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Prince Charles helps boost Transylvania

Sept. 18, 2006 at 3:47 PM

LONDON, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Britain's Prince Charles is looking for a house in Transylvania, the part of Romania associated with his distant relative Vlad the Impaler.

The prince has no plans to move to Romania, The Telegraph reports. But he is a patron of the Mihai Eminescu Trust, which has renovated medieval houses and churches in Transylvania and works to keep traditional crafts alive.

Charles reportedly plans to buy a house in Viscri, the village where the trust is headquartered, have it restored and then rent it to tourists to help build sustainable tourism in the area.

Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century ruler in what is now Romania, helped hold off the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. While he was known for his bloodthirsty dealings with his enemies, he is a national hero in Romania.

Bram Stoker used Vlad, who supposedly ate bread soaked in his enemies' blood, as a model for Dracula. Charles' great-grandmother, Queen Mary, was said to be related to Vlad's family.

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