Brasov, Romania is home to what is left of Poenari Castle. These ruins sit high on a mountain peak and have a gorgeous Romanian view for visitors to enjoy. But travelers don’t come to this castle for its view, but for its connection to history’s most famous vampire, Dracula.
Now, before I continue, I am sure that most of you are raising a red flag and thinking “Oh no! Bran Castle is Dracula’s castle!” Well according to sources, Bran Castle is more popular with tourists (partly due to it being fully intact), but it actually has very little connection with Dracula.
Bram Stoker’s famous novel is fiction, but ever since he published Dracula in 1897 the world has been looking to Transylvania (in modern central Romania) as Count Dracula’s home, the home of a vampire. But the truth is, Stoker never visited Eastern Europe and his famous character is only very loosely based on a real 15th-century prince.
Vlad Dracula was born in 1431 and died in 1476. He ruled Wallachia, which was south of Transylvania. The reality is that he was military leader that was a hero to his people. He may have a reputation for being cruel and bloodthirsty, but that’s due partly to lies that were spread by his enemies. Doesn’t sound like much Stoker’s Dracula, does it? Yet in spite of that, people still visit Dracula’s castle all because of the famous novel.
Poenari Castle, once home to Dracula, is by no means a tourist trap like Bran Castle. You visit Bran and you are swarmed with vampire themed knickknacks, displays on Bram Stoker and Vlad and so much more. Funny thing is that Dracula never actually lived there, him and his armies used the castle for a short time, but it wasn’t really their home. Yet vampire fans flock to Bran castle instead of Poenari. Why? Because the folks that run Bran Castle milk the vampire theme as much as they can, which earns them plenty of tourists. Also, Bran Castle is located in a very convenient, easy to reach location, while Poenari Castle is incredibly difficult to get to. On top of that, Poenari Castle isn’t an intact castle like Bran, it’s in ruins and there’s not too much to see there.
So, while Poenari Castle is more historically accurate, Bran Castle has all the goods. If you’re a history lover and you want a peaceful trip to beautiful ruins and don’t mind walking up over a thousand steps, visit Poenari Castle. If you want an easy trip to a vampire themed castle with lots to see and lots of crowds, visit Bran Castle.
Personally, I’d love to see both of them. Bran Castle may not actually be Dracula’s castle, but it’s still a beautiful and ancient castle full of history.