BUCHAREST, Romania – 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 castle, worth an estimated $25 million, 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 will be transferred on Friday to Dominic van Hapsburg, a New York architect who inherited the castle from Princess Ileana decades after the communists seized it, minister Adrian Iorgulescu told a news conference.
Van Hapsburg is a descendant of the Hapsburg dynasty which ruled Romania for a period starting in the late 17th century.
While known and marketed as “Dracula’s Castle,” it 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.