Must Visit Places If You’re A Goth: Bran Castle, Romania

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bran castle

If you’re getting fed up with Whitby twice a year and the thought of rocking up at a Steampunk weekend instead surrounded with all that brown really sickens you, then why not venture afield (while we still can from the UK) and take in some true Gothic culture (after all, the Victorians got everywhere and even beyond Brighton.)

In this new series, I uncover the darkest, Gothic places, buildings and dwellings which are seeped in mystery, death, angst and well, a lot of distraught lives, lost, loves never forgotten and just about anything else suited for Goth lovers everywhere.

 

In this post, we take a trip to Bran Castle, the home of Dracula, Romania

 

Take a trip to Bran Castle.

Ok, the most well read of us Goths will know it’s nestled in Transylvania in Romania and is the setting for Irish author, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which, as we all know, was written in Whitby in 1897, while he visited the town.

It is thought that the novel was a deep expression of his own private life and of those closest to him, one of which, was Oscar Wilde. During a time when expression of one’s own alternative interests were repressed in society, it was no wonder that such cultural iconic works rose to the surface.

 

Why visit it?

Without stating the obvious link here (You are an intelligent Goth, so I won’t insult you,) this Medieval fortress is a landmark not only in Romanian history but in European history with a timeline that dates back to the 13th Century.

It has played audience to some of the most prolific events in social history – wars, battles, conflicts, downfalls, royal residence, Saxon invasions, WW2, the list is endless. It is one of the few remaining buildings that can safely say it is has seen both the darker and lighter sides of man over almost the last 1000 years.

It does come of course, with its own myths and legends which are not even remotely true. But then again, true stories of not, this castle draws thousands of visitors to it each year. Why? Because of the mystery of it and of course where it really did have a connection with Vlad the Impaler. Come to Bran and let your imagination run with it.

 

bran castle

 

Bran Castle – where the heck is it?

Just the directions to this iconic building is Gothic enough (and yes, you can imagine trekking up the mountains in a Hanson cab and pony.) The Bran Castle is sited at the entrance to the Rucăr o r the Bran passage, somewhere along the road which connects the town of Braşov (which is about 18 miles from the castle) and Câmpulung. Bran Castle sits proud surrounded by the great high peaks of the Bucegi and the Piatra Craiului Mountains in northern Romania.

 

Celebrating Dracula at Bran Castle.

Without it sounding too over commercial, Bran Castle has played host for many a rendition of the classic Gothic novel over the decades and if you are lucky to be there to witness a performance, then do see them! The love and adoration for Stoker’s works fill this place almost all year round (in between Jazz festivals and family events.)

 

Best times to visit

Go during the slightly warmer, summer months (April to Sept) as the castle during the week is open another 2 hours later a day than it is during the winter. Bear in mind that the castle doesn’t open to the public each day until around midday on a Monday. Great if you want a lie in, in true Dracula style of course.

 

When’s it open?

It boasts as being open 365 days a year and for most highly sought after visitor centres, it is reasonably priced (less than a tenner for each adult) and children under 7 go free (although, they may not be allowed out again.)

 

Where can I stay?

Sadly, you don’t get to stay in the castle, but there are a vast number of ‘mini Bran’ looking hotels around the area to choose from all with delightful names with either the words ‘Bran‘ or ‘Casa‘ in the titles. Click on either of the three links to find somewhere to stay.

Go to the Bran Castle site.

 

 

(All links to sites here are NOT afflilate links. I write for the love of sharing)

 

 

Further reading by The Black Bacarra

Do’s and Don’t’s when buying a Vintage Pocket Watch

Fright Nights: Why I Still Watch Most Haunted

Welcome To The Black Bacarra Blog

Goth Days Out: Fit For A Whipping Boy – The House Of 17th Century Dark Decadence

Goth History Part 2 – The Lost Goth Shop Years

 

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Wells Cathedral, Somerset – Beautiful Gothic Places To Visit

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WELLS CATHEDRALWells Cathedral, Wells, Somerset

Goth points: 5 out of 10.

Free to visit but you can donate a fiver if you want to. You will feel the need to.

Great if you have a dog – I have never been to a Cathedral which was dog friendly before, but in Wells, everyone loves dogs. Your dog will be happy to be here and be welcomed everywhere!

What’s it like? It is supposed to be the earliest example of Gothic church architecture in the UK. A truly Gothic place to visit, quite literally! Built between 12th and the 15th century, it may not have the grimness that many London Gothic places to visit will have, but it is set in a mysterious part of the country which you will want to come back to again and again. Although you will rather get the impression that the place might only have been built in the last 10 years, especially when you’re met by the scissors archway towards the altar. You’ll be scratching your head at it, yet this marvel of a structure has been there for several hundred years. It’s cool.  Dark areas? Not so many but you will love creeping up the warped stone staircase towards the

Medieval village and streets are wistful to walk around, especially on a warm summer’s evening or in the late Autumn. Best bits: Go to Vicar’s Close – the oldest habitual street in the world (or at least, Europe!) Cobbled and full of mystery it was originally built for the choir of the cathedral so that they would have a short walk to their place of worship without being distracted by the outside world!

Next reads: Gothic Places to Vist – Hampton Court Palace

 

 

Hampton Court, Surrey

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Home of Henry VIII (once Cardinal Wolsey was out-of-the-way) and venue for his marriage to Katherine Parr on the morning of the 12 July 1543. As the sixth wife of the aging King, she made a shrewd move to marry the monarch. encouraging the King to make peace with Mary and Elizabeth, his daughters, Katherine proved herself every bit of the doting Queen required by her Lord and country.

Goth points:

Hampton Court gets a sturdy 7 out of 10. Arrive here after dark (last entry is as late at 4.15pm) on a miserable stormy day and you get the full effect of impending darkness which cloaks the dimly lit palace in each of the royal rooms. Sadly Henry’s quarters are no more, but you can still enjoy a Gothy wander around the richly dressed private rooms of William and Mary.

Price:

Best bet is to buy yourself a Historic Royal Palaces membership card so you can get in for nothing as many times as you like throughout the year or as a one off visit, you are likely to buy an adult ticket for just less than £20. The members card will get you into events like the Food Festival (second weekend in December) where you can enjoy a 16th Century market of food and wares.

Best times to visit:

On a miserable wet November afternoon when it is likely to be empty. For the full 16th Century experience, go towards the end of November and beginning of December when the Palace is decked out in candles, orange peel, cinnamon sticks and pine cones. It’s beautiful.

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