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Dracula Theme Park to Feature Golf Course

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BUCHAREST, Romania -- A Dracula theme park that features a golf course will be built near the Romanian capital rather than deep in the Transylvania region to draw more visitors, tourism officials said. The park is scheduled to include a golf course, restaurants, hotels, a zoo and a Gothic castle with spooky effects.
 
A study by the international auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers found a park devoted to the legendary vampire would attract more than a million tourists a year if located near Bucharest. That's compared to 600,000 tourists if it were built in the Transylvanian city of Sighisoara, the initial plan.
 
``The government wants the park to be built in the most profitable location,'' said Adrian Tone, a Tourism Ministry spokesman, announcing the decision to build the park within 95 miles of the capital.
 
The auditors are to recommend an exact location by March. Romania hopes the conclusions of the PriceWaterhouse study will lure foreign investment for the park, estimated to cost at least $15.6 million.
 
Sighisoara had been the initial choice because it gave birth to the 15th-century prince Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula.
 
According to legend, the bloodthirsty prince captured invading Turks and common criminals and impaled them on stakes in public market places. That legend inspired Bram Stoker's 1897 novel of the vampire count.
 
Residents and officials in the city, 170 miles northwest of Bucharest, were unhappy with the decision. They had hoped the park would help revive the struggling local economy.
 
But Bucharest also has legendary ties to Vlad. His body is believed to be buried in a monastery he built on an island in Snagov lake, north of the capital.
 
And building the park near the capital would appease conservationists, concerned that heavy tourism and construction would damage a medieval citadel in Sighisoara and a protected oak forest.
 
Romania hopes the park will bring hundreds of thousands of Western tourists and yield annual profits of $11 million.