Bran Castle was originally built as a stronghold by the Teutonic Knights in 1212.
In 1377, the 19th of November, Louis I of Anjou gave to the inhabitans from Brasov the right to build the Bran Citadel: "unforced and uncompelled, but by free will they generously and unanimously promised to built a new fort in Bran, to make it through their own efforts and spendings and to cut the forest across and along."
The castle was first used in defense against the Ottomans, and later became a customs post on the mountain pass between Transylvania and Wallachia.
On December 1st 1920, the people from Brasov - through the voice of their mayor, Mr. Karl Schnell - have given the castle as a present to the Romanian royal family, in whose possession the castle remained for the next twenty seven years.
It was arranged by Queen Maria into a most romantic castles: the old garret became the fourth floor, the old cylindrical tower with defense gallery became an apartment, Gothic stone arches framed the entrance doors, stairs and boarded floors were rebuilt.
After being restored in the late 1980s and following the end of communist rule in Romania, it gained popularity as a tourist attraction known as "Dracula's Castle" having little connection with the life of Prince Vlad, being mainly associated with the Transylvanian vampire due to its architecture and location.
In May 2006, the castle was returned to Princess Ileana's son, New York architect Archduke Dominic Habsburg. He pledged to keep it open as a museum until 2009.
In recent years, the castle - complete with occasional glimpses of bats flying around its ramparts at twilight - has attracted filmmakers looking for a dramatic backdrop for films about Dracula and other horror movies. Some 450,000 people visit the castle every year.