Famous Romanian castle welcomes half a million visitors in a year

Over half a million people visited last year a famous castle in Romania which has been often linked to the myth of Dracula, making it one of the most visited touristic spots in the country.

The Bran Castle in Brasov county, Central Romania, welcomed 540,000 visitors in 2014, more than half of whom were foreigners. The castle saw the number of visitors going up by 9% throughout the year compared to 2013, said Alexandru Prișcu, management representative with the castle.

Events organized in the castle, such as music events, exhibitions or themed events helped it attract more tourists, so the management plans to continue organizing them in 2015.

Bran Castle, now under private ownership, used to be a Romanian patrimony building until 2009, when it was recovered by archduke Dominic de Habsburg and his sisters Maria Magdalena Holzhausen and Elisabeth Sandhofer. They decided to keep it open to the public.

Bran Castle is often associated with the legend of Count Dracula, although the castle has little connection with the historical figure Vlad Tepes, who is one of the inspirations for the vampire legends. The impressive Medieval castle was built towards the end of the 14th Century by the Brasov Saxons in the same area as an earlier, wooden fortress, which was destroyed in the mid-13th Century by invading Mongols. Bran Castle is at the old frontier between Wallachia and Transylvania and guards a vital route through the mountains. Bran played an important role in the battles between the Ottoman Turks and European kingdoms and principalities throughout the Middle Ages.

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