Bran Castle to be returned to Habsburgs

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Bran Castle to be returned to Habsburgs

Postby Vlad » Thu May 25, 2006 9:54 pm

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- More than 60 years after it was seized by communists, the Romanian government
is to hand back one of the country's most popular tourist sites, the fabled Dracula Castle, to its former owner, the culture minister said Tuesday.

The hand-over ceremony will take place Friday noon in the 14th century castle's museum deep within the fortress in Transylvania, said minister Adrian Iorgulescu at a news conference.

The castle, worth an estimated $25 million (19.6 million euros), was owned by the late Queen Marie and bequeathed to her daughter Princess Ileana in 1938. It was confiscated by communists in 1948 and fell into disrepair.

It was inherited from Princess Ileana (?) by Dominic van Hapsburg, a New York architect who will be at the ceremony on Friday, said Iorgulescu.
The Hapsburgs ruled Romania for a period starting in the late 17th century. Under the agreement, the owner will not be allowed to make any changes to the castle for the next three years, Iorgulescu said.

Restoration work began in the late 1980s and was partially completed in 1993. It is now one of Romania's top tourist destinations.

While known and marketed as "Dracula's Castle," the Bran Castle never belonged to Prince Vlad the Impaler, who inspired Bram Stoker's Count Dracula character, but the prince is thought to have visited the medieval fortress.

The Gothic fortress, perched on a rock, has appeared in numerous Dracula movies.

At the gates of Bran Castle, peasants sell Dracula sweaters hand-knitted from the thick wool of local sheep, cheesecloth blouses, and Vampire wine. Bran Castle is the most famous of 15 citadels and fortresses in the area, which were built by peasants to keep out marauding armies of Turks and Tartars and cruel local medieval lords.

Another former royal property, the Peles Castle, built in the late 19th century in the mountain town of Sinaia, will be returned to former King Michael, who owned it before it was confiscated by the communist regime in 1948.

Romania passed legislation earlier this year to return property to its former owners and establish a "property fund" to pay damages for assets that cannot be returned.
The fund includes stock in state-owned companies that are being privatized, such as utility companies, the Romanian postal service, and the Savings Bank.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

Apart from all the hype, Hapsburgs never RULED ROMANIA.
AP is dead wrong on this one, and whoever wrote the story should do more research before making such statements.

Remains to be discovered who the new owner is and how exactly did he inherit the castle.

Hmm, I have a feeling it will be moved to US, shortly :lol:
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Postby Dark Witch » Fri May 26, 2006 10:14 am

No further comments about Americans.
I answered a post regarding the U.S. and I have a strong feeling that if I say another word, all the Americans in this site are going to hate me :lol:
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To get the story straight

Postby Vlad » Sat May 27, 2006 7:05 am

It never belonged to HAPSBURGS until Princess Ileana (a Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen after her father, King Ferdinand of Romania), married a Hapsburg and therefore her HAPSBURG children inherited the castle.

Here is the story:

"by Laura Chiriac
Fri May 26, 2:48 PM ET

BRAN, Romania (AFP) - Bran Castle, a brooding fortress linked to the name of the vampire Dracula, has been restored to its rightful owner, a New York architect and descendant of the Habsburg dynasty which once ruled Austria-Hungary.
Dominic von Habsburg, 68-year-old grandson of former Queen Marie of Romania, received the keys to the Transylvanian castle from Romania's Culture Minister Adrian Yorulescu 58 years after communist rulers confiscated it.
Towering high on a rock, the popular tourist attraction is known popularly as Dracula's Castle through association with the figure of legend made world famous by a novel by Irishman Bram Stoker, and later in Hollywood horror films.
"It is with great emotion that I find myself again at this castle of my childhood, 58 years after having been driven out by the communists with my family," said Habsburg, who spent his early childhood here and whose father was the Habsburg scion Anton, Archduke of Austria.
"I have never been back to Romania since, till now."
A communist regime was established in 1947 when King Michael was forced to abdicate, and Habsburg's family went to the United States.
In returning the property, "Romania has performed an act of justice bringing it yet closer to Europe," Habsburg told journalists.
Romania, which shed communism in 1989, is scheduled to join the European Union next January and is anxious to prove its European credentials by fulfilling the criteria set by the EU Commission.
Habsburg does not exclude the possibility of selling back the fortress, worth an estimated 25 million euros (30 million dollars), to the Romanian state which controlled it for decades under communist rule and after.
The fastness was built in 1212 by Teutonic knights and has been linked to the historical figure of Vlad the Impaler, who inspired the myth of Count Dracula.
In 1920, it was donated by the citizens of nearby Brasov to Habsburg's grandmother Queen Marie in recognition of her contribution to the unification of Romania in 1918.
One local lady could even remember the infant Dominic from wartime schooldays.
"The children, Dominic and his sisters, were our schoolfriends," said 74 year-old Paulina Miuca. "The royal family did an enormous amount of good to our community. The queen was behind the building of the first hospital in the village."
Queen Marie left the castle to her daughter Princess Ileana of Romania, mother of Dominic von Habsburg.
Locals in the nearby village of Bran described the restitution of the property as, as one put it, "a gesture of moral reparation."
But others were concerned that the return to royal ownership might mean loss of revenue from this major tourist attraction.
"We would be delighted to see Prince Dominic and his family spending their vacation in Bran, but we hope he'll maintain the castle's tourist role that provides a livelihood to thousands," said a local hotel owner.
Pulling in a million euros a year, Bran castle is one of Romania's biggest tourist money-spinners.
"There is real fear that the castle will close its gates to the public," said one boutique owner. "It would be a catastrophe for us."
But things should be safe at least for three years. Under an agreement between the Romanians and Hapsburg, the castle will remain a museum for the next three years.
The locals have learned how to exploit the Dracula legend to draw the crowds, with a "tunnel of terror" at the castle entrance, hotels, restaurants and cafes with tables in the shape of coffins true to the theme of the Living Dead.
But what is the truth about the connection with bloodsucking Count Dracula?
"That reputation seems to be something of a myth because Vlad the Impaler doesn't seem to have passed more than just one night at the castle," said Narcis Ion, the castle's manager.
"But that night was shrouded in mystery," he added with a knowing smile."

The new owner also added that he dislikes the idea of Bran castle being associated with Dracula.

Hmm.. Bran castle brings approx. 500, 000 tourists per year to Romania. These tourists may be a great source of revenue for the new owner.

Think he will reconsider his remarks regarding Dracula??
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