Neuschwanstein Castle: Decoration for Life

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When I was preparing to visit Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles in Bavaria, I have found in one of the blogs a resuming impression about the first one as a monument to solitude. And I was like: “What a nice title for the future blogpost”. It is commonly known that a proper title is already half of the battle, and I only had to go to Bavaria, take some pictures of the castles and develop this idea.

However when I parked at the parking place number two in the village Schwangau, located at the footing of Neuschwanstein, and went out of the car I immediately realized that my own impression on the most beautiful castle in the world would be completely different.

Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria.

Neuschwanstein castle truly stands upon a cliff among the other rocks, completely lofty and covered with an amazing forest. It is so unreal that even looks like an alien construction set among the decorations prepared to shot the advertising clip for Gosser beer.

Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria.

The forest around Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria.

Sure enough it was not intended to protect from the enemies. The walls, gates, passages and windows are quite ineligible to withstand a long siege or an attack. When you enter the gates, you understand that the horse knights would have no place here and the dismount protectors of the castles would have no place to shoot at the attackers, throw down the stones or pour out the hot pitch.

The door of Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria.

The inner courtyard of Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria.

Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria.

Any enemy would only have to fix the artillery battery at the neighbor higher hill on a way to Marienbrücke, which allocates the platform with a beautiful view of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, and bomb out the castle in a matter of hours.

Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria.

Then why the young Bavarian king Ludwig II, who unexpectedly obtained the control over the whole kingdom being an adolescent of 19 years, built this castle in this very place on a bare rock?

In order to answer this question you’d better go to Hohenschwangau castle, located nearby – more precisely to the swan lake Alpsee, later on visited by the great Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, – people say it was here where he started to create his ballet “Swan Lake”.

The view on the Alpsee and castle Hohenschwangau, Bavaria.

The view on the Alpsee and castle Hohenschwangau.

The symbol of swan is all over the place. This is the heraldic bird of the ancient house of Schwangau counts; Maximilian II of Bavaria considered himself the inheritor of this house. Ludwig and his brother were growing and shaping in this very place.

The castle Hohenschwangau, Bavaria.

The castle Hohenschwangau, Bavaria, the native home of the king Ludwig II.

Hohenschwangau castle is very comfortable and designed for a calm family life rather than pompous welcomes, however every single wall of the rooms (yes, these are the rooms, not the halls) are painted with the very realistic battle scenes – blood, split corpses, horses, people…

The castle Hohenschwangau, Bavaria.

Apparently the prince supposed to grow up a harsh warrior, a fearless defender, a real king, but it turned out differently. Even when you cast a glance at his portrait, it shows that he won’t be Richard the Lionheart.

Ludwig II, the king of Bavaria.

Ludwig was keen on books, poetry and music and as a result the contemporaries called him the Fairy Tale King. All his battles developed only at the opera scene and probably in his imagination.

Later on, during the only war, when Bavaria with the German Confederation and Austria went to war against Prussia, Ludwig handed the military policy over to his ministers and went out to Switzerland to meet… Richard Wagner.

So, the poor boy was drawn out of his romantic world and enthroned to rule the whole kingdom. I don’t think he loved that, however there were some advantages – power and money, and Ludwig did not hesitate to take them. He began to turn his fairy tale world into reality.

Vicinity of the castle Hohenschwangau,  Bavaria.

The view from Neuschwanstein castle on the Marienbrucke.

The view from Neuschwanstein castle on Marienbrucke.

During his walks along the forest, the boy often admired the Bavarian landscape from Marienbrücke, the bridge over the 80-meters steep with the waterfall rolling at the bottom. There was a time when two medieval castles rose on the confront hill, now there are only ruins left, and the Bavarian king decided to build the castle unequalled anywhere in the world at this very place – AND HE DID IT.

Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria.

But was it a monument to his solitude? Then why there is huge church in the castle, almost a cathedral? Why the women halls are so big, able to accommodate a real harem and not one? And what about the singing hall? And the kitchen? By the end of the excursion you will see it and understand that sure enough that kitchen is not for the alone one! Even on the way to the castle you understand how big it is. A huge toy!

Ludwig II constructed perfect decorations for the operas, and not only for his favorite Wagner, but to all operas of the world. And if he copied somebody building his castles, for example, Louis IV and his Versailles in Herrenchiemsee, here he gave the whole rage to his fancy. Just keep your eye out for the eclecticism of the interior design – the West, the East, Asia; you can even see the palm and the Solomon Star in here.

The interiors of the castle Neuschwanstein, Bavaria.

The interiors of the castle Neuschwanstein, Bavaria.

The interiors of the castle Neuschwanstein, Bavaria.

The interiors of the castle Neuschwanstein, Bavaria.

One of the doors of Neuschwanstein castle.

I doubt that the king would raise such a majestic and at the same time fairy tale building to walk alone among its beautiful halls. I would say Ludwig was building something greater. He was building a decoration to his long, happy and fairy tale life among the people, stringing along his love to myths and legends, gentle knights and fair ladies – to everything that was almost completely lost by the modern society.

Neuschwanstein castle, Bavaria.

But he never did. At first the Bavarians announced he was mad:

- the first point of the “medical” conclusion stated that Ludwig II built too many begging castles, having spent lots of money from the State treasury;

- the second: he disregarded matters of state;

- the third: he was suspected of the homosexuality.

Well, could anyone from you ever considered a madman with such symptoms? And one doctor with four students could! Even without exploring the “patient”.

And then the Bavarians killed their king, just as the French killed their king 200 years before, and the Russians 30 years after!

Of course, Ludwig II almost wasted his kingdom with this grandiose building, however nowadays, 100 years on, Bavaria (the richest state in Germany) is known in the world for the three main things – beer, BMW and the fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein, a hundred times reproduced at the caption to the cartoons of Walt Disney – the great American fairy tale creator.

disney

More about Germany:
Dresden: 68 Years After Bombing
Porta Nigra. Black Roman Gate of Trier
Three Famous Castles of Germany: Marksburg, Burg Eltz and Burg Stahleck

60 Responses to “Neuschwanstein Castle: Decoration for Life”

  1. Andrew Petcher Says:

    So Victor – do you think this is the most beautiful castle in the World? I would suggest the Alacazar of Segovia or the walled city of Carcassonne as potential rivals for this accolade!

  2. Alastair Says:

    Breathtaking photos

  3. Our Adventure in Croatia Says:

    great post and pictures. Brings back fond memories as I have been to this castle twice. The second occasion I remember well because the young German lady who was taking us round for the tour, immediately started saying in a strong germanic accent “DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING – or I will shoot you!” – she didn’t actually say the second part of the sentence but … her tone sounded like it… amazing photos Victor.

  4. boomerontario Says:

    Terrific post, fabulous photos. I especially love your narrative, and wish I’d had some of it in my head when I did my own visit there. Incredible place. Thank you for a great read.

  5. ruthincolorado Says:

    Beautiful photos, Victor. I love this castle and have visited many times. When I was a child, I would beg my parents to take me there! Thanks for this post.

  6. wordsfromanneli Says:

    I don’t know how many times I said, “Wow!” as I read and looked at the photos. This was a beautiful post, Victor.

  7. mdphotographers Says:

    Just had to say thank you for sharing these amazing images. And while reading the blog and viewing these images I thought to myself magic kingdom looks a lot like this castle. The last paragraph explained why :-)

  8. Mjollnir Says:

    Of course I was aware of Neuschwanstein, but i didn’t know about Hohen Schwangau. Thanks for posting this Victor :-)

  9. solaner Says:

    I’m glad, you got much better weather for your trip. We had fog when we were there in October. We were not inside, ’cause I was inside back in 1978 for the first time. But I don’t have good photos.
    Do you also visit the Pöllat Klam?

  10. Lisa at fLVE Says:

    Beautiful castle and I like how you narrated the history. On my list to visit one day. :)

  11. geogypsy2u Says:

    Excellent story and photos of this majestic castle. A year ago I planned a cyber-masquerade ball and chose Neuschwanstein as the venue. Photos inside were impossible to find and now I know why. Growing up in awe of the Disney Castle I’ve added this my list of must sees. Thank you for sharing. Glad your young guide looked the other way.

  12. sherwinportillo@yahoo.com Says:

    the pictures are beautiful as always and the writing ability is exceptionally good.

  13. eharris29 Says:

    Thank you for your detailed information of German castles, Victor. I am leaving for a trip tomorrow and have once again found your blog particularly useful!

  14. Lyndi Alexander Says:

    Incredible photography! Bravo!

  15. Justin Says:

    Stunning photos – thanks for sharing!

  16. charmsofagypsy Says:

    I visited the castle just last year and fell in love with it, the scenery, and the history behind it all! Your photos are very lovely, but then again–it’s difficult to take bad pictures of something so breathtaking! I enjoyed reading your commentary, seems like you had a great time. :) Best wishes to you and thanks so much for dropping by my blog!

  17. rose2852 Says:

    Brings back great memories!

  18. Glamourous Traveller Says:

    Wonderful background story for all of us who have yet to go

  19. petit4chocolatier Says:

    Breathtaking!

  20. Kathi Says:

    Beautiful photography and a very thoughtful story! Neuschwanstein is one of my very favorite castles!! I’ll look forward to reading more of your posts.

  21. Leigh McAdam (@hikebiketravel) Says:

    I love the background you’ve provided about this castle – and Ludwig. What an interesting story and you’ve done a great job showcasing the castle with your photographs.

  22. Keri Duncan Valentine Says:

    These photos are stunning – I can’t wait to show these to my students, thank you!

  23. anniesshowroom Says:

    Beautiful pictures, Munich is one of my favourite place and especially the fair tale castle and growing up in that place no wonder King Ludwig was such a romantic at heart!!

  24. Frank Says:

    Amazing photos Victor! When we went I wasn’t actually very impressed so much by the castle, thought it is quite overrated. But like you I thought the geographic setting is spectacular. I absolutely love the photo titled “The view on the Alpsee and castle Hohenschwangau”. Magnificent.
    Headed here after seeing you’re following on twitter – thanks. I’ll make sure to check out other sections of your blog.
    Frank (bbqboy)
    https://www.facebook.com/bbqboynet

  25. Konig Ludwig Says:

    WoooW Neuschwanstein is the most beautiful castle in the world.
    Fantastic !


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