If you prefer your houses large, drafty, and associated with vampire lore, then now's your chance to bid for Bran Castle. The castle isn't technically up for sale, the owners insist, but they're willing to entertain offers from the "right" people. Buyer beware though — this isn't the only castle purporting to be Dracula's.
The confusion comes from the fact that, well duh, Count Dracula is fictional. Bram Stoker never set foot in Bran Castle — he never even visited Romania while writing his book. But as Dracula soared into into the pop culture canon, people took a look around and decided this particular castle on a remote hilltop between Transylvania and Wallachia best fit the vampiric bill.
Well, there's a tangential historical connection, too. Stoker's took the name Dracula from the family name of the Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century nobleman with a especial reputation for cruelty. (As you would surely expect with an epithet like "the Impaler.") Vlad was once imprisoned for two months in Bran Castle. By that same token, Corvin Castle (where he was also imprisoned) and Poenari Castle (where he lived) both lay claim to being Dracula's castle.
A view from inside Bran Castle
But Bran Castle is the best preserved, and it's carefully positioned itself as a tourist attraction. Today, it houses a museum and lures in visitors with hints of the Dracula tale. Putting fiction aside for a moment, the castle has plenty of real history, having passed through the hands of Teutonic knights and Romanian royalty.
The current owners have offered Bran Castle to the Romanian government for $US80 million, according to the Telegraph. That's a lot of money for a building without any real plumbing, but that's just how castles are, right? [The Telegraph, Washington Post]