In 1832, King Maximilian II of Bavaria purchased the ruins of castle Schwanstein near the village of Hohenschwangau. He ordered the construction of a new castle to be built on the ruins and in 1837, Castle Hohenschwangau was completed. It was constructed in the neo-gothic style architecture. Ludwig II and his brother spent most of their summers at Castle Hohenschwangau. Overlooking the castle, were two twin castle ruins. Ludwig II wrote and drew about the ruins in his diary. Once he became king in 1864, King Ludwig II commissioned two aggressive building projects.
Originally called New Hohenschwangau Castle, the new palace was built as a retreat for King Ludwig II. The castle was renamed to Castle Neuschwanstein after he died in 1868. He was a shy king who preferred to live in solitude rather than face the every day role of a noble man. King Ludwig II actually paid for the Neuschwanstein construction project from his own wealth rather than rely on taxes from the Bavarian people. The older castles were demolished in 1868 and construction commenced in 1869. The new castle was built on top of the twin castle ruins over looking his summer home of castle Neuschwanstein. By 1872, the cellar was completed and in 1876, the entire first floor had been completed. The castle boasted some of the most modern technologies offered such as running water to all floors, flushing toilets and heating units could be found through out the castle. King Ludwig II’s dream for Neuschwanstein was captured as he was quoted saying “It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles.” The Hall of Singers is the largest room in the castle. Of the original 200 planned rooms, only about 15 were actually completed. The entire castle measures about 6000 square meters.
King Ludwig II only lived in the castle for 172 days before he died in 1886. Castle Neuschwanstein was unfinished at the time of King Ludwig II’s death, but was completed in 1892. To pay for the mounting debt incurred from continually changing construction costs, the Bavarian government opened Castle Neuschwanstein to the paying public 6 weeks after his death. Today, more than 1.3 million visitors reach Neuschwanstein. It has been depicted in numerous movies and Disney’s Sleeping Castle is modeled after it.
Quick Facts & Figures
Construction Start: 1868
Construction Ended: 1892
King Ludwig II died: 1886
Location: Near Hohenschwangau
Building Style: French Renaissance, Classical Renaissance
Annual Tourists: 1,300,000
Area: 6000 sq meters