Bran Castle

Novel Dracula Bram Stoker (1920)
The legend surrounding the intimidating Bran Castle has long been linked to Vlad Tepes. A historical figure himself surrounded by a halo of mystery, suspected of being a vampire, whose route would have led him to this castle, in the heart of the Carpathians. Vlad Tepes which Bram Stoker used to create Dracula.
Bran Castle
Bran Castle - Credit: Dobre Cezar, CC BY-SA 3.0 RO , via Wikimedia Commons

“Suddenly, I became conscious of the fact that the driver was in the act of pulling up the horses in the courtyard of a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light,and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the sky.”

Jonathan Harker

If historians, vampirism specialists and Vlad Tepes specialists have been debating for decades about Bran’s castle and Dracula, it is because no official document has ever been able to prove that the prince known for his barbaric methods had really stayed within the walls of the building.

In Bram Stoker’s novel, the castle of the master of vampires is located on the Borgo Pass, in another region of Transylvania. However, in Borgo, no castle corresponds to the description that the writer delivers in Dracula. Bran’s castle, on the other hand, seems to perfectly embody the ruined building in which Jonathan Harker arrives at the beginning of the story imagined by Bram Stoker. In the region, tourist guides also claim that Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad III the Impaler, would have stopped in Bran after being deposed from the Wallachian throne. The mystery remains to this day but legends have taken on the task of filling in the gaps, sometimes based on the work of Bram Stoker.

On the side of the writer’s heirs, Bran also has everything of the perfect Dracula castle. Dacre Stoker, the great-nephew of Bram Stoker, author of the only official Dracula sequel, having attempted in 2016, with the help of a group of investors, to make the monument the focal point of a Dracula village, in order to attract tourists yet already present in numbers year round.

Bram Stoker began writing his future masterpiece around 1887. For ten years, based on the story of Vlad Tepes, from whom he borrows his nickname, he tells the story of Jonathan Harker, a young London notary clerk whose life is turned upside down after he meets a dark character with a dark agenda.

By creating Dracula, this vampire able to submit to his will certain animals, eager for fresh blood and conquest, Bram Stoker changes without knowing it the face of a whole region. Strange as it may seem, the writer has never set foot in Romania. He knows Transylvania only through the books he reads with passion at the Marsh Library in Dublin, multiplying the annotations and scrutinizing all the maps he can find on the region.

It is almost a coincidence that Bran’s castle corresponds with Bram Stoker’s description of Dracula’s home. Even if it is reasonable to think that during his research, the Briton has accumulated information on the monument. After all, Bran, with its rich history, is a must for anyone exploring the past of Romania and especially Transylvania.


Dracula has been the subject of eight adaptations usingthe structure of Bram Stoker and countless other more or less fantastic variations.

Cover of the American edition of Dracula in 1899
Cover of the American edition of Dracula in 1899

Bran Castle

High place of the tourism in Transylvania, the castle of Bran would have according to the legend, been frequented by Vlad the Impaler.

Built in the XIIIth century, mainly out of wood, the castle of Bran takes fire and encourages the king of Hungary Louis Ier to order a new building, more solid, mainly made of stone. Its name comes from the rock on which it is positioned, for strategic purposes. Several times modified and restored as the owners succeeded one another, it is today intimately linked to Count Dracula, although no official document has managed to prove that Vlad the Impaler actually stayed there in his time. Partly open to the public, it overlooks a small village where the image of Dracula is omnipresent.

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By Gilles Rolland

Monday, May 23, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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