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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 15:38 GMT
'Dracula Castle' put up for sale
Bran Castle in Transylvania
The castle is one of Romania's top tourist attractions
The descendants of the Habsburg monarchy have confirmed they want to sell a Transylvanian castle mythically linked to the fictional Count Dracula.

The family were turfed out of Romania's 14th-Century Bran Castle by the communists after World War II.

It was returned to them in 2006 after a long legal battle.

But now Dominic Habsburg, a New York architect and son of the late Romanian Princess Ileana, says he is willing to sell it back for $78m (40m).

The local council has said it is willing to buy the castle, one of the country's top tourist attractions.

It wants to prevent the castle being turned into a hotel or theme park, and is in the process of investigating a bank loan.

However, Romania's culture minister said the local authorities would be "stupid" to pay such a hefty price.

'Best for people'

Mr Habsburg insisted the family was "trying to find the best way to preserve the castle in the interest of the family and the people of Bran".

He said while the family welcomed the restitution of their asset, it had come with a "financial sacrifice" - the huge cost of upkeep.

"We would like Castle Bran to remain a symbol of everything that is honourable and good in Romania," he told the Associated Press.

The castle rises dramatically from the forests in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains, 170km (105 miles) north of Bucharest. It has been associated with novelist Bram Stoker's vampire Count Dracula because it is thought to have hosted the infamous Prince Vlad "the Impaler", on whom Dracula was based.

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28 Jun 02 |  Europe
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30 Sep 01 |  Europe
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