Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Castle of the Week: Bran Castle in Transylvania

Welcome to another rousing addition of Castle of the Week! In honor of our week of spooky posts, I bring you Bran Castle in Romania--commonly referred to as Dracula's Castle...

The castle is located on the border of Transylvania and Wallachia. The first fortress dates back to 1211, built by the Teutonic Knights, but they were driven away by 1226. In 1377, Hungarian King Louis the Great (Louis I of Anjou), approved the construction of Bran Castle, and the building was completed by 1388. The castle was occupied by a lord whom the king appointed in order to protect the area and borders.

Why is it named Dracula's castle? Because Vlad the Impaler (aka Prince Vlad III of Wallachia), son of Vlad II Dracul) was allies with the princes of Transylvania and they requested that he handle the resistance at the border. He inhabited the castle from roughly 1448 to 1476. But... Vlad would later attacked the city's suburbs and murdered hundreds. He gained the nickname by impaling his enemies on pikes. He was assassintaded shortyly into his third reign, 1477. See the video of the week for a bit more on Vlad...

The castle was leased to the Princes of Transylvania (Saxons of Brasov) from King Vladislav II Jagello, for a couple hundred years, and then was sold in 1651. By 1920, the castle became the royal residence for within the Kingdom of Romania. Today the castle is owned by its legal heirs.

The book, Dracula, by Bram Stoker, was published in 1892, and based off of myths and folklore, and in particular vampires and Transylvania. It was not the first vampire book published, but certainly the most popular. The name Dracula stems from Vlad the Impaler's father's name, Darcul, which he took after being inducted into the Order of the Dragon. Dracul, meant The Dragon, but more specifically today, it means The Devil.

I would LOVE to visit this castle one day! Here are some pics...

Bran Castle

Looking up at Bran Castle
A cross in the gardens.
A view from the inside of the castle looking down onto the village.

A secret passageway in the castle.

**Photos courtesy of Wikipedia.

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