A Curious King and His Castle(s)
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most popular and beautiful palaces of Germany, situated in southwest Bavaria. It dates back to the 19th century, when it was constructed on a rugged hill near Hohenschwangau and Füssen. The castle was built specifically for one person and yet that one person spent a total of 11 nights in the castle itself.
The castle was built for King Ludwig II in 1869 as an homage to his muse, the composer Richard Wagner .. Ludwig [had] not only beautiful tastes, but also a beautiful and gentle mind. The theme of the castle was based on the German legends of the Swan Knight. Neuschwanstein literally means “new swan stone” and swans play a [major] theme throughout motifs and murals within the castle. This even includes a curious little private grotto, a stalactite cave, that is located between the living room and study. These were in romantic vogue at the time, so naturally King Ludwig had to have one!
The reason the castle looks so impressive, is that it was curiously designed by a theatrical professional, Christian Jank, and not an architectural expert. It is so magnificent that it was one of the finalists in the selection of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The reason behind the curious construction of this wonderful place? Well, King Ludwig was a bit … odd really. But in the most romantic and harmless sense! and little freedom of action.
He was a constitutional monarch [and] For this reason he built a fantasy world around him in which – curiously far removed from reality – he could feel he was a real king. From 1875 on he lived at night and slept during the day. He even traveled at night, most of the time in period costumes and with the latest technology for his sleighs and elaborate coaches. He often had curious dinner parties with long dead monarchs such as Louis XIV and even had a special, disappearing table constructed so he and his “guests” wouldn’t be disturbed by the servants changing the courses. He obsessed with legends of the Holy Grail, tried to strangle his brother as a youth, and you may remember him from this previous reblog about his curious death.
EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that the images of the Grotto (images 2 and 3) are in fact NOT part of Neuschwanstein Castle but in fact a feature of another of Ludwig’s architectural feats: Linderhof Palace, which is similarly beautiful! That said, I’ll leave the images as there are because they still demonstrate Ludwig’s … quirkiness!
[Image sources: Image 1 : Image 2 (Grotto) : Image 3 (Grotto) : Image 4 (King’s Bedchamber) : Image 5]