Visiting Bran Castle, Transylvania – An iPhone Adventure

This is the third in my series of my Eastern European locations I visited and captured on my iPhone, and it is the one place I got to that wasn’t somehow work related.  Bran Castle is said to be the castle that Bram Stoker based Dracula’s castle upon, and as expected, it is located in Transylvania, Romania.  This part of the country was very different from the area I had just come from, around Constanta, on the coast of the Black Sea.  Travelling for about six hours the land changed from beaches and flat prairie to rolling, lush, green hills and mountains.  Perched high up on a hilltop was the imposing Bran Castle.

old castle in Transylvania
Dracula’s (Bran) Castle

I arrived in the evening after the castle was closed so I took a walk around outside the iron fence that separated the property from the public streets.  Night photography, especially at a distance, is not the forte of smartphone cameras, but I did manage to capture in interesting view of the castle at night.

an evil face can be seen in the rock face of Dracula's Castle
Bran Castle Has A Sinister Look At Night

The next day I was able to tour the castle and was impressed with the access that was available to it.  There were many rooms spread over about four floors that had a variety of artifacts, clothing, etc spanning several centuries.  The views from the castle were equally impressive and as it is perched high on the hill, you are able to see clearly in any direction.

the view of modern roads from an ancient castle
Looking Out Back Of Bran Castle

There are many interesting features in the castle, including a ‘secret’ stairway that leads from the first to third floor and apparently access to the fourth floor was once by removable ladder.  The secret stairway is fairly steep and so narrow that I had to walk at a slight angle as when I stood square on, my shoulders & arms were wedged against the walls. Even with some modern lights in the ceiling the stairway was dark and erie… It doesn’t take much to think what it would have been like when the only lighting was the candle or lantern you were carrying.

a narrow secret passage leading up stairs in Dracula's castle
A Secret Stairway in Bran Castle

The castle also holds five rooms full of medieval torture devices and while I’ve seen a lot during my life, including some pretty horrible things, some of these devices and tortures were so vile that it is hard to imagine how anyone could ever come up with them.  Times were certainly different when they were used, but if that was accepted practice back then it is incredible that we, as humanity, have survived this long.  I will not describe or depict the torture devices, save one.  I am not sure exactly what it was used for (there were a few similar models), as unlike most of the other items on display, it seemed to be more for humiliation than inflicting pain or torture. Even still, I chose to present the image in a painterly manner rather than an ordinary photograph.

pig shaped iron mask that bolts on to a human head
Mask From The Torture Display At Bran Castle

Upon leaving the castle I wandered around some of the grounds, below.  I believe there were four floors that the public have access to and countless rooms in them.  It was quite impressive.  Looking up the hill at the castle, there are at least four floors visible and probably more in the tower.  As I walked around the grounds I noticed another secret that the castle held… a doorway at the base of the hill… way down from the ground floor of the castle.  It makes me wonder if this is simply an escape route, down another narrow stairway like the one I went up earlier, or if it also leads to subterranean levels that the public doesn’t have access to.  I would be surprised if this wasn’t the case.  Seems to me that such secret levels would have suited Dracula just fine.

a door at the base of the hill to Dracula's Castle
Secret Escape or Passage to Secret Subterranean Chambers

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