Top 10 Facts About the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany


 

The Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany looks like it was lifted right out of the page of a fairy tale! This castle is built on a Cliffside, giving it an imposing silhouette. It is crowned with magnificent towers and turrets and beautiful frescoes.

The Neuschwanstein Castle translates to ‘New Swan Stone Castle’. This castle is one of the most visited attractions in Bavaria, receiving at least 1.5 million visitors annually. These top 10 facts about the Neuschwanstein Castle may just reveal why.

1. Hohenschwangau Castle was the inspiration behind the Neuschwanstein Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle- by Lokilech – Wikimedia Commons

King Ludwig II commissioned the building of the Neuschwanstein Castle in an attempt to recreate the Hohenschwangau Castle which he grew up in. The architecture and interior décor of the Neuschwanstein Castle, therefore, has a lot of similarities to the one the King grew up in such as the artworks therein that depict the characters of kings, knights, poets, and lovers.

King Ludwig II in fact called the Neuschwanstein Castle ‘Nueu Burg Hohenschwangau’.His childhood castle and his own built castle are not far away from each other. The King was looking to have a little haven of his own in the Bavaria neck of the woods.

2. King Ludwig II never got to see the complete Neuschwanstein Castle

King Ludwig II- by Ferdinand von Piloty – Wikimedia Commons

A sad irony that King Ludwig II did not see the Neuschwanstein Castle despite wanting it so much and having such a clear vision of it, down to the interior decor. In fact, the Castle was fully named only after his death. Work on the Castle began in 1868 and progress was made bit by bit.

The King however got to make the decision to occupy its completed parts if he so wished as they were complete. The final areas of the castle were complete in 1892, way after King Ludwig II passed on.

3. The Neuschwanstein Castle is barely half complete

Throne room at the Neuschwanstein Castle- by Joseph Albert- Wikimedia Commons

While the Neuschwanstein Castle is magnificent and open to the public for viewing, funds to this luxurious project were cut off only after about 12 rooms out of the intended 200 were complete! It is mind-boggling to imagine what could have been if the architectural ambition for it was realized.

Some of the missing pieces of the puzzle are the long columns along the sides of the Knights’ House which are empty, as well as a large chapel and keep inside the courtyard that was never embarked on.

King Ludwig II died young at age 40 and had spent only 11 nights at his castle by then. Had he lived, he would have competed the extravagant Neuschwanstein castle and definitely built some more as he loved to build.

4. The Neuschwanstein Castle is a tourist magnet

Picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle- by Preetam Chakraborty- Wikimedia Commons

Despite its state of fragmentation, the Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most popular Castles or palaces in Europe. It receives at least 1.4 million visitors annually- about 6,000 passing through rooms intended for single occupancy.

Tourists throng to see “the castle of the fairy-tale king”.

5. The Neuschwanstein Castle is a monument to Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner- by Franz Hanfstaengl- Wikimedia Commons

While King Ludwig II loved building and loved his Neuschwanstein Castle, he built it as a tribute to Richard Wagner the composer, for whom he had great admiration. You will find several nods to Wagner’s operas throughout the castle, such as the planned ornate Singers Hall where the King planned to have performances. One bold influence is the artificial cave inside the castle which is inspired by Wagner’s opera Tannhauser.

The design of the Neuschwanstein Castle was the work of Christian Jank who is an opera set designer, and not an architect. Therefore you can see the touch of an opera designer through and through.

6. The Neuschwanstein Castle is not a Medieval Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle- by Thomas Wolf- Wikimedia Commons

The Neuschwanstein Castle screams medieval in its appearance and location on a mountain top. It however is anything but medieval as it was built in the 1870s.

Once again evidence of King Ludwig’s inspiration for the Castle drawn from his childhood is evident. He grew up in and around medieval castles, surrounded by colorful murals of German myths painted in Hohenschwangau Castle. The king rode to his home, the Hohenschwangau Castle from time to time hence the vision for his own castle stayed clear and was refreshed periodically.

7. The Neuschwanstein Castle was a World War II storage

Painting at the Neuschwanstein Castle- by Schoenitzer- Wikimedia Commons

When the Nazis looted thousands of artwork during World War II, they stored the pieces at the Neuschwanstein Castle.  This was a good spot too as it was a safe distance from Berlin which was prone to bombings, and also away from the Austrian border.

Had World War II gone in favor of the Nazis, the Neuschwanstein Castle would have been a museum of artwork that Hitler had intended to put up.

The Neuschwanstein Castle doesn’t hold any of the art as they were retrieved to Paris. This tale is depicted in the 2014 movie ‘Monuments’ Men’.

8. The Neuschwanstein Castle is part of popular culture

The Neuschwanstein Castle is featured in the 1986 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. If you follow the movie the scene outside evil Baron Bomburst’s castle that the family flies over in the car was filmed on location at the Neuschwanstein Castle.

9. The Neuschwanstein Castle is technologically advanced

Contrary to what one expects of a medieval or middle age castle, the Neuschwanstein Castle is fitted with the luxuries that modern technology has to offer, the castle has an electric bell for its servants, running water with hot and cold options in the kitchen, telephones and a hot air central heating system and even a lift! Putting the Castle together was also done using steam-powered cranes since the building was difficult to reach. Pretty much advanced for its time.

10. The Neuschwanstein Castle was to be a retreat center

The Neuschwanstein Castle’s location and surroundings are serene and away from ‘civilization. Located deep in the Bavarian countryside, the king built a ‘little’ haven for himself and not a royal representation or official residence. Far from it, the castle is always filled with chatter and excitement from the crowds that throng the place annually.

 

King Ludwig’s years at the Hohenschwangau Castle as a child paired with his love for the arts as well as architecture gave birth to the neo-Gothic castle. The Neuschwanstein Castle makes for an exciting place to visit, a modern-day yet medieval-style castle that continues to dazzle.