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Pope's Birthplace to Fetch Fortune

DW staff / AFP (dc)July 16, 2005

The modest Bavarian home that was the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI is up for grabs, but you'd have to be seriously wealthy to buy it. Bidders include an oil sheikh, and the price has skyrocketed into the millions.

Yours for $11 million...or moreImage: AP

The sale price for the Bavarian house in the town of Marktl where Pope Benedict XVI was born could reach nearly $11 million (9 million euros), a spokeswoman for the real estate agency handling the property said Friday.

The two-storey house, which was built in 1745 and on a list of protected buildings, has drawn more than 400 offers since it went on the market last month, the spokeswoman, Victoria Rauh, told AFP.

Negotiations have started with 20 potential buyers from as far afield as the United States and the United Arab Emirates, where a real estate company owned by an oil-rich sheikh has reportedly expressed interest.

The property was valued at 150,000 euros, but appreciated dramatically with Ratzinger's newfound fame. The current offers for the property reach from 1 million to 9 million euros.

The village of 2,700 inhabitants near the Austrian border has the right of first refusal on the property "but doesn't have a lot of money," Rauh said.

On the pilgrim route

Jubel in Deutschland über Papstwahl
Marktl children wave small flags as they celebrate in front of Ratzinger's birth place, seen in background, in Marktl, southern Bavaria, Germany, Tuesday, April 19, 2005 after Marktl-born German Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected new Pope.Image: AP

The current owner, Claudia Dandl, decided to move out after hordes of pilgrims began descending on her home in the small village of Martkl am Inn after Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope on April 19.

She has requested that the buyer open the house to the public and bidders are being vetted based on their plans for the property.

"The right buyer will be the one with the best plan to accommodate the pilgrims," Rauh said.

Joseph Ratzinger, son of Joseph and Marie 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.

In May, his old Volkswagen went for nearly a quarter of a million dollars on the online auction site eBay Germany.