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Dracula Theme Park Planned

April 1, 2002

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ A Dracula theme park in the heart of Transylvania has attracted enough investment for the project to go ahead, the Romanian government said Monday.

Tourism Minister Dan Matei Agathon said that by Monday investors had bought $2.9 million worth of stock, more than 60 percent needed by law for the project to proceed.

The park is to be built in the medieval Transylvanian city of Sighisoara _ the hometown of 15th century prince Vlad the Impaler, who inspired novelist Bram Stoker’s ``Dracula″ novel. Vlad earned his nickname because of his penchant for impaling captured Turks and other enemies on stakes.

The park plans have sparked concerns among conservationists who claim a medieval citadel in the vicinity of the park might be damaged by tourists. Religious leaders fear the park could draw Satanists to Romania.

The park will include amusement rides, a golf course, a Gothic castle wired with spooky effects, a zoo, horseback riding, restaurants and shops, all encircled by a miniature train line.

The initial public offering of nearly $5 million was launched in November, but the deadline was extended to April 3 after sales didn’t meet the targets required by law.

The Romanian unit of Greece’s Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. SA has agreed to invest in the park, as has Austrian brewer Brau Union AG in exchange for exclusive rights for the sale of drinks.

The park, to be privately funded, will cost about $15 million, with another $19 million needed for infrastructure improvements. Some of the money will be used to restore the city’s 15th century fortress and ramparts.

Sighisoara is 180 miles northwest of Bucharest.

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