Posh Peles castle and simple Dracula’s Bran castle in Romania
Peles castle Romania
- Peles castle was the summer residence of the President while Anthenaeum was the winter one. Now the Romanian Anthenaeum is a museum and the most important symphonic hall in Romania.
- The castle was named after the Peles river from which they were taking water to the castle and heating it up with fire. The course of the river was changed during the castle building period.
- Before, this area was kind of empty. Just German ethnics were living here for some time. Once they left empty houses here, the gypsies took over these houses so there are many gypsy villages around.
- Around we can see many German looking buildings as the area developed after the Peles castle was built here by a German Royal family.
- They started to build the Peles castle in 1873 and it was finally finished in 1914. It had hot running water system, electricity, central vacuum system and hydro power which is very surprising for that period in Romania.
- Approx. 90% of the things inside the castle now are original with many original painting replicas. The style of the houses close by is similar to the castle style.
- In 1947 everything here was confiscated by the communists who sent the Royal family to exile. Later on the castle and the land were given back to the family but everything inside now belongs to the Romanian Government.
- During the communist era, the castle was closed for restoration and opened for tourists in 1990.
- The fire places were all fake as the King was afraid that the smoke wold destroy the building.
- The family proposed to many Royal families to be accepted and so they were. They had a lot of money to develop the area.
- The King was Catholic, his Queen was protestant and their daughter was Orthodox and she died out of fever when she was just 4 years old. So they adopted a boy to make him a king.
- The main welcoming hall in the castle is where the king would welcome his guests. It used to be a yard for many years. Now you push a button or you can manually open the fresco glass roof.
- The castle was built in stages enlarging the building as money was not a problem for the family. It consists of more than 160 rooms.
- Obviously, the King had a crush on wood as it’s all made of wooden pieces inside. Spiral staircase is just for decoration. 14 different woods were used in the castle.
- King’s second love were weapons and we can see a big collection of them in the Peles castle; mostly from Europe, such as some decorative weapons from German, Austria, Spain, Turkey. A big horse and knight statue is from the 14th century.
- The sword was used to head off noble people. Now it is hanging above a fire place.
- The Peles castle has a wooden library but many books were removed and only around 400 books in different languages are kept here. Both the King and Queen spoke several languages. The King Carol I needed just 10 months to speak Romanian language. Books written in many languages in the library. As the Queen had some Russian roots, she also spoke Russian (one language more than the King.)
- There’s a secret door in the library to have direct connection with spiral staircase headed to King’s bedroom.
- Before Carol I, Romania fought against Germany so when this King was alive, Romania was a neutral country. Once he died, the fight against Germany started again.
- There’s an important room in the castle where the neutral agreement was signed at.
- The room with nice chandeliers was decorated in Murano style. The mirror is too high so the Royal family could look into the roof painting. You cannot see yourself in the mirror.
- Another things to admire in the peles castle are the Moorish room with Moorish chandeliers; a crying fountain and hidden door which led to billiard.
- Smoking room only for men (also smoked shisha!)
- The elevator was only used by the King and the Queen. It has a sofa inside even though there are just 3 floors to go up.
- Now we can find a small cinema room inside the castle with a painting by the Austrian symbolist Gustav Klimt.
- The neo-Renaissance Peles castle looks very modern, very German and most of all very fancy. Exactly the opposite of the Bran castle we visited just after.
Bran castle in Romania
- Bran castle is the famous Dracula’s castle situated close to Bran town.
- The actual owners removed all the original furniture from the inside as they were afraid the tourists would damage it (they were all replaced by new replicas) which is why the Bran castle is an old empty fort now.
- The horror Bran castle in Romania is situated in Transylvania region (the name transylva means across mountains.) It was built for protection. Nowadays it is a pretty poor citadel located right at the border in between two out of three initial countries – Wallachia and Transylvania (the latter one was part of Austria Hungary territory while the former one was a separate country in the past.)
- The castle walls are covered with written words.
- Althought the Bran castle is known all around the world as the Dracula’s castle, Dracula Vlad the Impaler never lived in the castle. There are only a few stories connected to the castle.
- Once the Bram Stoker‘s Dracula novel was written, it started to attract many visitors as the castle looks like the description in the book.
- But Vlad III lived at the Old Fortress in the centre of Bucharest – the one we visited with Vlad’s statue just next to that beautiful church a few days before going to the Bran castle.
- Nowadays different exhibitions are organised here, such as the old photos we saw.
- It is believed that the Bran castle was built in the beginning/middle of the 13th century once the wooden castle there burnt in fire. It was built or by the Teutonic knights or by peasants for protection. The first documented mentioning is from 1377, though.
- The castellans were the leaders of the castle here since 1300 till 1898.
- The Queen Marie rediscovered the fort in 1920 after it was abandoned since 1898. She liked the castle so much that her heart was taken out of her chest once she died and buried here. During her life she collected a couple of objects and furniture which are now displayed at the castle.
- The castle served as hospital in the WWII and since 1956 it’s been a public museum visited by approx. half million of tourists per year.
- Comparing to the posh Peles castle there is not that much to see inside but the place definitely has a dramatic feel to it. What we can see now are white walls with interesting heavy wooden or metal doors, a different fire place in every room, some photos, descriptions, beds and weapons.
- There’s a little pond from where you can get the best view of the whole Bran castle.
- At the entrance to the Bran castle you can find an open-ai museum park with traditional Romanian peasant structures.
- Now the Bran castle belongs to Princess Ileana, a descendant of the last owner, but it’s for sale. Do you happen to have spare $135 million to haunt foreign visitors? 🙂
Frozen after the Bran castle visit we hopped on the van again driving to Brasnov town.
On the way we saw the Rasnov citadel located above Rasnov village not far from the Bran castle. It was also built for protection purposes only and nowadays massive white letters designate its name just underneath. Looks like Romanian Hollywood 🙂
White Brasov name greeted us written on top of a hill same as Rasnov and Hollywood before we entered the town.
Comparing to Bucharest, Brasov is a very relaxing town. People are not so busy in here and you can feel the quieter way of life even when walking around town.
With around 250,000 inhabitants, the city centre still felt like a village … maybe because it was so cold? 🙂
I wish we had more time to explore Brasov as I fell in love with it at first sight. All the colorful buildings made me feel like a princess in a fairytale!
Brasov became known for it Gothic church which might be the biggest church in Southeastern Europe. Now the Church of Saint Mary is called Black church as it’s of much darker color than it used to be when it was built. Originally this Roman-Catholic church transformed into the largest Lutheran church.
The History Museum of town is located at the main square; also many restaurants, coffee shops, and souvenir shops.
In 2020 Brasov will host the winter Olympics.