Owners hope local authorities will bite at Dracula castle

Publish date: 11-01-2007
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The family that owns a Transylvanian castle famous for its connections to the 15th-century medieval ruler who inspired "Dracula" said Wednesday that it wants to sell the fortress to local authorities for $78 million.

The local council said it was interested in buying Bran Castle, which attracts more than 400,000 visitors a year. "We are trying to find the best way to preserve the castle in the interest of the family and the people of Bran," said owner Dominic Habsburg, a New York architect.

The castle, 105 miles north of Bucharest, was returned to Habsburg in May. It was confiscated by the communists from his mother, Princess Ileana, in 1948, the year the royals were forced to leave the country. After the restitution, concerns were raised that the family could sell the castle to a hotel chain and that the site could end up being the centerpiece of a Dracula theme park that would blight the surrounding countryside.

"Vlad the Impaler" is believed to have used the castle briefly during his incursions in Transylvania. He is also believed to have been imprisoned there for two months in 1462 when he was captured by a rival Hungarian king.


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