While every medieval fortress is a treasure trove of history, some are such cultural icons that they are virtually priceless. England’s Tower of London and Windsor Castle are such landmarks, and merely suggesting a price tag for either of those would be unthinkable.
Not so is Bran Castle in Romania. Archduke Dominic von Habsburg, a New York architect and grandson of King Ferdinand I of Romania, put the castle up for sale in 2007. It is historically important as a the home of Romainian royalty, including Ferdinand’s wife, Queen Marie. It was seized by Romania’s communist regime in 1948 and only recently retroceded to Archduke Dominic.
You may know Bran Castle by a different name, after a more infamous occupant. It’s also called Castle Dracula.
Its association with Count Dracula is tenuous. The castle was briefly occupied in 1459 by Vlad III, the historical figure on whom Bram Stoker’s famous vampire was based.
While the Archduke’s original asking price was a mere $78 million, and even then he would only sell with the promise that the castle would be treated with due respect, the New York investment firm expected to sell it for over $135 million. That asking price would have made it the most expensive castle in the world.
The sale never happened, however, and the Archduke has instead turned Castle Bran into a museum dedicated to Queen Marie and the royal family.