Bran Castle and Rasnov Fortress Romania

Bran Castle

Bran Castle is the notorious castle that Bram Stoker used as a model for his legendary character, Count Dracula. Although Vlad Tepes never actually lived in this 13th-century castle, it is thought that the invading Hungarians did briefly hold him in the castle’s prison. This being said, the castle was a regular summer residence of Romania’s Queen Marie. Although people with whom we spoke and blogs we have read convinced us that our time could be better spent in Peles Castle, we did feel that it was at least worth the short detour (short, at least, until we discovered the road was under construction, which entailed long delays) to catch a view of the castle.

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Beneath the castle, the town capitalizes on its eponymous tourist draw by turning its square into an outdoor marketplace where dozens of vendors display and sell embroidery and a number of other tourist products.

Bran market 02

Rasnov Fortress

We made another quick stop at Rasnov Fortress which originated as a Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement. Expanded over the centuries into a village, the Saxons built a small fortified chapel on the site in the early 14th century. After frequent attacks, it was expanded over the next several decades into a fortified borough with approximately 80 cottages that housed homes, shops, workshops, a school and its own 140 meter-deep well to allow the fortress to withstand long sieges. In use through the early 18th century, it is now a National Monument that is at least partially supported by tourist shops that operate out of many of the remaining structures.

Rasnov-school_thumbRasnov-01_thumbRasnov-06_thumb

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