The Most Famous Vampire Home Is Still for Sale.
Remember Bram Stoker’s classic, Dracula, and the Count’s home in what is now present-day Bran Castle in Transylvania? It has now hit the real estate market.
Until recently, the towering 12th-century fortress, situated between Transylvania and Wallachia, was owned and operated by descendants of the Romanian royal family. But the owners are in their senior years and are thereby hoping a buyer will purchase the estate, bring it into the 21st century with some spoofed up renovations like better plumbing, and, in turn, help continue its operation as a tourist attraction.
Legend says that Bran Castle was home to Prince Vlad Dracul (or Vlad the Impaler), whose history inspired Stoker to pen his vampire novel. While certain parts of the castle’s architecture are in need of repair, there is still an air of grandeur about the place, helped in part by the romanticism of its literary fame.
The actual history of the castle is just as intriguing. It was built by Teutonic Knights in 1212, destroyed by the Mongols in 1242, then rebuilt in the ensuing decades. By the 1300s and 1400s, Bran Castle played strategic roles, especially in the defense against the Ottoman Empire.
Then in 1920, Bran Castle became an official royal residence, by virtue of being a favorite retreat for Romania’s Queen Marie, who, incidentally was a granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria. Queen Marie later bequeathed the castle to her own daughter, Princess Ileana. It was Ileana who set up a hospital on the castle grounds during World War II to help treat wounded soldiers. But in the aftermath of WWII, the Communist regime arose and seized the property, subsequently expelling the royal family in 1948.
After Communism’s demise, the Romanian government passed a law allowing the castle to return into the hands of the Romanian royal family on 18th May 2009. By June 2009, Bran Castle was refurbished then opened by the royal family as the first private museum in the country. It has since housed several exhibits dedicated to the memory of Queen Marie. The current owners are Hapsburg by surname and are in fact the children of Princess Ileana.
Unfortunately, these three children of Princess Ileana are now in their golden decades. They are thus in search of a buyer to take over the reins to help steer Bran Castle towards 21st century amenities while still maintaining its rich history.
Archduke Dominic, one of Princess Ileana’s children, initially offered the castle to the Romanian government for approximately $80 million, but the offer was declined. The price tag has since vacillated between $65 million and $225 million. However, with very few resolute takers for the castle so far, who would likewise be good stewards of the property, the minimum asking price for the property has now become $13 million.
Interestingly enough, the 57-room and 22-acre Bran Castle was first advertised for sale back in 2014. Was it the apprehension of being too close to Count Dracula that has kept the buyers away?
Financial experts think the reason may be found elsewhere. For one, there are tedious rules associated with the purchase. As the Financial Times reported, “Local residents and the Romanian state have priority on land sales…before foreign buyers can bid. Only citizens from countries in the European Economic Area are entitled to buy land in Romania. One popular option for foreign buyers is to set up a limited company in Romania through which to purchase the home, although this will incur higher taxes.”
Meanwhile, the New York law firm Herzfeld and Rubin is said to be handling the sale of the property. According to their spokesman, Mark Meyer, “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.”