Dracula castle returns to bloodline





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 hand-over ceremony will take place Friday noon in the 14th century castle's museum deep within the fortress in Transylvania, said minister Adrian Iorgulescu at a news conference.

The castle, worth an estimated $25 million (19.6 million euros), 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 was inherited by Dominic van Hapsburg, a New York architect who will be at the ceremony on Friday, said Iorgulescu. The Hapsburgs ruled Romania for a period starting in the late 17th century. Under the agreement, the owner will not be allowed to make any changes to the castle for the next three years, Iorgulescu said.

Restoration work began in the late 1980s and was partially completed in 1993. It is now one of Romania's top tourist destinations.



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