
Narrow winding stairways lead through 60 timbered rooms, many connected by hidden passages, housing collections of furniture, weapons and armor from the 14th to the 19th century. The castle guards over the picturesque village of Bran, which can be described as an open-air ethnographic museum, consisting of old local-style village houses, complete with furniture, household objects and costumes. Nowadays, the castle is a museum, displaying arts and furniture objects collected by Queen Mary.
Although Bram Stoker never travelled to Transylvania, he relied on research and his vivid imagination to create the dark story of Count Dracula, leading to the persistent myth that Bran Castle was once the home of Vlad Tepes, the ruler of Wallachia. While the historic association with Vlad Tepes, as well as the fictional one with Count Dracula are sketchy at best, the castle continues to hold a strong attraction among all fans of the Count.