May 9


Neuschwanstein Castle – “the fairytale castle”

By Frank

May 9, 2020

There is hardly a building in the world that has been photographed as often as Ludwig's fairytale castle.

The world-famous "fairytale castle" of the Bavarian King Ludwig II was built in 1869 - 1886 in the neo-Romanesque style. The king had this built on a rugged rock in a picturesque mountain setting. On September 5, 1869 , the cornerstone of the castle was laid. Work was carried out day and night on the construction site, so that in some cases more than 300 workers were on site until 1880.

Neuschwanstein Castle has an architecture that makes art historians shake their heads . Ludwig did not develop a new style of architecture , but used a historical fundus , i.e. from 17th and 18th century France, from the Germanic- medieval world of myths and from the oriental magic of fairy tales.

A model was the Wartburg Fortress . In 1867 King Ludwig visited the medieval fortress, the site of the "Singer War", which Wagner revived as an opera in his "Thannhäuser". King Ludwig was so impressed by the scene of this "war", the singers' hall , that he had this hall rebuilt in the palace.

AHA! Cool ...

More than 465 tons of Salzburg marble , almost half a million bricks and around 1600 tons of sandstone were used. In addition, more than 2000 m³ of wood was needed for scaffolding , some of which was over 60 m high . More than 40 people lost their lives during the construction. Neuschwanstein is just as lush on the inside as it is on the outside . Overloaded, somber, massive . Just like the music of Richard Wagner , which Ludwig loved so much.

"Walking through Neuschwanstein is like intoxication. So many impressions ."

" Neue Hohenschwangau Castle " (the term " Neuschwanstein" only came about after the death of the king ). It should give a better illusion of an ideal medieval castle than Hohenschwangau. The decisive factor here was the idea of completion : the "reconstruction" should be more stylish and equipped with all modern technical achievements.

By the way, the foundation stone of Neuschwanstein Castle was not found until the end of 2019 . From building plans it was clear that this is in the knight 's bath (was never completed) and behind it is a metal capsule in which the foundation stone , portraits of Ludwig II, building designs and a figure of Saint Mary can be found. An LKA demolition squad searched the walls for hours until the stone could be located. For reasons of monument protection, one does not want to remove the stone from the walls.


His Majesty was a techie

Of course, Ludwig II also wanted to be comfortable . A roaring fire in the fireplace might be romantic, but Majesty preferred state-of-the -art hot air central heating instead. A dumbwaiter ensured that the food did not get cold on the way to the king. There was running water on all floors, even hot and cold in the kitchen . The water was caught from a spring in the mountains , which then flowed throughout the castle under its own pressure .

For the time, the castle was a marvel of engineering . Even the toilets had an automatic flushing system . The toilet looked like a real throne. Rainwater was collected on the roof for flushing . Ordinary mortals at that time had less noble outhouses .

And there were even telephones and intercoms . Ludwig II could call his servants via a battery-operated bell system . They saw on a large board where he was . There were telephone connections on the upper floor, but they were the only way to reach the neighboring Hohenschwangau Castle .

Putti sled - first electrically lighted "vehicle"

Neuschwanstein Castle – “the fairytale castle”

Painting nightly sleigh ride King Ludwig II

Ludwig's putti sleigh was probably the first electrically lighted vehicle ever. The vessel's glass crown featured a lightbulb . When the nocturnal landscape was bathed in glaring light , it was almost like an apparition for simple farmers.

Miraculously, an original lightbulb from this sled survived the revolution and two wars . It is now in Regensburg, in the House of Bavarian History, and is even still functional.

Just a few years later, it was Ludwig who used the most modern technology, similar to the lighting in the Venus Grotto , for the general public. He wants to electrify the Munich National Theater. Not with carbon arc lamps, but with the much quieter light bulbs , as is proudly noted on the program of the premiere in 1885.

Even if the royal castles are best known around the world: The technology that Ludwig II introduced still characterizes Bavaria . Some of the companies that he promoted back then are now among the pillars of the Bavarian economy.

What's exciting to see?


An absolute highlight is the 15 meter high throne room, decorated in blue and gold and equipped with a beautiful mosaic floor . It is based on the style of a Byzantine basilica . The sacral-looking state room with the mighty, four meter high chandelier extends over the third and fourth floors and the entire western part of the palace. While Neuschwanstein was already being built , Ludwig II changed his plans and specifications.

For example, a modest audience room was transformed into a vast Byzantine-style throne room . State-of-the -art double-T steel girders were used here in order not to jeopardize the statics of the building. The pillars in the throne room, while looking massive, are by no means solid marble : they are made of cast-iron tubes clad in stucco marble .

choir hall

The two largest rooms in the palace are the Throne Hall and the Singers' Hall . The singers' hall is on the fourth floor in the eastern wing of the palace. The king's apartment is directly below. The example is the singers' hall of the Wartburg in Eisenbach. 27 meters long and about 10 meters wide , it is the largest room in the palace . Elements of the singer's hall are the grandstand entrance , the singer's arbor , the east wall with a row of windows, the grandstand wall with balconies above the gallery and a richly coffered ceiling .

It follows the lines of the roof structure . The hall is thus given an enormous height . The room has a wonderful spatial sound thanks to the wood paneled ceiling panels. The fields are adorned with colored and golden ornaments and depictions from the zodiac. The pictorial program of this ballroom deals with motifs from Lohengrin and the Parzival epic .


Neuschwanstein Castle – “the fairytale castle”


Maximilian II had paths and vantage points created in the Hohenschwangau area so that he could enjoy the landscape . As a birthday present for his wife Marie , who was a mountaineer, he had the " Marienbrücke" built high above the Pöllat Gorge in the 1840s. At that time it was still made of wood and gave the nature-loving queen a view of the Pöllat Gorge and the surrounding mountains.

At a height of 90 meters , the Marienbrücke swings dramatically over the Pöllat Gorge in the south-eastern Allgäu. It opens up a truly pompous view of Neuschwanstein Castle . After all, the thing is now almost 150 years old and its railings are still original .

Three years later the construction of his fairytale castle began.

At the beginning of June 1886, King Ludwig II was declared mentally ill.

It was here on June 10, 1886 that he received the news of his dismissal .

Three days later he died in Lake Starnberg. But his fairytale castle Neuschwanstein is still standing.

Neuschwanstein Castle – “the fairytale castle”

King Ludwig II

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwansteinstraße 20

87645 Schwangau

About the author

It is more valuable to experience a place in detail than many small impressions of an incomprehensible whole.

Genius Loci - discovering, capturing and experiencing the spirit of a place. Perceive - understand - enjoy!

As a graduate industrial engineer with an additional MBA degree from a renowned university in England (EMBA, EQUIS and AACSB accredited), I have been showing other, often surprising, paths to success for more than 30 years at C-Level (Head of Marketing and Sales worldwide).

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