Romanian villagers brand Prince Charles ‘a curse’ after tourists flock to visit

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Romanian villagers brand Prince Charles ‘a curse’ after tourists flock to visit

The Prince of Wales has been criticised for overwhelming a Transylvanian village by attracting too many tourists to the area.

He had been visiting the ancient village of Viscri since 1998 in order to promote eco-tourism and traditional methods of farming.

The heir to the throne owns two traditional properties in Transylvania, most famous for being the home of the fictional Count Dracula.

He rents both out as holiday homes when not in residence.

But fed-up villagers have complained that too many tourists are flocking to visit his small 18th century farmhouse in the heart of the village, which has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Only 450 residents live there, but in recent months, they say they are being flooded with tourists.

Ursula Radu-Fernolend, 35, told the BBC that the prince’s influence has been a “blessing and a curse”.

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Resident Martin Lascu, sitting outside his farmhouse, said: “Cars are going past from early morning until late in the evening.”

He added: “Everyone is coming because of Prince Charles.”

The number of tourists visiting each year has surged – with 45,00 tourists buying tickets to visit the Lutheran 12-century church last year. 

That compares with 15,000 in 2015 and 5,000 in 2005, the BBC reports.

Many visitors are drawn to the prince’s house, with tourists flocking to take a photo outside the iconic blue property.

Guests can stay there from €129 per night, which includes a welcome drink, dinner, breakfast, and guided tours and activities.

Romanian villagers brand Prince Charles ‘a curse’ after tourists flock to visit 1

Visitors have raved about their stays, with one reviewer on TripAdvisor writing: “Stayed here for one night in a two bedroom apartment and we were blown away with how beautiful it is.

“The buildings are tastefully restored and the bedrooms are traditional yet surprisingly comfortable.
”The couple who seemed to run the place were lovely, nothing was too much trouble and the dinner was sublime.

“Watching the cows and other animals return down the road outside at 8:30 was really interesting.


“Breakfast was equally plentiful and delicious. In hindsight we wish we had stayed longer!”

Romanian villagers brand Prince Charles ‘a curse’ after tourists flock to visit 2

In 2011, business owners praised the Prince of Wales for attracting visitors to the tiny village .

Count Tibor Kalnoky, who manages the Prince’s Romanian properties, told the Telegraph: “The fact that His Royal Highness personally owns a house in the village has put it on the map.

“Many guesthouses have opened since in the region, and locals and gipsies are now involved in activities generating income, like producing crafts which are to be sold to visitors.”

Anisia Stanculescu, a guesthouse owner, said the gipsy population were grateful for the surge in visitors.

She said: “Prince Charles is good for the gipsies.

Romanian villagers brand Prince Charles ‘a curse’ after tourists flock to visit 3

“They can sell things like traditional handmade socks, brandy and jam to the tourists, get money to improve their homes.”

Coronavirus restrictions on foreign tourists means the villagers have seen a surge in domestic tourism – leading to more cars on the road.

Now Cristian Radu, who is running for Mayor, has called for tourists to stop driving into the village, unless they are elderly or disabled.

Prince Charles’s bloodline has been linked to Vlad III, the Prince of Wallachia, known as Vlad the Impaler.

The tyrant was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Gothic horror novel Dracula.

In 2011 The Royal joked: ““Transylvania is in my blood.

“The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I have a bit of a stake in the country.”

In 2015, the Prince of Wales Foundation Romania was officially launched.

The foundation is an educational charity which aims to support agriculture and sustainable development in Romania in order to preserve rural heritage.

In a BBC Radio 4 show that year, Prince Charles said his trips to the Transylvanian countryside have inspired his work in the UK to preserve the wildflower meadows of Britain.

Talking about his love of Romania and the traditional farming methods, the Royal said: “I hadn’t been aware just how extraordinary this part of the world is with all its biodiversity, the wildflower meadows.

“It just seemed to me, particularly this area of the Carpathian mountains, to be literally the last unspoilt, untouched area.”

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