Thursday, March 10, 2011

BRAN CASTLE

You might not want to visit this castle because of its connection to a morbid character known as Dracula. But for the sake of history and discovery, this ancient fortress, known as "Dracula's Castle" is equally interesting just like the rest of ancient royal homes in Europe.

For many decades, Bran Castle became the object of fantasy and curiosity among researchers and travelers because of the legend of Count Dracula who, according to legend, tortured and murdered people in his castle.  But whether his legend is true or just part of Bram Stoker's creative mind, Bran Castle, nonetheless, is one of Europe's most fantastic ancient castles to visit.

This castle was built around 14th century and located at the picturesque mountains of Bucegi and Piatria Craiului in Bran near Brasov, Romania. The citadel is made of wood and rock and used to protect the Hungarian King from Ottoman and Tartars' invaders until it passed to the possessions of many members of Transylvanian aristocracy and merchants.

In the 20th century, Bran Castle became part of the crown properties and one of the royal residences used by the descendants of King Ferdinand I. Queen Marie, the wife of Ferdinand's nephew and successor, King Carol I, chose the royal fortress as her principal home. Marie was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England. Then it passed through her daughter, Princess Ileana and was seized by the communists during World War II. When Romania became republic, Bran Castle is one of the possessions of the royal family which was given back to them, it was turned over to Princess Illeana's son, Archduke Dominic of Austrian-Tuscany. 

Now the castle is converted into museum showcasing several prized royal collections, tapestries and memorable items of Queen Marie and her family. The castle has a beautiful courtyard overlooking the magnificent view of the mountains along Transylvania and Wallachia borders.

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