Had a chance to see some of these places shaped by years of conflict and war. If you wanted you and your family, friends and townsfolk to stay alive, then you fortified your place. No wall, no life.

The old phrase about finding the best real estate is “location, location, location.” That certainly is the case for Transylvania' s most famous castle. Bran Castle is situate on top of a steep hill just where the Carpathian Mountains level off into a large plateau.

This view is from the castle looking into the Carpathians.

You may note that it was a tight valley, which also had another benefit. The castle was in a great location to extract taxes from passers by, mostly merchants. The ruins of the old customs house are in the valley below.

This is the labyrinthine inner castle, the result of several centuries of adding on. First built in the 13th century, the castle continued to be used into the 20th century. By then the Romanian royal family had taken it over as a favorite summer residence.

Although once a sanctuary, the castle is now invaded daily by bus loads of tourists. Such is progress.

We're now moving to a fortress above the town of Rasnov. The place was built to protect the townsfolk when enemies attacked. That happened on a regular basis, starting from the 13th century. Again the location is at the top of a steep hill.



And this is the view of the valley from Rasnov Fortress.


But in Transylvania the churches were also fortified to protect the clergy and the townsfolk.

This is the Fortified Church in Prejmer.

Heavy walls and only one way in.

Once inside, you see the inner courtyard is organized.

This is a classroom (note the abacus). The glass case is clearly an anachronism.

Nearby, the town of Harmon also has a fortified church.

It too has only one way in.

However, a horse just outside was more interested in lunch. Note the simple plow it is his lot to pull.

The fortified church in Harmon organized its residents in a similar way to those who lived in Prejmer.

The most important item to prepare for a siege was a functioning well for water.

This images are of the very medieval church. Lets call it a simple, but fortified style.



And that is all I have to say about the castles out there still in the Carpathian Mountains.