33 Neuschwanstein Castle Facts: Explore This Medieval Style Castle | Kidadl


33 Neuschwanstein Castle Facts: Explore This Medieval Style Castle

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The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century palace in southwest Bavaria, Germany.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned the palace in honor of the famous German musician Richard Wagner. The construction of this castle started in 1869; later, the castle was left incomplete.

Ludwig II was shy and wanted the castle to be his retreat and private residence, but he hardly stayed there and passed away in 1886. Neuschwanstein means 'new swan stone' and was inspired by Wagner's operas, which had a character, the Swan Knight.

The castle is constructed on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Fussen. Ludwig paid for the palace from his fortune instead of using public money. Though it was built for only one person, more than 1.5 million tourists and visitors flock there each year.

He was also known as the 'Mad King Ludwig,' or the 'Eccentric King of Bavaria,' and was born in 1845. He became a king at 18 after his father's death and did not take much interest in ruling and other kingly duties. Instead, building palaces, castles, and music interested him more.

An introverted person, Ludwig II, preferred to spend all his money on beautiful palaces for himself. Once he lost all sovereign power, he almost retreated into a fantasy kingdom. He could dream about operas, knights, and play music by Wagner in this dream world. This is why he chose to build the Neuschwanstein Castle deep in the countryside as a hideaway for himself, far away from crowds.

Where is Neuschwanstein Castle? 

Ludwig II commissioned this over-the-top castle nestled in the Bavarian Alps in 1868, and the construction began the following year.

Neuschwanstein is located in southern Germany, near Fussen.

Neuschwanstein Castle was built for only one person, King Ludwig II. It was supposed to be a recreation of the king's childhood palace, the Hohenschwangau Castle, and was initially named the same. 

The modern name, 'new swan stone,' references a character from Wagner's opera that did not exist until after Ludwig II's death.

Ludwig II was inspired by the colorful castles painted on the walls of his childhood home, the Hohenschwangau Castle. From the Neuschwanstein (or New Schwanstein) Castle, you can still see the remains of the old palace.

Some parts of the castle became inhabitable only in 1873, and a topping-out ceremony was held in 1880, but the castle was still under construction. In fact, in 1886, when the king died, Neuschwanstein Castle was still incomplete. After a few weeks of his passing, the public opened the castle as a museum.

The Neuschwanstein was not about royal representation but a comfortable retreat for a shy king. He wrote a letter to Wagner and described the location, saying that it is easily one of the most beautiful locations, and it was a true blessing to any man.

Another famous Bavarian castle, Schloss Linderhof, is close by. It is one of the three castles built by the Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria. 

History Of Neuschwanstein Castle

Originally called the New Hohenschwangau Castle, the Neuschwanstein Castle was meant to recreate the place where King Ludwig II spent his childhood.

Located in Bavaria, Germany, the Hohenschwangau Castle and the old Schwanstein Castle now sit in the shadows of the Neuschwanstein Castle.

The name of the new castle was not decided until Ludwig's death. His love for opera, and Richard Wagner specifically, was honored by naming the castle based on a character from Wagner's operas.

Many archaeologists and historians believe that the castle was built to compensate for the loss of sovereign power. After just two years of being a ruler, King Ludwig II decided to build this fairy tale castle. He lost his sovereign power to the Prussian Empire and was king only in the name after that.

The remoteness of the construction site and shortage of funds were both reasons for the slow progress of its construction. The King was also constructing other palaces, and many funds were needed.

The castle was supposed to have more than 200 rooms, but only about 12 were finished before the money ran out.

The highest tower of this castle reaches a height of 213 ft (64.9 m).

In 1886, the king was declared insane, probably to stop his irresponsible spending habits.

On June 12, 1886, he was arrested from Neuschwanstein Palace and taken to Berg Palace in Munich.

A day later, he and his psychiatrist were found dead near Lake Starnberg, Berg Palace. The ultimate cause of his demise is still not known, and at the time, he was just 41 years old. 

The castle is constructed on a rugged hill

 Architecture Of Neuschwanstein Castle

The Neuschwanstein Castle is famously called the 'Castle of Paradox.' Castles were no longer needed as strongholds, and however finished it was to look medieval, it was rather modern.

The huge structure has a walled courtyard, an indoor garden, towers, spires, and an artificial cave.

However, unlike the old castles that it was modeled after, it had running water and even flushing toilets. There was hot water for baths and in the kitchen.

The castle also had a forced-air central heating system.

An elevator connected the kitchen to the dining room three stories above.

The main bedroom in the castle is carved in the Neo-Gothic style. It is said that it took almost 4.5 years to build this room.

Scene painter Christian Jank and an architect drew the designs, Eduard Riedel translated them to architectural plans.

In 1874, Georg von Dollman succeeded Riedel as the chief architect. In 1886, Julius Hofmann took over from Georg von Dollman.

The castle's appearance is made outstanding from the outside, but much of it is still unfinished. King Ludwig II was running out of money fast but was still planning to build more castles.

A large chapel was designed inside the courtyard, but the construction for it never even began.

Ludwig only spent eleven nights in the Neuschwanstein Castle before being removed as a king. Now, visitors can take a trip of the finished portions when they visit.

The Castle Neuschwanstein was one of the most expensive castles ever made in Europe, with the construction cost almost close to 7 million Marks.

A two-story throne hall was also built but did not have a throne at the time of the king's death. The throne hall replicates a Byzantine Basilica, with stars on its blue ceiling and red porphyry columns.

As Ludwig was a patron and admirer of Richard Wagner, the wall paintings throughout the castle have legends who inspired the musician, and the name of the castle is 'Swan Stone.'

When the construction of the castle started in 1869, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who initiated the project, estimated that the building would take three years to complete.

The construction of the castle was done with modern tools and equipment. Steam engines were used to move the cranes, and the basis of the throne room had steel construction.

Not many people had telephones at the time, but Ludwig had telephones on two floors. The number of people he could call using them was, however, extremely limited.

Workers began excavating the site in 1868, but the foundation stone was laid only in 1869.

Even after he moved in, the construction was going on. The bower and the square tower were finished only in 1892, after his death.

The latest building techniques were used. The foundation was cemented, and the walls were built with bricks.

A light-colored limestone cladding gave it a medieval appearance.

What is Neuschwanstein Castle used for?

In 1918, Bavaria was announced as a republic, and the Bavarian Palace Department has managed the Neuschwanstein Castle ever since.

King Ludwig was a recluse and designed the castle as an isolated retreat for himself. Unfortunately, this was the exact reason why the castle was used to hide stolen art by the Nazis. It was the perfect spot because of a safe distance from Berlin and the Austrian border.

The Neuschwanstein Castle is nowadays only a museum, and more than 1.5 million visitors come here every year.

It is also the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle in the Walt Disney movie of the same name.

The limestone façade and blue turrets of the Neuschwanstein Castle are rumored to be the inspiration behind castles depicted in Disney movies and the famous Disney Castle at the theme park.

It is among the most visited castles globally, and Walt Disney and his wife also visited the castle before starting the movies.

The castle is also featured in the 1968 movie 'Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang,' as Baron Bomburst's castle. You would mostly recollect the visuals of the family flying over the castle singing the famous song.

Any small movement in the foundation area needs monitoring, and the sheer rock walls also need securing. The limestone façade also requires regular cleaning and repainting as it ages.

There is a plan to renovate it section by section over the years. A large number of visitors every year damages both the structure and the interior paintings and surfaces. It requires continuous work to keep it in a good state. The harsh climate is not suitable for the limestone façade.


How many died building Neuschwanstein?

King Ludwig II never saw the final Neuschwanstein Castle as he died in 1886, and a lot of construction, including the towers, was done after that. Over the years of construction, an indefinite number of workers also passed away.


How old is the Neuschwanstein Castle?

The construction of Neuschwanstein began in 1868, and by 1873, only parts of the castle were ready. It was never truly finished.


Why is the Neuschwanstein Castle so famous?

The Neuschwanstein Castle was built as a retreat for the 'Shy King' and located among the hills almost as if hidden from crowds. The King would be surprised to know the number of visitors who throng to see the Neuschwanstein Castle every year. It is famous for the story associated with its construction, its beauty, scenic location, and also its depiction in films.


What does Neuschwanstein Castle represent?

Once thought of as a vanity project by a crazy man, the Neuschwanstein Castle is now a national treasure. Ludwig used his fortunes to build the castle, where he only spent a little time before his untimely death. His vision and creativity still live on, and since it was opened to the public, it has attracted more than 60 million visitors.


Is Neuschwanstein a real castle?

Yes, it is a real castle.

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