The castle of Neuschwanstein truly epitomizes a Romantic dream castle. It’s no surprise that this castle served as the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. Located in Germany’s Bavarian Alps, this castle is a manifestation of the fertile imagination of King Louis II of Bavaria. Situated at an altitude of 965 meters (3,165 feet), Neuschwanstein Castle is accessible by a single road. Dramatic and theatrical in appearance, the castle covers some 5,935 sq. meters (63,884 sq. ft.) and features a medley of exterior turrets, circular staircases, windows and domes. Begun in 1869, Neuschwanstein Castle was never finished. Only 15 of the planned 228 rooms were completed, leaving many doors on the lower floors to open onto empty space and steep rocks. A blend of architecture and dream, Neuschwanstein combines Roman, Baroque, Gothic and Byzantine styles in an amazingly homogeneous whole. Just as astonishing is its modernism — from as early as 1884, the castle has been equipped with central heating, a kitchen with hot and cold running water, and a dumb waiter connected to the dining room... located three floors up!
Each room in the castle depicts minstrel poems and knights’ legends, themes dear to Louis II. Four spectacular rooms boast an ingenious lighting system, giving visitors an insight into the King’s eccentric and flamboyant style. The most impressive aspect of the Throne Room, resplendent in gold and marble, is the mosaic floor inlaid with two million pieces representing plants and animals. The Singer’s Hall is the largest in the castle. Its coffered spruce-wood ceiling provides very good acoustics for the various concerts held there each year. The Royal Hall contains two large works representing the Legend of Lohengrin: a Knight in Quest of the Holy Grail. Finally, Ludwig’s bedroom, in extravagant Gothic style, displays remarkable oak furnishings so ornate that it took 14 wood carvers four years to complete the work. Each year, Neuschwanstein Castle attracts tens of millions of visitors who come to view the originality, extravagance and especially the stunning beauty of the fairytale palace.
The extravagance of the Mad King
King Louis II of Bavaria has become part of historical lore, mostly due to the construction of three castles, all products of his fertile imagination: Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee and Neuschwanstein. King Louis II’s passion was art. As patron and fervent admirer of Richard Wagner, he paid tribute to the composer by decorating rooms of Neuschwanstein Castle with representative themes from Wagner’s operas.
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