The Transylvanian castle of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker¬ís Count Dracula, is on sale for ¬£40 million.
Bran Castle, near the historic city of Brasov, in central Romania, is one of the country¬ís most popular tourist destinations because of its association with 15th-century Prince Vlad Tepes III, also known as the Impaler for his favoured method of executing opponents. According to varied accounts, Vlad either spent several days in the castle or was briefly incarcerated in its dungeons.
The impressive 14th-century fortress last belonged to Queen Victoria¬ís granddaughter Queen Marie of Romania, but in 1956 it was seized by the Communist authorities, who turned it into a museum. Seven months ago the castle was given back to Queen Marie¬ís grandson, Dominic von Habsburg, of the former House of Habsburg.
The conditions of the restitution agreement included a pledge to keep the castle open as a state run museum for three years, even if the property was resold. The castle is one of Romania¬ís biggest tourist attractions and its value will drastically multiply when the country joins the European Union this year. According to the Romanian tourist office, no organised tour of Romania is without a visit to Bran Castle.
The hefty price tag is seen as by no means exaggerated. The estate includes approximately seven acres of forest and three smaller buildings. Once the three year period expires and the museum management becomes private, the Castle will turn into a lucrative source of income for the new owners.