Built in a Romanesque Revival style, Neuschwanstein is a castle straight out of a fairytale. Surrounded by forests, Neuschwanstein Castle lies on a rugged hilltop above the village of Hohenschwangau at the base of the Alps, near Füssen, in Southwest Bavaria. During the Middle Ages, three castles surrounded the village: Schwanstein Castle, Vorderhohenschwangau Castle and Hinterhohenschwangau Castle. When the latter two fell into ruin, King Ludwig II ordered them replaced by a new castle. Construction of this magnificent new palace – Neuschwanstein – began in 1869.
Neuschwanstein will always be associated with the man who ordered its construction, King Ludwig II, a monarch known for his “mad” ideas. Rather than focus on ruling the kingdom, King Ludwig II was obsessed with romantic ideals, literature and arts. The castle’s design was influenced by the character of the Swan Knight in Richard Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin”. Inside, visitors can see frescos of scenes from Wagner’s operas. In German, Neuschwanstein means “a new Swan Stone”. The castle was built as a romantic vision of a medieval German castle. Sadly, King Ludwig II died in 1886, after having lived in the castle for just 172 days. At the king’s death, the Rectangular Tower was still covered with scaffolding. A simplified version of the Bower was completed in 1892. Just six weeks after the king’s death, the castle that was his pride and joy was opened to visitors.
Neuschwanstein Castle features a magnificent setting. The architecture and finishings are eclectic, mixing Roman, Gothic and Byzantine styles, golden textiles and Byzantine marbles. The luxury and elegance leave a lasting impression on visitors. More than a century later, Neuschwanstein has retained its eternal beauty.
While France has Versailles and England boasts Buckingham Palace, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of Germany’s most iconic sites, evoking visions of a fairytale princess awaiting her true-love’s kiss.