Dracula's castle subject of dispute

Sept. 21, 2007 at 2:30 PM
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BUCHAREST, Romania, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The palace the fictitious Count Dracula called home is in the middle of a real tug-of-war between the Romanian government and the castle's owner.

A group of Romanian politicians claim the castle's handover to Archduke Dominic of Austria -- established as the rightful heir in 2006 -- was flawed because of procedural errors, The Telegraph reported Friday. The 14th-century castle that Bram Stoker's bloodthirsty vampire-count flew about was returned to Archduke Dominic after being held by Romania's communist regime for 50 years.

The group, led by lawmaker Dumitru Ioan Puchianu, isn't challenging the family claim but whether the family has a right to sell the property, with the archduke, known as Dominic von Habsburg, has been trying to do.

Von Habsburg said he's been trying to sell the Transylvanian castle after finding it wasn't suitable as a home, the British newspaper reported.

Thousands of visitors annually amble around the towers and secret passages rumored to have harbored Vlad the Impaler, known for staking his victims and leaving them to die very slow, very public deaths and said to be the model for Stoker's "Dracula."

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