In Transylvania, the pottery appeared around 1500 ac (although archaeologists have discovered pieces of pottery – scraps – dating from the Neolithic) as a necessity for people to store food in pots. Then, this craft also offered the possibility to obtain some important financial gains, the clay-fired ceramics having a great demand in the area. Only 10 km away from Bran (where Dracula’s Castle location) lies the fortified town of Rasnov, where there was a need for many vessels for domestic use.
By its geographical location, Bran was surrounded by forests, numerous creeks crossed it, and its clay soil constituted the third element of the “magical triangle”: clay, water, fire, without which there can not be pottery.
Being placed at crossroads, with neighbors who needed the pots and its rocks, Bran and its inhabitants, thrived along centuries; their craft was refined and “distilled” over time, and the fact that they produced a unique ceramics in the world, the black ceramics, allowed them to “investigate” artistic approaches more than the utility of the product.
Ceramics was made in many areas of Romania being a strong center of pottery, but Bran won any confrontation with the competition, its models being of rare expression and pure beauty, the craftsmen here proving refinement in the design of shapes and ornaments.
Starting from the ceramic necessity in the household (it is impossible to imagine the kitchen and the kitchen storeroom, no more than a hundred years ago, without ceramic pots), which impelled the development of society, at Bran artistic ceramics or “luxury,” as some think, has thrived, with figurines turned into bibble.
But, irrespective of utility, the potters from Bran knew how to preserve, for a few centuries, the secrets of their craft, expanded and adapted them to every stage of history, and, as a supreme gift, they struggled together with the clay, have purified themselves in one fire: the love of freedom, because they have never been free and possessed by their fate. Considering the “rebels” and free thinkers, which was not far from the truth, the Communists forbade the Bran inhabitants to practice the craft which consecrated them, the pottery, and then, when they realized that this measure might return against them, gathered them into a craftsmanship cooperative, where various pots of black ceramics were produced. With typical times, black marble by Bran managed to bring its message across the country, and the new post-communist era gave her the freedoms that she lacked, although the craftsmanship and ceramics of today are no longer an attraction just as great for the tourist started to roam over the seas and countries.
Bran Ceramics was “born” between legends and myths, “fed” them, and, in turn, it generated legends and myths, so that other generations of pots can draw inspiration from them and thus, close the circle. The surrounding nature lives on the black ceramic pots, the stories of love and betrayal are in the street, there is almost no speech, word or feeling that does not have the equivalent, at Bran, in a ceramic pot. Here‘s why it is important to visit this locality!