Situated in a beautiful valley, at the foot of the Carpathian mountains, the village of Bran used to be a medieval border passing point between Transylvania and Wallachia. The local castle was build by the merchants of Brasov in 1377 on top of a rock, in order to ensure a permanent control of the border. Between 1412 and 1419 the castle was owned by Mircea the Old (grandfather of Vlad the Impeller / Dracula) and by his son Mihai. Between 1622 and 1615, the fortification was enlarged and two new defense towers were build. The castle remained in the possession of the city of Brasov until 1922, when it was offered as a present to the Romanian royal family, which further on refurbished it partially until 1930 when it was declared a historical monument. Queen Mary, which loved the castle and it's surroundings very much, even more than the luxurious Pelisor castle from Sinaia, asked in her will to have her heart buried in a chapel just below the castle. Her body lies in the Royal tomb at Curtea de Arges.
Today, the castle houses an interesting museum of medieval art and history, as well as decorative art from the 14-19th century. In the park in front of the castle, a beautiful open air ethnographical museum displays objects of housing and manufacturing of the region.
Bran castle became the trade mark of "Dracula's castle" as Bela Lugosi made the first Dracula movie within it's walls. Besides the similar location of the castle to the real castle of Dracula at Poienari, and the fact that it was owned for some time by the grand father of Vlad the Impeller, Bran castle has actually no connection to the historical figure of Vlad the Impeller or to the fictional Dracula.