Tag Archives: Bran

Among Europe’s top 25 castles

OfftoEurope.com published a top of the most interesting 25 castles in Europe. Subjective, of course, but nonetheless instructive for places to see, many off the beaten track.

To my delight, Romania has two castles in the top 10, and 3 in the top 25. This is remarkable especially since Romania doesn’t have many “internationally competitive” full-fledged medieval castles – the country is much more well-“equipped” with smaller-scale fortresses, ruins, medieval urban and religious architecture. In terms of castles, it is nevertheless about quality, not quantity :): Peles, Bran and Hunedoara are indeed worth international recognition, both in terms of architectural merits as well as the stories around them. What makes Romania really interesting is the context around what you see.

“Italians were masons, Romanians were building terraces, the Gypsies were coolies. Albanians and Greeks worked in stone, Germans and Hungarians were carpenters. Turks were burning brick. Engineers were Polish and the stone carvers were Czech. The Frenchmen were drawing, the Englishmen were measuring, and so was then when you could see hundreds of national costumes and fourteen languages in which they spoke, sang, cursed and quarreled in all dialects and tones, a joyful mix of men, horses, cart oxen and domestic buffaloes.”

(Excerpt from the journal of Queen Elisabeth of Romania, about the Peles construction site. Source: good old wikipedia.)

See the whole European castles ranking here. You will want to pack your bags at once and do a road trip to see all of them. For more details on the Romanian ones, don’t hesitate to ask.

p.s. thanks takeda for the reference.

Brand Dracula – to be, or not to be

Romanian tourism minister Elena Udrea recently declared that she will not include the brand “Dracula” in the Romanian tourism development strategy (Google English translation of the article, here).

Her point of view got endorsed by the owner of the castle, Duke Dominic of Habsburg, who made a similar statement (translation here).

None of the above statements mention anything about any evaluation or analysis they might have done on what the “brand Dracula” actually represents, or maybe how much it is “worth” – e.g., Read more of this post