Neuschwanstein the fairytale castle
Beauty of Bavaria
My trip to Bavaria
I was really fortunate to be able to visit one of the worlds most beautiful castles last November. (2010). The snow had arrived and this gave it an eerie presence which just added to the beauty and excitement of the trip.
The fairytale castle is called Schloss Neuschwanstein ("New Swan Stone Castle") and is one of the most beautiful and famous castles situated at the foot of the Bavarian alps in Germany. The castle overlooks the valley of Hohenschwangau near the town of Fussen.
The castle was built for the young King Ludwig II who was a perfectionist to the extreme and also remembered for being slightly mad or “ away with the fairies” if you like!
There is no doubt that when you step inside this castle you are entering a world of make believe and one of fairytales. This is reflected in several childrens stories and Walt Disney has based the building of his fairytale castle on Neuschwanstein which can be seen in Disneyland parks around the world. Chitty Chitty bang bang flies over this magical castle giving you a wonderful birds eye view of the magical castle.
The building of the castle began in 1869, and although the inspiration comes from a childish dream there is no sign of this when looking at the work that has gone into detail. King Ludwig II, was so particular about the workmanship that it took 14 wood carving specialists of the time, four and a half years just to complete the woodwork in Ludwig's bedroom. His love of swans is apparent as you can see them carved with precision everywhere throughout the castle.The King was also a great follower of Richard Wagner and tapestries depicting scenes from Wagner's opera can also be seen.
The strange behavior of King Ludwig II resulted in him being called the “ mad king” although some prefer to remember him more as an eccentric who created ahead of his time.
Ludwig was known to keep himself to himself often being isolated from the outside world, caring little for his royal duties. Building this fairytale, dream castle was his passion and one that was to cost him dearly.
Decoration throuout the castle reflects his love of fantasy and colour, every inch of the floor and walls are painted, carved or decorated but when it comes to style there is no consistency which only makes this castle more interesting to visit.
The throne room is in the centre of the castle but there is no throne to be found although the marble stairs were built leading up to where it should have been placed. The chandelier in the room is huge made from gilded brass and has room for 96 candles.
This castle was never completed, only fourteen rooms of the planned sixty five were completed and are well worth the trip to see them. Although this cannot be seen from the outside as the castle was completed to the exact design .
The Neuschwanstein masterpiece came to a halt in 1886 as Ludwig faced debt and public criticism.
Nobody really knows the true story today as to whether he committed suicide or whether he was murdered .
His body and the body of his physician was found in the nearby lake where they were assumed to be drowned.
Although the building of the castle led to debt and criticism , today it attracts so many tourists each year that it must have paid back the cost of building many times over and can only be thought of as a jewel in the hillside.