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"Dracula's Castle" For Sale In Romania 167

Posted by kdawson
from the i'll-bite dept.
galaad2 writes "Want to own the real castle that may have inspired the legend of Dracula? The Transylvanian castle associated with Vlad the Impaler, who may have been part of the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Count Dracula, is on sale for £40 million ($77 million). Bran Castle, near the historic city of Brasov, in central Romania, draws 450,000 visitors a year because of its association with 15th-century Prince Vlad Tepes III. (Wikipedia points out that Bran Castle's ties to Vlad are weak and disputed.) The local town council has been offered first refusal; they have 30 days to review the offer and then the property will be put on the market."
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"Dracula's Castle" For Sale In Romania

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  • by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @03:55AM (#17519978)
    Ok, I'll bite...
    • I never knew that there was really a Dracula castle in Transylvania, Romania. I am a bit scared now :-(
      • by afd8856 (700296) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:36AM (#17520204) Homepage
        In the interest of spreading real news, I'll try to clarify things a bit.

        The castle was donated to an old Romanian queen by the local city. Comunists came and took it, now the royal family got it back as a donation. The Romanian Culture Ministry has a clause in that donation act that they are to be the first to be notified in case it's available for sale and they have the right to purchase it back first. The Royal Family didn't notify the Culture Ministry yet, so they can't officially sell it because the Culture Ministry hasn't refused to purchase it yet.

        The whole thing looks a bit like a scam from the Royal Family to increase the value of the castle. Apropos, the castle is the most major Romanian tourist site, it's very beautiful and it makes something like 10 milion Euro/year, with about 6 milion Euro/year expenses.
        • by iLogiK (878892)
          I've seen a report on this story last night, including an interview with the Minister of Culture and he said that as far as he's concerned he will refuse to puchase it. Also I believe that the castle will go to the city of Brasov as that was the wish of the royal family. I'm not to sure about all of this as I wasn't really paying attention to the TV.
        • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:19AM (#17520630) Homepage
          Comunists came and took it, now the royal family got it back as a donation.

          Yeah, it was the Communists who kicked the old man [wikipedia.org] out of the castle; he lived in New York City for a while and then settled down in Rio de Janeiro. No word yet if he wants his old castle back. It might suck for the royal family if he did show up.
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by tapehands (943962)
            ....
            But I though that Vlad [uncyclopedia.org] actually was a communist! All this history just doesn't make a lick of sense.
            :(
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by MrNiCeGUi (302919)
          You are right in saying that it's a scam. But the castle is not the most major Romanian tourist site, far from it, and the actual yearly income is something around a 300.000 Euro, nowhere near 10 million.
          In my opinion, the state should pass. There is no particular reason that it should own this castle, as no matter who will buy it will have to keep it opened to tourists. But, as you said, it is just a scam by the owners together with corrupt County Council members to swindle the state out of an outrageous a
        • by antic (29198)
          Looks like it's already sold:

          "The local authorities of the Brasov county will by the world-famous Bran Castle for 60 million euro and will get the money by leasing with a 10-year loan from an Austrian bank. The move comes eight months after the rightful owner of the castle, now known as "Dracula's castle", Dominic Habsburg, got it back in a retrocession process."
        • Are you saying the Royal Family's a fly-by-night operation?

          Just kidding. I don't view the castle as a moneymaker, but as a world-famous landmark. It doesn't matter if it's really associated with Vlad; it's Bran Castle.
        • Seriously, dubious connection to Vlad aside, the castle does have a fascinating history and has connections to a variety of royals (and Bram Stoker). It's also a boon to the local economy and a beautiful castle.

          Not sure if that makes it worth $70 million. But it's certainly got some value outside of its Vlad connection.

          -Eric

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Werkhaus (549466)
        There's the ruins of one he got some Turkish landowners to build, too. The remains of it overlook the Arges river and it's a bit of a slog to get to it (1500-odd steps). Legend says that he worked rebellious Boyars to death building it.
        http://www.draculascastle.com/html/poenari.html [draculascastle.com]

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by JasonNolan (628882)
        There's no real link between the vampire and vlad. Emily Gerard in an article that stoker read, wrote that Dracula was a Romanian word for the devil. So stoker used it. This is well documented, and Elizabeth Miller, who is finishing up Stoker's notes for the novel for publication, has researched this widely. As for the castle, there's a good chance that the historical dracula stayed there, but it was never a place he lived in the fort at Poenari IS well documented as his home, but it is a ruin, and far fro
    • by gbobeck (926553) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:01AM (#17520006) Homepage Journal
      Ok, I'll bite...

      Eh, Dracula sucks.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by antifoidulus (807088)
      Blah! I want to suck your bank account!
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Can you get a cable modem or DSL there?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'll drink to that! Bloody Mary, anyone?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anne_Nonymous (313852)
      On /. you'll byte.
  • Bats (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:03AM (#17520016)
    £40 million GLORIOUS bats. HA HA HA.
  • by ar1550 (544991) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:06AM (#17520040)
    Damn, do I spend my recently acquired $70 million inheritance to buy Sealand, or this castle?
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:09AM (#17520056) Journal
    Real Estate salesman: Wow, we don't see many vampires around here.
    Vampire: Yeah well, at these prices you won't see many more.
    • Surely there are no vampires there, as I recently spent a night just in the proximity of the castle [www.len.ro] and I wake up much more revigorated than usual. Anyway, nice surroundings for a castle.
      • by bhima (46039)
        What else is there to do over that way? I was just looking into booking an overnight train to spend a long weekend there.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by len_p (782308)
          You could eat [www.len.ro] and sleep. Last week there was also 1m of snow so access might be somehow difficult to some remote parts.
          • by bhima (46039)
            That is just not fair... I just ate lunch at the canteen at work and it sucked.

            However at least they have snow, there isn't much around here... which makes for generally cranky Austrians
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mangu (126918)
        I recently spent a night just in the proximity of the castle and I wake up much more revigorated than usual


        How did you expect to feel? You are now immortal! Stay off the sunlight, though, either that or wear that ultra-extra-super-strength sunblock.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by kv9 (697238)

        Surely there are no vampires there, as I recently spent a night just in the proximity of the castle and I wake up much more revigorated than usual.

        maybe it sucked your dick.

  • Roommates? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aqua OS X (458522) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:14AM (#17520094)
    Who wants to go in on a castle?

    Ideal roommates should be able to appreciate trap doors, suits of armor used used for conversation pieces, abandoned rooms with misc furniture covered in white sheets, pictures of aristocrats with the eyes cut out (for spying), rotating bookshelfs, and indie rock.

    No dogs.
    No smokers.
    Weed is ok.
    • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:26AM (#17520166) Journal
      I imagine old castles suck.

      Plumbing problems, roof problems, heating issues.

      Normal bills are probably a real bitch. Special "one-time" maintenance is surly out-of-this-world.

      I have no idea what Romanian property taxes are like... You think Vampires suck - you don't want to see the local Tax authority.

      So, if you are handy, with a strong back, you might make a good roommate/co-investor. Speaking Romanian probably wouldn't hurt.

      Is broadband available there (at that specific castle)?

      I'll pass.

      • Re:Roommates? (Score:5, Informative)

        by imsabbel (611519) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:05AM (#17520342)
        The father of a colleque of mine bought a castle a decade ago. For 1 DM at that time.

        Its a lot smaller than this particular one, but after a decade of rebuilding and fixing stuff, its still only maybe 25% finished. They ARE a bitch to keep warm (and to keep water out). But they make an impressive party-place.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by BForrester (946915)
        If you think "one-time" maintenance is surly, wait until you see a vampire who gets shafted by the communist party AND his real estate agent.
      • by CrazyTalk (662055)
        I'd imagine there would be no plumbing or heating problems - since there is no plumbing or heat!
      • I have no idea what Romanian property taxes are like... You think Vampires suck - you don't want to see the local Tax authority.


        You obviously don't live in Pennsylvania. You think the Romanian tax authorities are bad? We have REAL vampires in the Commonwealth when it comes to property taxes.

        (Yes, this is completely off-topic but those in the know will know this is no joke)

    • by Datamonstar (845886) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:32AM (#17520190)
      Okay, who's the wise guy who keeps hiding all these hearts behind my candles?
    • by pipingguy (566974) *
      Put.....the candle.....back.
  • sweet (Score:5, Funny)

    by Danga (307709) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:23AM (#17520144)
    All I can say is if I had 77 million lying around I would love to pick this castle up. I could get so many more chicks: "come back to my castle... of love"

    What chick wouldn't want to go back to a castle? Of love?
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:25AM (#17520156) Homepage

    Putting in heating, ventilating, and air conditioning will be a tough job. I know someone who converted an old stone barn, and that was a major project, even with substantial spending.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:30AM (#17520182) Journal
    Sure you can buy Dracula's castle, but there's one catch. You have to spend the night there.
  • Ironically, it would probably be more lucrative to buy property in something like Second Life than a castle like this. The castle is cool as hell, but the location is not very convenient.
    • Ironically, it would probably be more lucrative to buy property in something like Second Life than a castle like this. The castle is cool as hell, but the location is not very convenient.
      Nor is your suggestion. I mean, it's not like my name is Thomas Anderson or something.
       
    • As opposed to all those middle class and blue-collar folks with $77 Million lying around?
      • As opposed to all those middle class and blue-collar folks with $77 Million lying around?

        I meant that most people don't have 77 mil to spend without expecting to get something back. If the place would be likely to generate money a suitable organization coult probably get funding for developing it. As it stands now its pretty much only the people who have 77 mil spend, as opposed to invest.
        • by packeteer (566398)
          Actually it is a tourist attraction making 4 millions euros a year in profit. Thats almost $8 million a year. The only people who are gonig to buy it are people who are going to run it as an attraction.
    • I think it is equally a waste of your money to buy this castle or $70 million worth of property in Second Life. However, if you were looking less for lucre and more for a sadomasochistic vampire to have all manner of unholy relations with you, then I'd heartily recommend Second Life. And if the translyvanian atmosphere isn't quite complete without a werewolf, well, they've got all manner of furry creatures ready to meet you.
    • by caluml (551744)
      Romania joined the EU on 2007-01-01. There'll be a good few hundred million people at the end of a cheap 2 hour flight from it in a few months (once Easyjet/Ryanair get regular flights there).

      Sounds pretty convenient to me.
      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Romania joined the EU on 2007-01-01. There'll be a good few hundred million people at the end of a cheap 2 hour flight from it in a few months (once Easyjet/Ryanair get regular flights there).
        Them joining the EU is irrelevant. It's not like there's been a blockade on travel to Romania.
        • > Them joining the EU is irrelevant. It's not like there's been a blockade on travel to Romania.

          Yes, there was. It's called "customs and immigration". That blockade is now gone for anyone
          travelling there from elsewhere in the EU.

          Chris Mattern
          • by CRCulver (715279)
            Customs and immigration will continue to be an issue until Romania joins Schengen, which won't be for many years. Travelling from Schengen to non-Schengen countries still requires that one stand in a queue and show an EU identity card or passport. And though movement within the EU is theoretically unrestricted, the EU citizen must declare his intentions to stay longer than three months in a given foreign EU country to the local police, a rather annoying process.
  • by Nichotin (794369) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:42AM (#17520234)
    If I become the Lord of this castle, will Simon Belmont come and whack me with that nasty whip thingie he is carrying around?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by foo12 (585116)
      If I become the Lord of this castle, will Simon Belmont come and whack me with that nasty whip thingie he is carrying around? No. That's extra.
      • "No. That's extra."

        Oh it's not that bad. He just has to walk up to the door and press UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A Start.

        Admittedly he'll be a little winded after the journey to the front door... but still.
  • Do the math... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Telcontar (819) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:59AM (#17520314) Homepage
    Certainly nobody will buy this castle for making a profit. Do the math: 40 million pounds have to be spent. People pay 2.40 per entry. Thus you need 16.7 million entries to cover the acquisition costs (assuming the 450,000 visitors a year are all adults, a bit optimistic). Using this figure, it takes 37 years to pay off the initial investment - ignoring costs for running the castle, such as ongoing repairs, staff, etc.

    Still, it would be cool to have that castle and enjoy eternal night life...
    • by CmdrGravy (645153)
      As someone pointed out above the castle makes 10 Million Euros a year and spends 6 Million on expenses so even if you paid back the 40 Million for repairs etc over 20 years you'd still be making a profit of 2 Million a year.
    • Re:Do the math... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nacturation (646836) <nacturation@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:47AM (#17520522) Journal

      Certainly nobody will buy this castle for making a profit. Do the math: 40 million pounds have to be spent. People pay 2.40 per entry. Thus you need 16.7 million entries to cover the acquisition costs (assuming the 450,000 visitors a year are all adults, a bit optimistic). Using this figure, it takes 37 years to pay off the initial investment - ignoring costs for running the castle, such as ongoing repairs, staff, etc.
       
      Still, it would be cool to have that castle and enjoy eternal night life...
      Speaking of eternal night life, here's an even better idea. Every night throw a wild and massive party. Cover charge is 100 Euro per person. 500 Euro gets you your own room to host your own mini-party in true bacchanalian fashion. Or 2500 Euro gets you the dungeon for the evening. On Friday and Saturday, tasteful in-period costumes are mandatory (vampires okay, clowns not okay... rent 'em at the door if you forgot yours). It's like Disney Land but for mature audiences only. Have live DJ competitions where the audience votes and the top prize for the winning DJ is 10% of the take from cover charges or something like that.

      It'd be a hell of a blast until it gets shut down for some please-think-of-the-children reason.
       
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by delinear (991444)

        It'd be a hell of a blast until it gets shut down for some please-think-of-the-children reason.

        It's in Romania - all the children are either in orphanages or sweatshops.

    • Expected to increase in value more than tenfold over the next 10-15 years. They've just joined the EU you see.

      So, even accounting for some inflation by the current owners, anyone who can afford to buy this place is almost certain to make a bundle.
       
    • by teslar (706653)
      Certainly nobody will buy this castle for making a profit
      Dude, whoever can just blow that amount of spare cash on a castle without blinking doesn't need to make profits ;)
    • don't forget the memorabilia most visitors will buy.
    • by drsquare (530038)
      Using this figure, it takes 37 years to pay off the initial investment
      Actually it takes 0 years to pay off the investment, as the castle still has its value. As soon as you buy it you're already in profit. You don't lose any money unless the castle decreases in value.
  • by metal slime (825519) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:03AM (#17520336)
    I only have one question. If I buy it can I get fully cooked meat out of the walls by destroying certain blocks?
  • by KaylaVincent (1048788) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:04AM (#17520340) Homepage
    Well, the castle has little to do with Vlad Tepes, actually. As for Bram Stocker, there's an idea he mostly drew his inspiration from the actions of Elizabeth Bathory. :) You should look more into the subject of this castle. It is beautiful, indeed, but you would really have the wrong expectations of it. Here's the story for those interested in this topic :
    http://wordsofabrokenmirror.blogspot.com/2006/09/b reaking-dracula-myth.html [blogspot.com]
    • I'm reading a really fascinating take on the Dracula legend right now, The Historian. I don't know if this castle is analagous to the one described in the book as the one he had his vassals build for him in the mountains of Romania to keep back the Ottomans. But in the book (which is fictionalized history), it says he didn't live in that castle for very long - he abandoned it when the Turks got too close.
      • by Reziac (43301) *
        I'll have to look for that one -- sounds interesting.

        Also try IN SEARCH OF DRACULA by McNally and Florescu. It's an interesting read that effectively blends skepticism, historical facts/rumours, and a sense of mystery.

    • by kv9 (697238)

      Dracula's Castle? Since when?

      since 1997 [draculascastle.com] or whenever the hell they advertise it as such?

  • I vaaant... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by dangitman (862676)
    ... to suck your dollars.
    • by Danga (307709)
      if you had said you wanted to suck anything else you would have had a deal... well as long as you are female anyway. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:45AM (#17520516)
    I've been to a few, and they were all advertised as being "the real one". The joke among Romanians is apparently that every castle over there belonged to some Vlad this or that, and because that Bram Stoker has never been to Romania, there is no problem in claiming that it is Dracula's castle
  • by seamus_waldron (304343) <seamus_waldron@ a p j.co.uk> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:12AM (#17520606) Homepage
    The Castle in Bran *looks* the part. If Disney were to make a real castle, it would look like this. It is well located for access by train from all over the country. I'm not sure it would be a good investment as their door policy isn't exactly difficult to skip around.

    Anyway, the castle at Poenari is the real deal, though it is difficult to get there. You have to climb up a very steep mountain side to actually get to the castle, sometimes you are watched by armed guards protecting a nearby Hydro plant or something. The guys had guns, I didn't ask. This castle really was the home of Vlad the Impaler and the slope you climb to reach it once had the decapetated heads of his victims strewn across it on spikes.

    The castle itself is actually very small and nobody is ever going to make moey selling tours there (hence Bran is where the tours are sent). It is spooky and very, very cool. It is perched on a teeny tiny outcropping from the mountain and is a really fantastic experience , as I recounted here many years ago http://www.apj.co.uk/tales/vlad.htm#vlad [apj.co.uk].

    • by obender (546976)
      Sorry to disappoint you but the real one is here [google.com]. As you can see there's not much left of it and it's not exactly hard to get to: it's just in the middle of Bucuresti. When it was built it was in the middle of the forest but afterwards the city grew around it. And even the little bit you see is not all from his time, you will have to go into the basement to see the original walls.
      • by Reziac (43301) *
        I think he's referring to the original fortress, used by Vlad Dracul (and others) in defense of Wallachia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poienari_Castle [wikipedia.org]

        There's a photo of it in one of the McNally and Florescu books. It's on a steep mountainside and is in very rough shape -- pretty much just the main cylinder of the tower remains, and not all of that, and it wasn't very large to start with.

  • Quote from Hotnews.ro, a Romanian news site:
    The local authorities of the Brasov county will buy the world-famous Bran Castle for 60 million euro and will get the money by leasing with a 10-year loan from an Austrian bank. The move comes eight months after the rightful owner of the castle, now known as "Dracula's castle", Dominic Habsburg, got it back in a retrocession process.
  • by cozziewozzie (344246) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @09:47AM (#17521562)
    ...a week ago.

    It is really beautiful, and the surrounding village of Bran is extremely nice. The caste is quite small, but very nice, with small corridors, winding stairs, inner terraces and balconies, even a secret passage from Queen's room to King's room. All asymmetric, you can easily get lost in there. The entire thing is in mint condition, but heating in the winter must be a bitch.

    As can traffic. A few hours after we left, the whole village got snowed in, and thousands of tourists couldn't leave as the roads were buried in half a metre of snow.
  • ... thousands of them ... MILLIONS of them! At least that's what the estate agent, RM Renfield, had to say when I rang him about this the other day. They also have a delightful property called Carfax Abbey over in Purfleet.
  • supreme authority over Romania?? I just wanna tell those bastards to stop joining my IRC channel and harassing me.. its a freakin invasion
  • This way all the castlevania fans can visit it and whip candles to their hearts content.

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