New Wonder of the World Runner-Up: Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein

The fairy tale castle of Neuschwanstein was a Runner-Up for New Wonders of the World. It is a Romanesque Revival palace built in the 19th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1886) near the village of Hohenschwangau in Bavaria, Germany.

King Ludwig II

When Ludwig came to power in 1864, the construction of a new palace in place of the two ruined castles became the first in his series of palace building projects. Ludwig himself called the new palace New Hohenschwangau Castle– after the original castle located there.  The king saw both buildings as representatives of a romantic interpretation of the Middle Ages as well as the musical mythology of his friend Richard Wagner.

The Castle in Winter

The castle was intended to give Ludwig a home away from the capital of Munich where he could live in his concept of a castle of medieval knight of the Middle Ages. The cost of Neuschwanstein and his other palaces, however, put him deeply in debt.  When the government decided to depose him, he and the man sent to hold him were discovered dead in a nearby lake.   He lived in his castle only 172 days.

The Grotto

After Ludwig’s death it was renamed Neuschwanstein and opened to the paying public. The palace survived two World Wars and  served until 1944 as a depot for Nazi plunder from France. At the end of the war the German Reichbank deposited gold in the palace, which in the last days of the war was taken to an unknown place. Today, it is one of the most popular castles in Europe with more than a million visitors each year.  It was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Disneyland Castle for Sleeping Beauty.

The Throne Room

Tomorrow, Red Square   Rita Bay

2 Comments

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2 responses to “New Wonder of the World Runner-Up: Neuschwanstein

  1. Thank you for the historical context of Lugwig II’s massive construction. He was definitely assassinated for his folly and massive expenditures upon Bayern, among other dalliances. I look forward to reading your other postings!

    • Thanks so much, John. The palace is startling. The pictures don’t convey the ostentation of the interior, especially the grotto. Ludwig was the “King of Bling” in the architecural arena. ALthough Ludwig initially spent his own money, his massive building programs sent him deep into debt. As for his death, the fact that he’d been in the pay of Otto von Bismarck of Prussia for about 15 years might have been a factor in his proposed deposition. RB

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