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Commonly known as Dracula's Castle, the Bran Castle was originally a stronghold built by the Knights of Teutonic Order in 1212. The first documentary attestation of the Bran Castle is the act issued on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt (Brasov) the privilage to build the Citadel. The building started in 1378 as a defense against Turks and later became a customs post on the pass between Transylvania and Wallachia. From 1920 the castle became a royal residence until the expulsion of the royal family in 1948. On 1st October 1950, the Bran Castle was declared a historical monument. Today it functions as a very attractive museum of medieval arts.
Bran Castle, situated between the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains, 30 km far from Brasov, is the only touristic point that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists because of a legend: Count Dracula’s Legend, although the historical sources state that Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) dropped by only once, in his way to Brasov.
Initially, the Bran Castle (in Slavic „brana” means „gate”) was a stronghold known as Dietrichstein, built by the Teutonic Knights in 1212, stronghold that was conquered by the Saxons living in Transylvania towards the end of the 13th century. The first documentary attestation dates from 1377, when Ludovic I D’Anjou gave the inhabitants of Brasov the privilege to build the citadel in the place of the old stronghold. Then, between 1419 and 1424, it was in Sigismund’s possession.
At the end of the 15th century, it was subordinated to the authority of the Szeklers Committee, and since the reign of Iancu of Hunedoara, it passed under the rule of the Voivode of Transylvania.
On 1st December 1920, the Bran Castle was donated to Queen Marie of Great Romania, as a symbol of the inhabitants of Brasov’s gratitude for her contribution to the achievement of the Great Union of 1918. Right after that, the Castle came into a seven year restoration period under the guidance of the Royal Court architect, Carol Liman. He imagined the architectural ensemble as a summer residence. During the same period of time the Tea House was also built. During this restoration works, the Castle was supplied with running water from a 57 meters depth fountain dig up in a rock and lighted by a turbine electric power plant. Later, in 1932, the Bran, Simon and Moeciu villages were lighted on from this electric power plant. Then, in 1938, Queen Marie left with will the Bran Castle to Princess Ileana, who owned it until 1948.