A Romanian castle from the 13th Century went on sale this week for a jaw-dropping £47 million, or roughly $US80 million at today’s conversion rates, according to The Daily Mail.
The hilltop fortress, known as Bran Castle, is a huge tourist attraction with 560,000 annual visitors — many attracted by its reputation as “Dracula’s Castle.”
The castle dates back to 1211 (it was completed in 1388) and is believed by some to have been the inspiration for Irish author Bram Stoker’s description of Dracula’s castle in his 1897 book:
The castle is on the very edge of a terrific precipice. A stone falling from the window would fall a thousand feet without touching anything! As far as the eye can reach is a sea of green tree tops, with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm. Here and there are silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests.
Of course, the bloodsucking Count Dracula was fictional and there’s no proof that his real life inspiration — Vlad the Impaler, prince of Wallachia in the 15th century — never lived in this fortress either.
In reality, the castle was occupied by warriors and knights during its early history before being gifted to the Habsburg royal family in 1920.
When the Communists came to power in 1948, the Habsburg heirs were forced to leave the country. Today, those heirs run the castle as a tourist destination, but are looking to sell it to a new owner who will continue to run the museum and potentially open a small hotel.
The Daily Mail reports that the Romanian government has been offered the castle for the price of £47 million, but the owners are open to other bids. Mark Meyer of Herzfeld and Rubin, a New York law firm handling the sale, told The Daily Mail: “If someone comes in with a reasonable offer, we will look at who they are, what they are proposing, and will seriously entertain the idea.”
Queen Marie, the last queen consort of Romania and granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and later her daughter Princess Ileana were the last owners before a Communist takeover in 1948. That's Queen Marie and Princess Ileana on the left, and Ileana by herself on the right.
Today, the castle is a huge tourist attraction with 560,000 annual visitors. Some refer to it as 'Dracula's Castle.'
...to creepy. This secret staircase was previously hidden by a fireplace. It leads out to the castle grounds.
Inside, the castle is filled with huge customised stoves to keep its residents warm, and doors that still retain their original stone work.
Here is the large drawing room with one of the specialised stoves, a paneled ceiling, and windows looking out onto the grounds.
And here is the Biedermeier Drawing Room. Though the walls have been plastered over, the furniture offers a glimpse of what the castle once looked like.
You can see some of the original stone work around this window, which looks out onto the inner courtyard.
And this is known as Princess Ileana's house. A more demure home than the castle itself, it's nestled into the grounds.
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