We took a daytrip from the medieval city of Brasov to visit some of the castles in the region. Our first stop was Peles Castle, nestled in the Bucegi Mountains in the town of Sinaia. This was the summer home of King Carol I. Finished in 1883, the castle was built with the notion that it would later become a museum for others to enjoy. This was evident walking through it; each room was lavishly decorated and overall really cool to see. There were tons of details throughout all of the rooms that made it interesting to walk through.
Our next stop was the infamous “Dracula’s” castle. Surrounded by and air of mystery and perched upon a high rock, the castle is an imposing sight. The character of Dracula is thought to have drawn inspiration from Vlad Tepes, ruler of Wallachia and otherwise known as “Vlad the Impaler.” Vlad was most known for his brutal nature and is famous for impaling the bodies of his enemies, the Ottomans, on large spikes and lining roads with them to scare off anyone else thinking to attack him. Although there are many rumors and myths that Bran Castle was the home of Vlad the Impaler, and therefore “Dracula”, historians now seem to agree that Vlad never actually set foot in the castle. Despite this, Romania capitalized on the stories and marketed the castle as connected to Vlad and Dracula to draw in tourists. This worked, with tons of people visiting now every year, and the castle grounds were filled with stores selling kitschy Dracula-themed souvenirs. While the outside of the castle was striking, the inside was much barer as it was primarily used for fortification and protection rather than being the home of royalty.
The last place we visited was Rasnov Fortress. Located 650 ft up in the Carpathian Mountains, this was different from the other places we visited as it was more of a fortified village. From 1331, the fortress was built by Teutonic Knights for protection from invading Tartar armies. The place was later enlarged by local Saxons and used as a place of refuge for extended periods of time. Inside the walls were many houses, a school, a chapel, and other buildings typical of villages during that time.