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Germany

New Pope's Childhood Home For Sale

The house in southern Germany where Pope Benedict XVI was born is on the market, as the present owner is fed up with the hordes of tourists who have come to gape at the property since his election. Claudia Dandl has said she wants to sell the house, on the market square in the Bavarian village of Marktl, to the highest bidder. But the town has the first rights to the property which it wants to turn into a museum. Joseph Ratzinger, son of Joseph and Maria Ratzinger, was born on April 16, 1927 in the large house, built in typical southern Bavarian style, with a wide wooden roof, geraniums on the window sills and white and yellow painted facade. Since Cardinal Ratzinger's election as pope on April 19, faithful from around the world have descended on the village of 2,700 inhabitants, close to the Austrian border. Tourists who insist on visiting the house have made life miserable for Dandl, who bought the house six years ago and lovingly restored it. The two-storey house, which was built in 1745 and on a list of protected buildings, would normally fetch about 150,000 euros ($180,000) but the papal connection looks set to inflate the price. Last month, Ratzinger's old Volkswagen went for nearly a quarter of a million dollars on the online auction site eBay Germany. And a month ago, the pope's former apartment in Bonn went on sale on the Internet. Meanwhile, Marktl Mayor Hubert Gschwendtner said the town would like to acquire the property and convert it into a museum. "We would like to open the pope's home to the faithful," he said. Gschwendtner's dream is that the pope would return to Marktl for the official opening.

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