King Ludwig II of Bavaria - Mastermind of Neuschwanstein Castle
Millions of people each year flock to southern Germany to see a castle that seemingly belongs only in dreams and fairy tales. Tucked on the side of a mountain near the town of Füssen, visitors come to observe a castle they have viewed glimpses of in Disney movies Neuschwanstein Castle. What they hear about, however, is the man who once ruled the Bavarian kingdom and ordered the construction of the neo-Romanesque castle.
Who was King Ludwig the II, the man who ordered Neuschwanstein to be built? Sometimes referred to as mad or crazy, King Ludwig II of Bavaria certainly was eccentric. He was born at the summer palace of the royal family Wittelsbach in Nymphenburg Palace on August 25, 1845, with the name of Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm. It is easy to see how a king who was groomed to be so from the moment he was born would become somewhat odd. King Ludwig II was strictly trained from his early years until he became King, not only schooled in that fact that he was going to be King, but also that there are certain “ways” to act if you are a crown prince who will someday become king.
To know a little about King Ludwig II of Bavaria, is to know about his obsession with Richard Wagner. As a boy, King Ludwig was introduced to Wagner’s "Lohengrin". From that time on, Ludwig was enthralled by all of Wagner’s works and the man himself. When Ludwig became king in 1864, one of his first acts as king was to summon Richard Wagner to be his guest at Hohenschwangau Castle, Ludwig’s boyhood home.
Evidence of Ludwig’s infatuation with Wagner’s works can be seen in the form of drawings, figures, statues, etc. decorating Neuschwanstein and the other castles that King Ludwig built, Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof Palace. It was within the walls of his own home and grounds that Ludwig was able to act out scenes of his favorite Wagner works, sometimes having costumes designed specifically for his use in these fanciful acting-out sessions. You can see why people would perceive him as crazy!
But was he crazy? The king certainly had some strange tendencies. For example, in two of his castles the king ordered his dining table to be made having the ability to be hoisted from the kitchen up to the dining room so that he wouldn’t have to interact with the servants. In his castle Herrenchiemsee, the king had a bathtub the size of an entire room, more like a swimming pool. And, of course, there were his midnight carriage and sleigh rides that happened almost nightly.
Toward the end of his life, King Ludwig withdrew more and more from his people in Bavaria and even his own staff. After spending millions of his own money, he borrowed millions to continue the construction of two of his un-finished castles. In 1886, King Ludwig was found to be insane and as such unfit to rule. They arrested him with the intention of abdicating him. On June 13, 1886 Ludwig the II of Bavaria was found drown in Lake Starnberg.
There, of course is much more to the story of King Ludwig. He was definitely misunderstood, a fact that ultimately led him to his death. When visitors to the “Fairy Tale Castle” of Neuschwanstein hear of the king, it is usually in terms of “the mad king” or the “fairy tale king”. Hopefully those mystified by the beautiful castle in the Bavarian Alps are curious enough to find out the story behind the mastermind of it all, King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria is really an interesting figure in Bavaria’s history.
Pamela is the author and owner of http://www.bavaria-info.com a travel and information website devoted to web visitors exploration of Germany’s largest state of Bavaria. Her passion of travel and the exploration of the history behind Bavaria’s tourist hotspots is evidenced by her website, that she designs, writes, and edits.
You can book all of the following day trips to Neuschwanstein castle online:
|Overnight Royal Castles Tour - Linderhof, Hohenschwangau, Neuschwanstein|
Overnight in castle country on this two day tour from Munch. Your first stop is the elegant Linderhof. King Ludwig's favorite castle, it was built between 1870 and 1879 and modeled on the Petit Trianon at Versailles, France.
|Four Day Munich to Frankfurt - Romantic Road, Linderhof, Hohenschwangau, Neuschwanstein|
Germany's Romantic Road offers the most picturesque and magnificent scenery on Earth. Travel along this stretch of road on this multi-day tour from Munich and marvel at the delightful spots of the Bavarian region.
|Royal Castle of Linderhof and Oberammergau Day Tour from Munich |
Visit the royal castle Linderhof built by King Ludwig II and Oberammergau, world famous for its Passion Plays and woodcarvers. This popular day tour allows you to enjoy a little bit of a sleep in with a 10:15am departure, before showing you two of Bavaria's most famous attractions.
|Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Day Tour from Munich |
Hidden in the seclusion of the mountains, King Ludwig II built two of his dream castles, Linderhof and Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle. See these two extraordinary castles, both testifying to the vision and intriguing state of mind of Bavaria's fairytale King.
|Royal Castle of Herrenchiemsee and Fraueninsel Day Tour from Munich |
Board a boat to travel to the islands of Herreninsel and Fraueninsel on the Bavarian lake of Chiemsee. See King Ludwig II's last castle, The Royal Castle of Herrenchiemsee, and visit the Benedictine monastery located on one of the most beautiful spots in Bavaria. This tour is seasonal and operates from April to October only!