Monday, January 6, 2014

Geopiece of the Day: Former Austrian Royalty tried to sell Count Dracula´s Castle


Bran Castle alleged home to the inspiration for Dracula

The alleged castle of Vlad the impaler, famous for taking his fathers patrimonious name of Dracul and impaling people on stakes in his free time, was according to history fond of this location. His specialties were taking the reign over the country 3 times in his life with breaks in between to perfect his staking techniques.

The castle is marketed as the home of Bram Stoker´s Dracula and inherently connected to the movie. The more interesting story behind the high walled structure is its history in the 20th century after it had already existed for 700 years, built by teutonic knights in the 13th century.


The alleged owner of the property

Bran castle became a royal residence to the ruling family of the Kingdom of Romania in 1920, formerly part of the Austrian empire. After World War II the communists took power in Romania and decided to oust royals because maintaining a royal family does not make you well liked in the union of communist countries. The properties were repossessed and now belonged to the Communist ruling party.

Let´s skip ahead half a century to the year 2005. The now democratic Romanian government decided to award the castle to the former owners, the Habsburg line of royalty, and gave the castle to the heir of the Austrian Imperial family, Dominic von Habsburg.

What followed was:

The Romanian government tried to take the castle back as the thought laws of restitution were not legal.

The Romanian courts rejected this stance.

Dominic von Habsburg tried to sell the castle back for the mere sum of $80 million.

The government rejected the offer.

Being a prudent businessman Dominic turned the castle into a tourist hotspot. The castle is the first private museum in the whole country of Romania.