Wednesday Wanderlust: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

No matter how wonderful my corner of the world, every so often all I want to do is grab my passport and head for the great wide elsewhere. Since that’s not feasible right now, here’s where I’m dreaming of wandering this week.

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map_neuschwanstein_castle (1)In 1869, under King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s instructions and watchful eye,  workmen broke land at the foot of the German Alps for the construction of Nuschwanstein Castle.

Ludwig took the throne when he was just 18; two years later, in 1866, the expanding Prussian state engulfed Bavaria and Austria, leaving the Bavarian king as merely a governmental figurehead. Ludwig is remembered more as a patron of the arts than as an especially apt ruler: his patronage of Richard Wagner allowed the composition of his later operas and his interest in architecture left its mark on the German countryside.

Ludwig was a rather ineffectual ruler, preferring to spend time reading and studying than in any sort of statecraft. In 1875, he began sleeping during the day and staying up all night, a habit which he continued until his death in 1886. His eccentricities eventually cost him his kingdom and, perhaps, his life: based on servant testimonies, and supported by Leopold’s uncle, Luitpold, four psychiatrists reported that Leopold was paranoid, unable to rule or retain his freedom. He died three days after being taken into protective custody. The cause of his death is still disputed.

The plans for Neuschwanstein Castle were inspired by the German Burgenromantik  movement, literally the “Romantic Castle” movement. During the late 19th century, castles across Europe were constructed or modified to include fantastic and picturesque elements: more soaring towers, more balconies, more detail on the stoneworks. Neuschwanstein Castle clearly reflects these influences. It is frequently named the most beautiful castle in the world and was the inspiration for the Disney Sleeping Beauty castle (pictured at right).

And a few shots of the interior:

Those chandeliers are such an interesting shape–and those windows! Can’t you just imagine the view? 

I love that green and scarlet together. And look at that ceiling—the detail in the wood is absolutely amazing.

The murals on the walls of the castle depict scenes from Germanic mythology and Wagner’s operas.

…and one more picture of the exterior. Because it’s so beautiful.

And that’s where I’m dreaming of visiting. Thanks for traveling along with me!

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