Our travel agency, Beyond Dracula, thoughtfully provided us protective armour for venturing into the realm of the vampire.
Bran Castle Bran Castle is popularly believed outside Romania to be the hangout of Count Dracula, but there is no reason to believe Bram Stoker, author of the 1897 horror novel Dracula, had this place in mind.
Bran Castle The fortress overlooks Bran Gorge, the only practical route through the mountains for an army bent on attacking Brosov to the northeast.
Bran Castle Vlad the Impaler may have passed by here with his army on his way to punish Brasov.
Outside the Bran Castle park. Today the invading hordes are tourists welcomed by the locals with kitsch supporting the Dracula legend. No real vampires here. ...
In the shadow of Dracula's Castle ... Although caution may be warranted.
Brosov Brosov lies 25 kilometers northeast of Bran on the north edge of, and surrounded on three sides by, the Carpathian Mountains.
Brosov An old, reconstructed, walled city with modern conveniences for tourists in the post-communist era.
Brosov Students on the first day of the new school year cross the main square toward the Black Church.
Brosov There are lots of culinary delights here for people of all ages.
Brosov Not exactly the dark and foreboding image that those thinking of the Dracula legend might imagine.
Peles Castle About 25 kilometers south of Brosov is the former summer residence of the Romanian royal family, built in the late 19th century.
Outside Brasov to the north Apart from the Carpathian Mountains, much of Romania is agricultural.
Fortified church at Prejmer There are many fortified churches throughout Transylvania. This one lies in Prejmer, 17 kilometers northeast of Brosov.
Fortified church at Prejmer Inside the encircling fortified wall are barracks for the defending monks.
Fortified church at Prejmer When the Lutherans assumed ownership, they sought to mitigate distraction by covering up older adornments, some of which have recently been uncovered to reveal the architectural history of this edifice.
Fortified church at Prejmer The rampart atop the exterior wall.
Fortified church at Prejmer This louver supported five muskets to enable defenders to greet attackers with a fuselage.
Traveling further north into the Saxon area of Transylvania, we find gently rolling hills and pastures.
Over the centuries Romania has been a place that foreigners have passed through to get to somewhere else. The natives built walled retreats on high ground to survive the crusaders and other passers-by.
Viscri A preservation trust has been formed to preserve the old rustic character of the village of Viscri. England's Prince Charles owns a house down this Main Street. To spare the area of bus loads of tourists that would seek him out, he rarely visits anymore.
Viscri This guest house is not much to see from the outside., ...
Viscri ... but inside the close is a different story. Here breakfast is served by the garden.
Viscri There is nothing to hear here, except a neighbor's rooster at dawn and an occasional horse cart passing along the gravel street. Visitors are awed by the silence.
Viscri Viscri, too, has a fortified church.
Viscri The chapel lies in the center of two concentric structures.
Viscri's Fortified Church First is the exterior wall of the compound.
Viscri's Fortified Church Second is a ring of rooms, sheds and towers.
Viscri's Fortified Church Weapon port.
Viscri's Fortified Church The countryside around Viscri as seen from one of the church's towers.
Viscri We are being treated to dinner by residents of another house on the main street. The garden is on the left, the dining alcove on the right. Chickens, ducks, geese and cats are about to join the dog in the cobbleway.
Viscri Our guide Andre and Susan discuss Romanian life while dessert is being prepared.
Viscri A fine Saxon meal is fashioned from the hosts' garden and live stock.
One of the acts of the dinner time floor show passes by.
Viscri Gypsy residents are relegated to the outer edges of the village. We get to meet a gypsy blacksmith and his family.
Viscri The blacksmith demonstrates his craft as he fashions a small horseshoe from a metal rod.
Viscri The horseshoe begins to take shape.
Viscri The blacksmith's wife helps support the family by making and selling clothing and textiles.
Viscri These are handmade slippers made from wool spun on the premises.
VIscri All Gypsy women wear characteristic skirts that cover their ankles.While Roma is the politically correct term for Gypsy, Gypsies we met prefer to be called Gypsies.
Sighisoara Further north is Sighisoara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the few medieval walled towns still occupied today.
Sighisoara Breakfast garden in our hotel.
Sighisoara Left: Front of our hotel. Up top: School on the Hill. Right: Scholars' Stairs (covered stairway).
Sighisoara Outside of the wooden covered Scholars' Stairs.
Sighisoara Inside of the Scholars' Stairs.
Sighisoara Sighisoara's landmark is the Clock Tower built in the 13th century.