The Neuschwanstein castle, situated on a mountain side on the border of the German state of Bavaria, was built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It inspired the fantasy Disney castles of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. (When I first read this I immediately saw the resemblance, as I am sure you will.)
It was built in the late nineteenth century in Romanesque style. King Ludwig was an ardent admirer of Richard Wagner, the great 20th century composer, and so the castle became a tribute to the composer. He had all the rooms decorated with paintings from Wagner’s operas, including the theatre, which permanently had an opera painted on it’s stage.
The castle, which consists of 65,000 sq ft, has about 15 rooms. These include the throne room, Ludwig’s suite, singer’s hall and a grotto. However, the castle was left unfinished, due to the king’s death and a loss of funds. Had it been completed, the Neuschwanstein castle would have had more than 200 rooms.
This castle was also fitted with the latest luxuries:
- a battery-powered bell
- telephone lines
- an oven that gave forth hot air that powered the central heating system
- running warm water
- toilets with automatic flushing
The exterior of the castle is a wonder to behold. It was painted several different colors. The gatehouse, through which you enter the castle, was built with red bricks, while other parts are yellow. There are also several tall pinnacles, towers, balconies, and gables. This is a Romantic castle, not a castle from previous periods built for fortification.
Neuschwanstein was built with the king’s own funds. However, they soon ran out and the king began to spend from several credit accounts. But as the king began to demand more and more luxuries for the castle, the budget exploded as it reached more than 14 million marks (roughly 7 million U.S. dollars today). And soon after, the king mysteriously died. This leads one to think that he might have been assassinated because of his uncontrolled spending on the castle. Thus, the beautiful castle was left unfinished in some parts of the interior.
I really love this castle. It is beautiful and mysterious. All German castles are special, but the Neuschwanstein castle is my favorite.