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.
Munich traces its founding to the year 1158. In 1240 the city would pass to the House of Wittelsbach which would govern Munich (and Bavaria) for the next 700 years. Munich prospered as a salt trading center but would be hit hard by the plague in 1349 and it would persist for the next 150 years. The coopers (barrel makers) initiated a ritualistic dance in an effort to bring an end to the plague since their trade was suffering because people were afraid to leave their houses and therefore were not drinking as much beer. This dance continues to be performed every seven years but it is reenacted 3 times daily by the little figures in the Glockenspiel high up on the main tower of the city hall.