It is perhaps the most recognized of all tourist attractions in Germany. It is also referred to as a fairy tale castle or Germany’s Disney castle. It does boast of having an interesting history.
Interesting Facts About Neuschwanstein Castle
- Construction work took 7 times much longer time than expected: Bavaria’s King Ludwig II had initiated the construction of this castle in 1869 planning to complete it within 3 years. However, precarious building site and ambitious designs only prolonged its duration.
- Castle built just to compensate sovereign power loss: This fairytale palace was planned to be built, as just after completing 2 years, as a rule, King Ludwig II had to meet the demands of the Prussian Empire and gave up his sovereign power. Bavaria had been compelled to accept ‘offensive & defensive’ alliance, thereby removing army control from the king if there is any war. For reaffirming his loyalty, the Bavarian king had planned to build palaces and kings to feel like a king, although no strategic advantage could be derived from its construction. It was merely for aesthetic purpose.
- Wagner’s opera inspired decorations: Majority of the pictures that were used in the castle has been inspired by Richard Wagner’s operas. The castle’s wall painting themes comprised of stories that depicted guilt, love, salvation and penance. Wagner was a close friend of King Ludwig II as well as his benefactor. The king is known to have dedicated this castle to the composer.
- King never survived to get a glimpse of the fully completed creation: Although in 1884, the king shifted his residence to the castle, he never actually enjoyed its full completion due to numerous setbacks and delays. The square tower and bower remained incomplete even until 1892, which is 24 years later. Unfortunately, the king before his death had accumulated substantial debts. The castle was opened up for the public to have a glimpse of it, just to pay off his debts. It was converted into a museum, only seven weeks after the king’s death.
- Inspiration for Disney Castle: Its fairytale architecture had inspired Walt Disney a lot, such that he used this castle in his 1950 cartoon movie, the Cinderella’s Castle. Neuschwanstein is what Disney’s logo is based upon, which is shown prior to every Disney movie & Disneyland Paris’ Sleeping Beauty Castle and Disneyworld Florida’s Cinderella Castle.From Munich, an hour’s drive takes us deep into Southern Bavaria. It’s a timeless land of manicured fields,
painted buildings, content cows and characteristic onion-domed churches. This is a playground for people enjoying the good life at the foothills of the Alps. And it’s a land of fairy-tale castles. And the most spectacular,
the castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, aka, “Mad King Ludwig.”
He grew up here in the Hohenschwangau Castle. Ludwig then built his dream castle, Neuschwanstein, a 15-minute hike away. The castles are hugely popular and they’re tourable only by appointment with a guided tour.
Tickets are sold at the kiosk in the valley floor. To avoid long lines, arrive early, or better yet, call in advance for a tour reservation. Hohenschwangau Castle, Ludwig’s boyhood home, looks much like it did in 1836. It’s the more lived-in and historic of the two castles, giving a better glimpse at Ludwig’s life.
The banquet hall is slathered in epic German myths. Germany became one united country only in 1871.
As if to bolster its legitimacy, this young nation dug deep into its murky medieval past. These heroes and legends inspired young King Ludwig to build his fanciful castles, Richard Wagner to compose his ultraromantic operas, and Germans to believe their nation was deeply rooted in history.
Politically, the frustrating reality of young King Ludwig was to rule, either as a pawn of Prussia or a pawn of Austria, the two dominant Germanic countries. Rather than deal with the politics of Munich, romantic Ludwig escaped here to the peace and comfort of Hohenschwangau. Ludwig ruled Bavaria for 23 years until his death in 1886. His best friends were Romantic artists, like the great composer Wagner, whom Ludwig idolized.
Neuschwanstein Castle is just up the hill. It looks medieval but it’s only about as old as the Eiffel Tower. Built-in the late 1800s, it’s a textbook example of the Romantic style, popular at the time.
The castle’s interior is decorated with misty medieval themes: Brave knights, fair maidens and scenes from Wagnerian operas. Ludwig personified this Romantic age. Longing for the natural beauty and emotion of an earlier time, he built his medieval fantasy on the hilltop, not for defensive reasons, but because he liked the view. King Ludwig intended to take a seat on a gold and ivory throne. The religious Ludwig was fascinated by things Byzantine.
Just a few months after he moved into Neuschwanstein, Ludwig, who was already planning to build an even more extravagant castle, was declared mentally unfit to rule. Two days later, he was found dead in a lake.
People still debate, was it murder or suicide. But nobody complains any longer about the extravagant cost of his fanciful castles. In fact, within six weeks of his funeral, tourists were already paying to visit them,
and they’re still coming.
This castle is definitely a fascinating place to visit for all ages.