Looking for a new residence or a summer vacation home that’s guaranteed to keep relatives from ever visiting? Then you may be interested in this sweet little house in Romania that’s a steal at $80 million, mostly because one of its previous residents was Count Dracula.
The original wooden Bran Castle was built in 1212 by Teutonic Knights on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia, a location picked because of its spectacular views … mostly of invaders. The view didn’t help stop it from being destroyed by the Mongols in 1242. Louis I of Hungary gave the Saxons of Kronstadt permission to build a stone castle on the same spot in 1377 and the town of Bran eventually grew around it. Because of its location, the castle was a strategic military defense post against the Ottoman Empire and other enemies until the 1750s.
The Dracula connection comes in two parts. Vlad Ţepeş, better known as Prince Vlad the Impaler, was most likely just an involuntary resident of the castle, being imprisoned there for two months in the mid 15th century. The aptly-nicknamed and excessively cruel Vlad was also known as Dracula, providing the second Bran Castle connection. Bram Stoker used the name for his famous novel, but never actually visited the castle or Transylvania for than matter, doing all of his research at the library.
The castle became the residence of Romania’s royal family in 1920, was seized by the communist government in 1948 and eventually returned to the royal family and its current owners, Archduke Dominic von Habsburg and his sisters Maria Magdalena and Elizabeth.
The sale is being handled by the New York-based law firm Herzfeld and Rubin and it’s hoped that the new owner will continue to maintain it as one of the area’s top Dracula tourist attractions with 560,000 annual visitors. The Romanian government has offered $80 million even though it knows the castle needs new bathrooms and other remodeling.
It might be wise for the buyers to do the remodeling themselves to get comfortable handling hammers and wooden stakes.