Mortgage from the blood bank? Make your best offer on Dracula's Castle
Goths and vampires looking for a new home might consider making an offer for Dracula's Castle in Romania. Just be careful with any contract you sign.
The real estate market can be a bloodthirsty business, especially when a castle named after a famous vampire is potentially up for grabs. Dracula's Castle, officially called Bran Castle, is located on a remote Romanian hilltop between the borders of Transylvania and Wallachia. The castle isn't technically for sale, but its owners are willing to consider an offer -- if the price is right.
While Bran Castle has been called home by Teutonic knights, Hungarian kings, and Romanian royalty, its most interesting lore is that Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia -- also referred to as Vlad the Impaler and son of Vlad II Dracul -- was imprisoned inside the castle for two months.
Even though it's referred to as Dracula's Castle, the Bran Castle website is quick to point out that Vlad the Impaler's actual castle is now in ruins in the Principality of Wallachia. But because Bran Castle is the only castle left near Transylvania that fits author Bram Stoker's description of the home of fictional vampire Dracula (who's name is directly influenced by Vlad the Impaler), it is referred to as Dracula's Castle.
Stoker described the Count's ominous castle through his character Jonathan Harker's eyes as "on the very edge of a terrific precipice... eye can reach is a sea of green tree tops, with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm. Here and there are silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests."
Ironically, Stoker never visited Romania and based his description on whatever travel books and materials he could find including Charles Boner's book, "Transylvania: Its Product and Its People."
"Visitors to Bran Castle should make the distinction between the historic reality of Bran and the character of the Count in Bram Stoker's novel," the Bran Castle website states. "Dracula exists in the imagination."
While the castle isn't for sale, its owners would consider an offer if the price -- and the buyers -- were right, attorney Mark Meyer confirmed with CNET sister site CBSNews. His firm, Herzfeld & Rubin, helped the current owners regain possession of the property in 2009. The owners would consider a buyer "if it were an interesting offer and they were the right people," Meyer said, adding, "It doesn't have to do with class, it has to do with who will preserve the castle."
Granted owning your own castle may initially sounds like a romantic getaway, it does come with its own pitfalls like questionable plumbing, a truly remote locale (good luck getting a pizza delivery truck to find you), and an endless array of tourists wearing plastic fangs beating down your doors to take Goth selfies.
According to the Telegraph, 560,000 people visit the castle yearly, so buyers of the castle will have to accommodate tourists hoping to sink their teeth in the castle's dark mythology.
Bran Castle is currently used as a tourist museum displaying a collection of art and antique furniture from its previous owner Queen Marie of Romania, however the current owners, Archduke Dominic von Habsburg and his sisters Archduchess Maria Magdalena and Archduchess Elisabeth, would consider an offer if the right person comes along to take it off their hands.
"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," Meyer told The Telegraph.
It's been reported by news sources that Archduke Dominic proposed selling Bran Castle to the Romanian government for a mere $80 million, but Meyer isn't revealing if the castle's price tag has currently gone down.
"What you have to remember is that this castle is the real thing," Meyer told The Telegraph. "We don't need men going around dressed up in old-fashioned costumes; the place speaks for itself."
CBS MoneyWatch's Aimee Picchi contributed to this report.
Update, 2:06 p.m. PT: Clarifies that the Dracula's castle is not officially for sale, but its owners would consider selling the castle if the right offer came along.