Friday, September 17, 2010

Bran Castle

Thursday we pulled up stakes, so to speak, and drove down the valley, through Brasov again, and up to Bran. Bran Castle is one of the major tourist sites in Romania. It is an old castle, to be sure, founded by the Teutonic Knights in the 12th century, a fortresss against Tartar and Turkish invasion over the centuries, in the 19th century a customs house, in the 20th century a residence for the short-lived Romanian royalty. Seized by the commies in 1947, then, turned into a museum, then, most unusually, given back to the royal family in exile in the 1990s, now run for them as a tourist destination by a private company. For none of these reasons is it popular. Rather, it is the Transylvanian (really?) castle that most looks like what Dracula's Castle should look like.  So they say. Personally, I though it was what a nice historical treatment of a really old but still intact medieval castle should be; there were a couple of Vlad/Dracula rooms, nonetheless. There is only conjecture that Vlad ever set foot in the place.
Scary? Really?

As it looked in the late 1800s

Official Teutonic Knight costume

Some nice rooms and furniture

Ditto; including the royal crown

Ditto again

A narrow dark staircase or two

And then the Vlad/Dracula rooms

"Hey, everybody was doing it!"

"Besides, he was a really good guy"

Surrounded by the usual trinket shops....

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