The Real Castle Dracula
The international popularity of Dracula and the character's association with Vlad Dracula led to an inevitable public demand to visit the legendary homeland of the world's supreme nightcrawler, and in particular to tour the vampire's spooky castle. Of course, the fictional Dracula's castle near the Borgo Pass is just that — a figment of Stoker's imagination. Located in central Wallachia, the Poenari Castle near the Arges River is considered to be the primary stronghold to have been fortified and used by Vlad Dracula in the 1400s (see Chapter 5).
Located in a remote region and virtually inaccessible, Poenari Castle lies in ruins at the top of a forbidding abutment. The “castle” can be more accurately described as a small fortress and wasn't large enough to house more than 100 troops for any length of time. Vlad Dracula was known to have escaped to Poenari to avoid invasions, but it was primarily a military outpost and was never designed as a residence. The Wallachian capitol city of Targoviste was the historical center of monarchy for Vlad Dracula, and for a brief time during the end of his short reign, Dracula resided at the court in Bucharest.
The Romanian tourist industry has made a thriving cottage industry out of passing off Bran Castle located in the community of Bran, Romania, as Castle Dracula, because it's readily accessible and offers tours, and it has a place in Romanian history as most recently having served as the summer home of Romania's beloved Queen Marie. It's said the castle is currently up for sale.