Neuschwanstein Castle

(Click here for more photographs.)

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Schloss Neuschwanstein is a 19th century palace built on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near the town of Fussen in southwest Germany.  The castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat.  Construction began in 1869 on the site of the ruins of two castles from the middle ages: Vorderhohenschwangau Castle and Hinterhohenschwangau Castle.  The castle was far from complete when the King died in 1886 at the age of 40.

neuschwanstein-castle-interior

Only 6 weeks after the King’s death, the palace was opened to paying visitors.  It became a very significant contributor to the income of the House of Wittlesbach.  The King had exhausted his personal funds during construction and had incurred a significant amount of debt.  His wishes and demands expanded repeatedly during construction.  During the tour of the interior we were not allowed to take any photos but I have borrowed one from the internet.  Every room we saw shows that the King knew no bounds when it came to the design of his castle.  The wall paintings and wood carvings are everywhere.  Every doorway is different and each door is intricately carved.  He even had an artificial cave room.  I know, perhaps the first question is why, but it does very effectively evoke the experience of being in a cave.

The Neuschwanstein Castle is a very popular attraction.  Tour companies run daily tours to visit the castle and nearby Hohenschwangau Castle (built by the father of King Ludwig II) from lots of places around southwest Germany and from Austria just to the south.  If you’re not on a tour you can either just walk into the ticket office and get assigned a tour time, if available for that day, or you can request a tour time in advance.  You pay an additional 2.50 Euros per person for the reservation but since we planned to visit while in transit, we wanted a known tour time.  You must arrive at least 90 minutes in advance of your tour time to purchase your tickets and make your way up the hill to the castle.  Once your tour time arrives you enter the castle and assemble into a group for a guided tour that lasts about 30 minutes.

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