Count Dracula is the vampire to end all vampires (none of that glittering nonsense we've been faced with lately). He lived in a Transylvanian castle that was the very definition of Gothic and creepy, and the real life castle that is thought of having been its inspiration is now up for grabs. Bram Stoker's legendary character was definitely fiction, having been possibly based on Vlad the Impaler (the blood-thirsty Wallachian Prince in the 15th century), and his home is described as sitting on a "terrific precipice." Though Stoker never actually visited Romania, he was supposedly told tales of Bran Castle and since it is the only one in Romania that fits the written descriptions, people all over the world travel to the landmark to take a peek at Dracula's home. If you have any love for Dracula in your heart, or just want to buy one of the most famous and iconic castles in the world, the hilltop fortress has been put on the market for at least £47 million (around $80 million) by its archduke owner, Dominic von Habsburg.
Originally built as a fortress in the 14th century to protect against invading Ottoman Turks, Bran Castle is located near Brasov on a cliff and attracts over 500,000 tourists a year. Having had a string of owners, from Saxons to Hungarians, Bran was a gift to Queen Marie (the last Queen consort of Romania and granddaughter of Queen Victoria). When she died in 1938, Bran was given to her daughter Princess Ileana, who was then forced to leave in 1948 when Communists took over.
Once the Iron Curtain fell, the property was given back and Ileana's son Dominic (along with his sisters Maria Magdalena and Elizabeth) have been running it since. According to the Daily Mail, now that they're all in their 70s, the siblings are looking for someone new to take over and keep Bran thriving.
Apparently the Romanian government was offered the chance to buy it for $80 million, and now the family is looking for other opportunities. "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," says Mark Meyer of New York law firm Herzfeld and Rubin, the company handling the sale.
There's enough room on the property for a small hotel and the owners are even installing a glass elevator that will lead to a tunnel in the mountain, "with a light snow featuring Dracula and the whole history of the place."
According to Meyer, "Archduke Dominic and his family care very much for the castle, and it’s in far better shape now than it was when run by the government. The aim, though, is to take the whole thing a stage further and make Bran the kind of place people will stay for two or three days."