One of the most popular outdoor fairs in Romania in Transylvania is drawing large number of tourists.
Bran, a historical and tourist hub lying right at the heart of Romania has for seven years now been home to a popular gastronomy festival The festival is the perfect opportunity for the locals to welcome tourists with local dishes, traditional music and customs shows, seasoned with loads of local joy.
25 kilometers west of Brasov, on the main road linking Brasov to Campulung Muscel, you can find the villages of Bran scattered along the way. Among beautiful hills, high mountains and rivers with crystal-clear waters, you can find bits and pieces of history, local traditions and legends.
Speaking about why it is worth traveling to Bran at the time of the culinary festival, here is the mayor of the Bran commune, Gheorghe Hermeneanu.
”We have thought out the event also to mark a pastoral section, it is the time when sheep are taken up to the mountains, it is the time of the first cheese products, which are presented in little fir-tree bark caskets, and I thought on that occasion we could also offer our tourists a fair. And for that, we picked up the Pentecost mini-holiday, so that tourists coming to the mountains at this time of the year can find the best possible way to spend their leisure time. We also thought it appropriate to introduce visitors to our local cuisine as well as to the customs we observe at this time of the year. On Pentecost days, certain lamb- and kid-based dishes are being served. And starting from here, we also expanded to other traditional products and then to the idea of an outdoor fair and to everything related to traditions and customs”.
In Bran, gastronomic traditions happily tie in with the beauty of the area, so that the festival is venued at the foot of Bran Castle. Here is Mayor Gheorghe Hermeneanu again, this time inviting us to join in.
“The event is held at the foot of Bran Castle, on the plateau known as the Queen’s Heart. We will have a gastronomy contest on several categories, and the judge panel for the contest will be made up of famous chefs from Romania, while at the same time we will be staging gastronomy shows, as well as exceptional traditional shows. We will also be presenting local recipes and how to prepare them. We will be providing the team of chefs with some lamb to make some mouth-watering dishes. Some well-known artists will perform on stage and we will also be mobilizing the artistic power of the entire Bran-Moeciu-Fundata region. Schoolchildren from this area will be presenting artistic programs, traditional dances and each of them will be bringing a series of recipes to be judged, then we will also have guests coming over from all the country’s traditional regions, who will be staging a traditional costume parade. The starting point will be the castle, then people wearing traditional costumes will go round the castle and then, as part of the event, we will be presenting the traditional outfit of every region that will be taking part in the event. Local hospitality is well-known, so we await everyone to spend a couple of memorable moments here!”
If you have reached this far, you must take the time to visit Bran Castle, a medieval fortress whose historical fame has been compounded by legend. If you choose the shorter tour of Bran Castle, you start from the inner courtyard, and move on to the first floor. In medieval times, this floor used to host the quarters of the citadel’s military commander, but later, in the inter-war years, when the Castle was taken over by the Royal House, it was turned into the private apartment of Queen Marie, with the bedchambers, the hallway, the parlour and the reception room, where guests used to be received. From the first floor, visitors go up on the castle’s secret staircase to the third floor. This is where they find one of the most beautiful halls in the castle, namely Queen Marie’s music and reading room. The tour continues to the royal balcony, overlooking the inner courtyard, a romantic area with Gothic vaults. On the fourth floor terrace, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of what used to be Wallachia. They can see the medieval walls representing the border that used to separate Wallachia from Transylvania, and the building of the customs unit opened in the 14th Century, concurrently with the castle.
The second floor hosts King Ferdinand’s apartment, remarkable for the beauty of the fireplace, the painted doors and beams. Apart from the king’s bedchamber, the royal parlour and reception hall, this is where visitors can also see a medieval Transylvanian weaponry, costume and armour hall. The cinema hall was added later on, and shows footage of the royal family, military parades and the Coronation ceremony in Alba Iulia. The tour includes the apartment of Prince Nicolae, the fourth child of Queen Marie and King Ferdinand, located on the fourth floor, as well as two halls recently opened, and called “the Bram Stoker rooms.” Texts in Romanian and English tell the story of Dracula, from the folk legend to a summary of Bram Stoker’s novel, the story of Prince Vlad the Impaler’s death, the family tree of the Draculescu house, as well as a traditional Romanian ghost story. So a visit to Bran this midsummer weekend will be worth the effort and guarantee a holiday to remember.