When people think about castles, they usually imagine formidable fortresses that guarded kings and queens during the Middle Ages. Game of Thrones or fairy tales like Cinderella might also come to mind.
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By the 19th century, castles were no longer military assets, but the idea of castles still sparked awe and wonder, especially among the well-to-do. In 1869, King Ludwig II of Bavaria ordered the construction of Neuschwanstein Castle near the Austrian border. The palace is a wonderful example of the Romanesque Revival style, which revels in nostalgia for an imagined, picturesque past. King Ludwig was also a Wagner aficionado and was said to have built the castle in his honor.
Rather than using significant amounts of public money to construct the palace, Ludwig used his own money and personal loans for the construction of his pet project. He racked up millions of marks worth of debt and the construction costs were over twice as much as the original estimate. In spite of the bill and Ludwig’s grand plans, only 14 rooms (albeit opulent rooms) are completely finished and open to visitors. While Neuschwanstein nearly bankrupted Ludwig, it’s available to you for a mere very low price per visit!
Unfortunately for King Ludwig II, he died under mysterious circumstances after spending only 11 nights in his new citadel. Ludwig died on June 13th, 1886 at the age of 40. Although his death was officially ruled a suicide by drowning, some speculate that he was murdered by political enemies. While Ludwig was unable to fully enjoy the fruits of his labors (well, other people’s labors), Neuschwanstein opened to the public the same year Ludwig died.
Because Neuschwanstein is tucked away in the mountains, the castle survived both World Wars practically unscathed. Ironically, the closest the castle came to destruction wasn’t due to Allied bombing raids but to a Nazi SS plot to destroy the castle so the Allies wouldn’t take control of the complex (along with the works of art the Nazis stored within its walls). Luckily for future generations, the plans were never realized and the castle was handed over to Allied forces undamaged. In another bizarre stroke of luck, the castle had a near miss with a meteorite that crashed to Earth in a nearby town on April 6th, 2002. The three fragments of the meteorite were named after the castle.
Rumor has it that Neuschwanstein directly inspired Walt Disney when he was creating his own mystical fairy tale worlds for Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Disney’s iconic Californian castle bears a striking resemblance to Neuschwanstein, with its bright white limestone facade and blue turrets. Disney and his wife visited the site during a vacation in Europe.
Neuschwanstein remains a popular tourist attraction to this day. Over 1.3 million people visit the site annually, taking in the sweeping views of the surrounding alpine scenery and the grandeur of the castle’s ornamentation. The site is swamped during the summer months, with the number of recorded daily visitors reaching 6,000. Visitors looking to avoid crowds may wish to visit in the off-season when the mountains are covered in snow or the trees are changing colors. If you time your trip correctly, you might also be able to squeeze in a visit to nearby Oktoberfest celebrations.
We hope you have learned some pretty fun and amazing facts today about Castle Neuschwanstein. Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions you may have. We love hearing from our visitors and readers, and if you have any great tips about visiting the castle, please submit your tips. We also ask that you take some time to visit our sponsor if you need a fence contractor in Wylie.