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Dracula’s Castle Under Attack

Nothing like a good Blood feud.

Set dramatically on top of a sharp rock in the forested Caparthian mountains not far from the picturesque medieval Romanian town of Brasov, Bran Castle looks straight out of a fairy tale. But its beauty alone does not explain the fervor of the debate over its ownership. The myth shrouded castle is also known as Dracula’s Castle: according todracas.jpg legend, Vlad The Impaler Draculae, a local ruler known for his cruel torture methods (the story goes he liked to have his dinner while watching his opponents painfully die on a stake) used to inhabit Bran Castle. This, however, is merely a myth, which has its roots in the famous novel by Bran Stoker and no one knows for sure whether the local ruler ever actually set foot in the castle. Still, on the rumor, 450,000 tourists visit it each year. Now it has become the subject of an escalating political dispute in Bucharest.

In 1948, the castle was seized by the Communist regime from the heirs of its originalvlad.jpg owner, the great-granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria, Princess Ileana. After the Iron Curtain fell, her heirs petitioned for the castle to be returned. Last year Ileana’s son, Archduke Dominic von Habsburg-Lothringen, 63, was finally successful. Under an agreement between his lawyers and the government, Habsburg was returned the castle in exchange for an agreement to keep it open as a museum until 2009 and give the government the right of the first refusal if he chose to sell it.

But earlier this year, Habsburg put the castle up for sale, with an asking price of $100 million. Now opposition parties in parliament have responded by attempting to annul the original agreement that handed him back the castle. In a resolution last week they found the original deal null and void. The case is now likely to go to the supreme court.

Source: YN

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