With breathtaking views and beautiful architecture, King Ludwig II’s Castle in southern Bavaria is without doubt one of the most frequently photographed sights in Germany. Neuschwanstein Castle is known as Germany’s fairytale castle because of the idealized romantic architecture and for the tragic story of its owner. Nestled among the beauty of the Bavarian Alps near the town of Fussen, this fairytale castle served as the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
King Ludwig II drew inspiration for Neuschwanstein from Hohenschwangau Castle, his childhood home. The name Ludwig chose for his castle was New Hohenschwangau. Ludwig felt he deserved a storybook palace benefitting a monarch so he destroyed Bavaria’s economy to finance his vanity project.
Ludwig ascended to Bavaria’s throne in 1864, the year he turned 18, but after Prussia conquered Bavaria in 1866, Ludwig’s kingship became a strictly token office carrying no substantial authority. In June 1886, Ludwig was arrested and declared unfit to act as a monarch. Two days later his corpse was found in a lake. Bavarian authorities renamed the castle Neuschwanstein after Ludwig’s death.
Seven weeks after the death of King Ludwig II in 1886, construction was finished and Neuschwanstein was opened to the public. Ludwig had the castle built as a getaway from the public life, and now, a vast number of people visit his private refuge daily. Today Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular of all the palaces and castles in Europe. Every year 1.4 million people visit “The castle of the fairytale king”.
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