Bran Castle, Romania, is located to the east of the Piatra Craiului Mountains on the mountain pass between Transylvania and the principality of Walachia – the DN73 national highway – approximately 30 kilometres south-west of the regional capital Brasov.

Photo and text – Source: Wikipedia

“Elevator World” 2019 award

An elevator for Count Dracula

The traction reliability required in the prize-winning project is provided by the innovative ZAtop SM200.20C elevator drive.
High-tech electronics from ZIEHL-ABEGG:
ZAdyn 4CS023 control technology

ZAdyn 4CS023 control technology

09/19The legend of Count Dracula and his Bran Castle speaks volumes and the tales of fantasy are spurred by numerous stories. One thing that is not a fairy tale but a reality is the successful and award-winning masterpiece at Bran Castle in Romania – the “Time Tunnel” with its integrated “STONE” elevator from ELMAS

The myth of “Count Dracula” is undoubtedly firmly entrenched in today’s tourist attraction, Bran Castle in Romania, although times have changed enormously. Where once upon a time you could hear the sound of people’s teeth chattering with fear, the most that visitors can do today is to ‘tremble’ in the state-of-the-art, hi-fi-action atmosphere with a historical multimedia show. Many hundreds of years ago, more precisely around 1377 when Bran Castle was constructed here at this site, you would have had to climb up 30 meters in the extremely narrow, eerie corridors and vaulted cellars to reach your night chamber in the upper part of the castle.

Surrounded by a stone wall on the journey upwards

Today, if you want to travel the same 30 metres to reach the highest part of the Bran Castle, at the foot of the famous fortress, you simply step into a fantastic vaulted tunnel where the journey – in an ultra-modern, high-tech elevator – will first lead you through a futuristic-looking vaulted section with stone-wall architecture, with a presentation in the background of an interactive chronicle – the Time Tunnel. The imposing ride travels upwards passed rough stone sections, impressive film shows and historic documents, smoothly, quietly and at a reasonable speed.

An ancient well from the year 1377 opens the path to an ingenious idea

However, even today in the 20th century, the presentation of this imaginative idea for the new route to the top, from the foot of the fortress to high up in Bran Castle, obviously posed a major challenge for architects and builders.
The great idea for the “Time Tunnel”, namely the existing well that had already been dug out using traditional means in the stone as a type of shaft in 1377 during the construction of the castle, had to be converted into an electrically-powered elevator by the people behind the huge project, the basis for which had already been laid by Queen Marie of Romania (the owner since 1930) and her architect at that time. So, using a horizontally created shaft, the royal park at the foot of the castle was connected to the actual castle itself. However, by 1948 the royals had already left their imposing domicile, as a result everything fell into oblivion. Documents show that it took about 70 years before it was rediscovered and newly-devised plans were drawn up. Today, the realization of the grand idea of a “Time Tunnel” is complete and has become an impressive tourist attraction. The firm of ELMAS is the developer, the elevator motor and associated control technology was supplied by ZIEHL-ABEGG.

The imposing entrance in the “Time Tunnel” to the ultra-modern elevator with ZAtop drive technology from ZIEHL-ABEGG
At the foot of the huge wall of Bran Castle (built in 1377)
Extra-specially designed elevator cabin for the historic shaft (1377) at the end of the “Time Tunnel” in Bran Castle


Time Tunnel project planning:
The necessary scientific research/preparatory work, architecture, resistance studies, restoration.
Unique, highly-sensitive construction work carried out in accordance with the conditions required for the protection of historic monuments, using special technologies for the enlargement of the existing shaft and the horizontal tunnel.

Elevator motor:

Permanent magnet excited, gearless synchronous drive
– Nominal output: 7.9 kW
– Traction sheave diameter: 240 mm
– Traction rope diameter: 6.5 mm
– Load capacity: 600 kg (2:1)

Control technology:

Elevator cabin:
Elevator cabin specially-designed to meet the on-site conditions. Special feature: longest permitted elevator ride in Romania, at 31.5 metres between start and destination.