Castles & Fortresses of RomaniaBRAN CASTLE Beyond the legends of Dracula, Bran Castle is a stupendous landmark, rising between the ridges of the Carpathians, along an old road between Wallachia and Transylvania. Standing before the mighty walls and towers that seem to grow from the rocky outcrop, we might expect dragons flying about and knights watching the valley from the ramparts! Probably one of the most iconic and popular destinations of Romania, the castle of Bran has become a symbol for travelers coming from around the world to meet the mythical count Dracula. Bran Castle is located about 30 km to the southwest of Brașov, at the northern end of the Rucăr-Bran Pass and between the mountains of Bucegi and Piatra Craiului. The castle used to guard the border between Transylvania and Wallachia, being built upon a steep rock in the narrow part of the valley. It later became the royal residence of Queen Mary of Romania, while today it continues to fascinate visitors over six centuries after it was built. While many of its original treasures have been moved to the nearby Bran National Museum after it was ceded back to the heirs of the royal family, the castle still manages to capture the imagination and create a feeling of traveling back in time. PELEȘ CASTLE The magnificent symbol of Romanian royalty and one of the most alluring castles of the world, Peleș appears to us like a magical illusion in the middle of the Carpathian woodland. Equally enticing and graceful both on the outside and the inside, the castle itself and the surrounding grounds create a fairytale experience where we can discover the treasures and stories of the royal Romanian legacy! The castle of Peleș rises at the foot of Bucegi Mountains, in a small meadow surrounded by forests, a place that was chosen by king Carol I of Romania. While it was once just a village on the road between Bucharest and Brașov, the settlement around the castle grounds gradually became the elegant town and mountain resort of Sinaia. For many years, Peleș Castle became the favorite summer residence of the Romanian royal family, with many important historical events and personalities passing through the castle. Today, it houses the Peleș National Museum and it belongs once again to the royal family. Peleș Castle is considered a marvelous mix of neo-Renaissance and neo-Gothic elements, with a touch of romanticism. Designed and built by a multicultural group of craftsmen and workers, including the famous Karel Liman, it has countless unique and impressive characteristics. CORVINS CASTLE The first sight of the castle is also the most lasting, with its massive silhouette rising atop a solitary cliff, with the long bridge over a deep ravine and its strong towers breaching the sky. If it was not for the gloomy modern buildings around, we might even get carried away into the past, expecting mounted knights to appear over the bridge! It is easy to imagine this place several centuries ago, when life in medieval Romania revolved around the next war or battle on the horizon. Corvins Castle of Hunedoara is one of those places that seem to rise from the depth of time, a magnificent link between old legends and historical facts. One of the most impressive medieval castles in Europe, it is a truly magnificent monument that stood the test of time for over five centuries to tell countless stories of great leaders and legendary battles. The castle is located on the outskirts of the city of Hunedoara, in the southwestern part of Transylvania. It was built starting with the 15th century, upon the ruins of an older, 14th century fortress. Each new transformation created the Gothic medieval jewel that awes us today, with its massive crenelated walls, strong towers, halls and cellars. RUPEA FORTRESS Once completely ruined and abandoned, the majestic fortress of Rupea rises once again above the surrounding hills. We can now see the old fortress returned to its former glory, guarding the road between Brașov and Sighișoara! Enveloping a tall hill like the shell of a giant snail, the ramparts of Rupea Fortress dominate the surrounding region in southeastern Transylvania, some 50 km north from Brașov, on the way to Sighișoara. We can spot the imposing silhouette of the stronghold from afar, located close to the European road that passes close to the village of Rupea. The sight of the Rupea Fortress driving by and the panoramas from within towards the surrounding hills are truly spectacular. Its four courtyards are defended by tall walls and guard towers, each one allowing access to the higher area. Countless stories that took place behind these walls, generations that lived or found shelter within the old fortress can still be felt within. mogoșoaia Palace Bearing the marks of its troubled past, this magnificent architectural jewel once hosted lavish feasts and remarkable guests from Romania and beyond. A favorite weekend getaway for the people of Bucharest, the old palace is alive once again, this time boasting with children’s laughter and the whispers of lovers strolling its alleys! Located just about 15 kilometers northwest from Bucharest, with easy access from the city, the palace of Mogoșoaia and its extensive domain sits on the shore of a splendid lake. We can thus discover a piece of the past by visiting this architectural jewel dating from the beginning of the 18th century and built by Constantin Brâncoveanu, ruler of Wallachia. Once a flourishing princely residence, the palace now houses a fascinating collection of art and is a wonderful leisure destination for those who visit Bucharest! Râșnov Fortress Guardian and refuge during dark times, the fortress built by the ancestors of local peasants has endured the passing of time and still rises proud from its steep rock at the foot of the mountains, with the old walls and towers embracing the little medieval houses and workshops within! One of the oldest settlements in this part of the country, Râșnov was first mentioned in 1331 and became a town in 1427. The inhabitants of the medieval town began building the fortress on top of the steep hill during the 14th century. It is the best preserved peasant fortress of Transylvania, with an area of about 3.500 square meters. It withstood various attacks and sieges, being occupied just once without a fight by the prince of Transylvania, Gabriel Bathory. It was bought back a year later by the Saxons of the area. A place of refuge for centuries, the fortress has a strategic location, on top of a steep hill, with only one entrance from the east. It has two courtyards, with the exterior one surrounded by a strong stone wall and a few towers. The upper fortress is also surrounded by a wall and towers, surrounding the various structures within, including houses, workshops, a chapel and a school. Deva Fortress Seemingly floating above the valley of Mureș from its solitary rock that rises at the core of the modern city, the fortress guarding the gates of Transylvania for seven centuries offers today an exciting journey into the past of the region and spectacular views of the surounding area! The fortress of Deva is located in the northern part of the city by the same name, capital of the Hunedoara County. It was built by the king of Hungary Bela IV in the 12th century after the great Tatar invasion. Still, there are archaeological finds that attest the existence of an even older fortification on this spot. Perched on top of a volcanic rock that rises almost 400 meters above the valley of Mureș river, it was first mentioned in 1269 and became the residence of the Transylvanian prices and the Hunedoara counts. Deva was one of the most powerful fortresses in Transylvania up until the 19th century, when it began to lose its military role. The walls and inner spaces have been thoroughly renovated in the last decades and we can once again admire the three courtyards of the fortress, with the structures of the palace, bastions, towers, ramparts and storage spaces still visible.