Monday, July 2, 2007

Neuschwanstein Palace

Neuschwanstein Palace

New Swan Stone-Palace.

This palace is the most cherished structure of Germany built in September 5, 1869; 3306 feet above sea-level on the Alps mountain ranges. It is built in an inaccessible place on the mountain ranges not by accident but purposefully by king Ludwig 2 (popularly known as Mad King Ludwig for his crazy ideas). King Ludwig 2 (1845 -1886) wanted it in such a secluded and isolated area. The name Neuschwanstein in German means ‘new swan stone palace’.

Hohen Schwangau.

Neuschwanstein Palace was constructed near Fussen in Bavaria (a border state with Austria). The king originally named it as ‘Hohen Schwangau’ meaning ‘high swan country’ (swan was the emblem of the knight-hood to which he belonged). Hohen Schwangau a nearby village where he spent his childhood in a palace bearing the same name built by his father King Maxmilian 2 of Bavaria). Until the death of Ludwig- 2; the name of this palace remained Hohen Schwangau.

A tribute to Wagner.

King Ludwig 2 (who was crowned at the age of 19) a fan of Richard Wagner built this hill palace as a tribute to his favorite artist Richard Wagner (1813 -1883, the world famous German composer known for his operas but Ludwig had not actually seen his performance). Seven weeks after the death of Ludwig 2 the palace was left open to the public. Since then it has been there as a crowd puller. At present more than six thousand people flock to this palace everyday. It remains as the most photographed structure in Germany (though photography is banned in the inside).

Theater-set artist to design a palace!

This palace was also intended as a retreat to the king’s family in the wilderness of the Alps Mountain near by Alpine Lake. King Ludwig was uncustomary in his ideas and it was not an architect that was selected for the design of the palace but a theater set designer Mr. Christian Jank. Necessary architectural expertise was rendered by Eduard Reidel and later by Georg Dollman.

King Ludwig-2.

The story of Ludwig-2 was a tragedy in real life (his detractors called him ‘mad King Ludwig’ while those who loved him affectionately called him ‘fairy-tale king’). Ludwig from early life lived in a world of fantasy. His reign lasted just 22 years but in this short period he was engaged in a ‘palace building spree’ and he built several; of which Neuschwanstein is the most beautiful and unique.

A plot?

Just before the completion of the palace the king was declared insane by a state commission and was arrested at the palace, and was taken to Schloss berg later the king was found dead in Lake Stamberg, (along with the dead-body of the psychiatrist who certified him insane) under mysterious circumstances.

A big hit.

Whatever would have happened to the king his ‘dream child palace’ clicked; as no architect could have given birth to such an unusual structure; which has an unsusceptible touch of fantasy all over (it is because of its extraordinariness the replica of this palace has got a place in the ‘Disney’s World’s many sites as ‘sleeping beauty palace’. The model of this palace has been used in the Disney film ‘sleeping beauty’

The Palace complex and its rooms


A tour in the palace is an unforgettable experience, as images of numerous images appear as either as paintings on the wall as sculptures before the visitors. Swans (the symbol of Hohen Schwangau knights), saints, heroes. The first is the servants’ rooms in the first upper floor, from their spiral staircase leads on north to the lower hall then to the Throne-room, King’s apartment, dining room, bed-room, oratory, salon, dressing room, the grotto and to the conservatory. Then proceed via spiral staircase to the 4th floor the singer’s hall and it all ends with the kitchen

lower hall

The servants’ rooms; altogether there are five of them the total number of servants ranged from 10 to 15. It is the first place from where the visit of the palace begins. These rooms are well maintained and furnished with good quality oak furniture.

The upper hall. There is the spiral-stair-case leading to it (formerly the king alone could use it), there is a white marble dragon on guard duty!

The Throne-room. This room in essence resembles the Byzantine Church; Ludwig had given instructions to build it similar to the All Saints’ Church Munich as well as The Hagia Sophia Constantinople.

The main stair-case leads to the 3rd floor east the King’s apartment. Images of the Sigurd Legends are depicted on the walls (Sigurd a legendary hero acquires a treasure defeating one dragon, but along with the treasured a fatal curse reaches him which finally gets him murdered).

Dining room.

Dining room is a surprise one expecting a big hall will be upset, Ludwig preferred to dine alone made it too tiny but rich in art. A manually operated lift brought dish from the kitchen. The bronze idol of Sigurd fighting with the dragon is really wonderful piece of art.

Bed room.

Viewer expects a bed-room of a king must be the most expensive one of the whole rooms; it is true in Neuschwanstein palace. The oak carvings are so exquisite whole settings give the atmosphere of a church. The bed is elaborate and Gothic in style.

Oratory (Chapel)

is so located that it is accessible from bed and dressing rooms, a very private space for the king. Images of King Louis-2 decorate the walls of the oratory (King Louis was the Patron Saint of Ludwig.

Dressing room.

Exquisite paintings adorns the wall and the ceiling is painted as if to look like and open sky with birds and scenes which can create feelings of illusions.


The Grotto is designed to look as it is a natural drip-stone cave, with the color lights and psychedelic designs it generates a mystical feeling. The king has set a hole direct to the singers’ hall to hear the music while he was sitting here.

Singer’s Hall.

It was inspired by the Minstrel’s Hall of Warburg (designed by Julius Hofman). Once King Ludwig visited Minstrel’s Hall to attend a singers’ contest; impressed by its design he determined to build one similar to that hall. This is the largest hall in the palace and occupies the entire 4th floor.


Kitchen had all the modern trappings even though the entire palace was built in a medieval style. It has hot and cold running water, automatic spit, cup-boards that can be heated by hot air from the stove etc. Kitchen is one of the best preserved rooms.

An explosive concoction.

There are many wonderful constructions in the world built by great kings engaging famous architects, being ‘normal’ they always failed to build something like Neuschwanstein. This palace’s uniqueness is that it is a work of art in the name of a palace. Neuschwanstein in its present form would never have been made if Ludwig was normal and his architect was conventional. Its location (on the tip of Pollat george of the Alps) style of construction, so unearthly that a concoction of a crazy king and a theater set designer alone could make!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the most beautiful castle I've ever been to, and I visited the whole Europe. It is breathtaking.