A Trip to Translyvania

Never, in my life would I EVER have thought I would visit Transylvania! The small town with a historical castle responsible for the infamous novel ‘Count Dracula’ by Brahm Stroker.
This trip was never on my personal itinerary. This was actually part of a week long business trip in Romania and they treated us to visiting Transylvania.

Transylvania and the iconic Caste Bran became famous for being known as Dracula’s Castle. The actual castle was owned by the Austrian royalty a long time ago, and it served as a strong fort from invaders trying to take over Romania. In fact, nobody could successfully take over the land, as the castle is situated on a hill with excellent views overlooking the countryside.

Transylvania the Town

Sadly, no bats or wolf howls. In fact, it’s simply a small town with an architectural style inspired by the old Hapsbergs dynasty who originated from Germany. The towns and buildings are very much in the German country style, with wooden beams and supports along the exteriors and interiors.

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Transylvania is a rather peaceful and picturesque place, which mainly consists of small suburbs of families, schools and stores. The area surrounding the castle are littered with small markets stalls selling various goods and souvenirs. There is a haunted house nearby for the kids.

Castle Bran

 
The History
The Castle was first built in the medieval era in 1212, and served as a fortress from the enemies surrounding Romania. It was destroyed by an invasion from the Mongols of Asia, and eventually rebuilt in stone with its wooden interior and elements that we see today. After that it served as a castle for the Hungarian and Romanian royalty, a fortress and even a hospital during World War 2. The castle also served as the inspiration for Brahm Stoker’s popular novel of the vampire, Count Dracula.

 

The Castle

The castle lies upon a hill, and this made it ideal for being the strong fort it was. It has a pretty little courtyard with a wishing well in the middle. The castle rooms are very cosy and decorated showing off random traditional Romanian dresses. I’m not sure why the dresses are put in the rooms, but Romania’s fashion industry is one that is quickly growing in Europe.

The Courtyard
Can you find the Count Dracula I secretly put in one of these pics? 😉
 
The interior 

The castle interior is very small and narrow. The interior is also stone, with wooden floors and furnishings. Most of the original furnishings are not in the castle anymore. The furnishings were mainly made of wood, and there was a torture chamber. Overall, the castle rooms seemed very cozy and domestic. No sleeping Dracula in his coffin could be found 🙂 .

Finding Count Dracula
Even though Transylvania has become synonymous with the Dracula novel, the character was actually based on Romania’s Prince Vladimir Draculea III or Vlad The Impaler. Prince Vladimir was born in Transylvania, and eventually succeeded to rule the throne. Romania had been split into two countries known as Wallachia and Moldovi which had come under constant siege from its neighbors. Count Dracula III became infamous for his warfare against invaders and his sadistic methods of death and torture to those who committed crimes in and against his kingdom.

 

English writer, Bram Stoker, was inspired by the folktales from a collection of essays about Transylvania folklore and legend. He then made Transylvania the setting for Count Dracula’s home as the book simply describes Dracula’s home being a castle that lies high above the forests in the Transylvanian Călimani Alps. There is no proof Stoker actually knew about Castle Bran and it could have been a coincidence.

I personally think they could do way more with that town. Vampires and stuff like that are big bucks, especially in the entertainment industry. Overall, Transylvania offers a real look into Romania’s early history and relations with the rest of Western and Eastern Europe. The Castle is well-preserved and offers a look in pre-modern Romanian daily life.

Grrrrrrrrrrrr……

Travel Tips:

  • Transylvania is a 6 hour drive away from Bucharest. You can get there by tour bus or renting a car.
  • There’s lots of restaurants in Transylvania to relax and view the city. Sadly we didn’t have that much time.
  • There are tour guides all day in the castle

Happy Travels,

Bee

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