Bran Castle is a historical and architectural monument located in Bran-Rucar, 30 km from Brasov.
A document issued by King Ludovic I of Hungary (1342-1382) on November 17, 1377 in Zvolen confirms to the Saxons of Braşov the right to raise, according to the promise, at their expense and with their craftsmen, a new stone fortress at Bran.
On this occasion, the king promises to the people of Brasov that if “Tara Romaneasca” remains on his own hands, the custom will be moved from Rucar(Ruffa Arbor) to Bran.
The reference of the text of the 1377 document with the name of a “new stone fortress” allows the deduction that the stone fortification to be built on this place was preceded by an older boundary reinforcement. This fortress, probably made of wood, and build by the knights templars between 1211 – 1225. The fortress is attributed to the magistre Theodorikus. In the thirteenth century, the territory of the Bran fortress was submitted to the jurisdiction of the royal county of Alba Iulia.
In 1395, Sigismud de Luxemburg, german emperor and king of Hungary, used Bran Castle as a strategic base for a foray in Tara Romaneasca and after he removed Prince Vlad Uzurpator, the rival of Mircea cel Batran, his vassal.
Bran in the Josephine Map of Transylvania, 1769-1773.
In 1407, Sigismud offers to Mircea the Bran Castels and Bologa. Bran remains under the authority of Tara Romaneasca until 1419.
In 1427, the Bran Castle moved from propery of chair of Brasov in the one of the Crown of Hungary, which financed the fortification and expansion works. In 1498, the fortress of Bran was rented by the Hungarian kingdom to Brasov Château.
In 1920, the City Council of Brasov donated the castle of the Queen Maria of Romania, as a sign of gratitude for its contribution to the realization of the Great Union. At Queen’s death in 1938, the castle was inherited by her favorite daughter, Princess Ileana, who was married to a member of the former Habsburg imperial family.
After 1948, Bran Castle was nationalized and became the property of the Romanian state. The castle has been open to public visits since 1956, being arranged as a museum of history and feudal art.
In 1987, Bran Castle entered the restoration, finished in 1993. The castle reopens as a museum and renters the tourist circuit.
On 18 may 2006, after a period of legal proceedings, the castle was legally returned to Habsburg family. However, the Romanian state, through the Ministry of Culture, will also administer it over the next three years.
On June 1 2009, the castle falls into the possession of Princess Ileana: Archduke Dominic of Habsburg, Archduke Maria Magdalena Holzhausen and Archduke Elisabeth Sandhofer.
Bran Castle is located less than 30 km from Brasov, on the road that starts from the old Bartolomeu neighborhood and connects Braşov de Campulung. Bran Castle is built on a rock, at a key strategic point.
At present, the collections of furniture, suits, weapons and armor are exhibited in the four-story museum, and the Bran also includes the Royal Park with its two lakes, the Tea House, the Administrator’s House and the Princess’s House Ileana.
In 2000 Bran Castle was claimed by the Archduke Dominic of Habsburg and his sisters, Maria Magdalena Holzhausen and Elisabeth Sandhofer, the heirs of Princess Ileana, from whom the castle was formerly owned by the state in 1948.
In May 2006, they became the owners of the castle and the related domain, following a governmental restitution decision.
The Romanian state preserved the administration of the castle for another 3 years until 18 May 2009. Prior to the restitution, the Ministry of Culture ordered the relocation of collections belonging to the Romanian state from the Bran Castle to the Medieval Customs.
In order to reopen the museum, the Habsburg family rented the castle with objects from the personal collection. The official reopening of the museum took place on 1 June 2009.