Bran Castle returned to the Habsburg family

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The Bran Castle on Monday was returned to the Habsburg family as the take over document was signed at noon, lawyer to the Habsburg family Corin Trandafir told Agerpres.
Thus, three years after court restitution, during which time it was administered by the Romanian Government, the Bran Castle is now privately operated.
The castle will officially open to the public on June 1, with the inauguration tour to include a private visit of the castle and the launch of the Chateau-Bran-Merlot 2007 limited vintage wine edition (10,410 bottles) and the Cabernet Sauvignon vintage wine edition (1,377 bottles, all carrying the original signature of Dominic of Habsburg.
The castle will be open to the public as from June 1, 09:00-18:00. A special programme for children called ‘The Mediaeval School’ will start off at Bran, with the inauguration, with heraldic and icon painting workshops, as well as epee handling and archery lessons.
Trandafir says the redecoration of the castle was made using items from the private collections of the Habsburgs, plus some new items. For one month, the visit hours of the castle were modified to allow items from the castle to be moved to the Mediaeval Customs Museum and the redecoration of the castle with items brought in by Dominic of Habsburg.
The Mediaeval Customs Museum, in the vicinity of the castle, will be inaugurated on May 31 by Culture Ministry officials, Bran Museum Compound Director Dorin Ioan Narcis told Agerpres. A special moment in the inauguration of the new Mediaeval Customs Museum is the importation of the case containing the heart of Queen Maria.
The heart, stored in a small case brought by Queen Maria from England, to be enwrapped in the flag of the queen, will stay at Bran throughout 2013, when the Bran Customs will also be returned to Dominic of Habsburg. The case will be displayed in a special niche in Queen Maria’s bedroom. Alongside the cased heart, an icon donated by Queen Ana in May 2007 to Romania’s National Museum of History and now loaned out to the Bran Castle, will be exhibited.
‘I would have liked the collections belonging to the Romanian State to stay at the castle, but financing a castle without gaining any benefits is unconceivable. The Habsburg family have not displayed the flexibility I would have expected, but they said they want the castle to be open to the public and maybe bought back. Talks will take long to complete, and I insist that an objective evaluation should be made agreed upon by both parties,’ says Romanian Culture Minister Theodor Paleologu.
The Bran Castle was returned in court to Dominic of Habsburg in May 2006. Dominic is the son of Archduke Anton of Habsburg and Princess Ileana of Romania, the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Maria. As a member of the Habsburg-Lothringen lineage of the Habsburg House, he inherited the titles of Archduke of Austria and Grand Duke of Toscana.
The Bran Castle is one of Romania’s main tourist highlights, attracting foreign visitors because of its association with fiction character Count Dracula. The first records of the castle date to November 1377.
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