Neuschwanstein Castle or Schloss Neuschwanstein (literally: New Swan Castle - referencing of the Swan Knight, one of the Wagner's characters)
is a 19th century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.
It was Walt Disney's inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland, built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, United States.
The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds. In February 1868, Ludwig's grandfather Ludwig I died, freeing the considerable sums that were previously spent on the abdicated king's appanage. This allowed Ludwig II to start the architectural project of building a private refuge in the familiar landscape far from the capital Munich, so that he could live out his idea of the Middle Ages. The building design was drafted by the stage designer Christian Jank and realized by the architect Eduard Riedel. For technical reasons the ruined castles (Vorderhohenschwangau Castle and Hinterhohenschwangau Castle) could not be integrated into the plan. Initial ideas for the palace drew stylistically on Nuremberg Castle and envisaged a simple building in place of the old Vorderhohenschwangau Castle, but they were rejected and replaced by increasingly extensive drafts, culminating in a bigger palace modelled on the Wartburg. The king insisted on a detailed plan and on personal approval of each and every draft. Ludwig's control went so far that the palace has been regarded as his own creation, rather than that of the architects involved. In 1868, the ruins of the medieval twin castles were completely demolished; the remains of the old keep were blown up.
The foundation stone for the palace was laid on 5 September 1869; in 1872 its cellar was completed and in 1876, everything up to the first floor,
the gatehouse being finished first. At the end of 1882 it was completed and fully furnished, allowing Ludwig to take provisional lodgings there and observe the ongoing construction work. In 1874, management of the civil works passed from Eduard Riedel to Georg von Dollmann (also known as Georg Carl Heinrich Dollmann). The topping out ceremony for the Palas was in 1880, and in 1884, the king was able to move into the new building. In the same year the direction of the project passed to Julius Hofmann, after Dollmann had fallen from the King's favour. By 1886, the external structure of the Palas was mostly finished. At the time of Ludwig's death in June 1886, the palace was far from complete. He only slept 11 nights in the castle. The external structures of the Gatehouse and the Palas were mostly finished, but the Rectangular Tower was still scaffolded. Work on the Bower had not started, but was completed in simplified form by 1892, without the planned female saints figures. The Knights' House was also simplified. In Ludwig's plans the columns in the Knights' House gallery were held as tree trunks and the capitals as the corresponding crowns. Only the foundations existed for the core piece of the palace complex: a keep of 90 metres (300 ft) height planned in the upper courtyard, resting on a three-nave chapel. This was not realized, and a connection wing between the Gatehouse and the Bower saw the same fate. Plans for a castle garden with terraces and a fountain west of the Palas were also abandoned after the king's death. The interior of the royal living space in the palace was mostly completed in 1886; the lobbies and corridors were painted in a simpler style by 1888. Ludwig called the new palace New Hohenschwangau Castle (Neue Burg Hohenschwangau); only after his death was it renamed Neuschwanstein. The king never intended
to make the palace accessible to the public. No more than six weeks after the king's death, however, the regent Luitpold ordered
the palace opened to paying visitors. The administrators of Ludwig's estate managed to balance the construction debts by 1899.
Due to its secluded location, the palace survived the two World Wars without destruction.
The Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes (Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen), also known as the Bavarian Palace Department (Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung), is a department of the finance ministry of the German state of Bavaria. Tracing its roots back into the 18th century, the administration is now best known for being in charge of Neuschwanstein Castle
and the other 19th-century palaces built by Ludwig II of Bavaria.
- Matthijs van Wageningen
- Created on
- Saturday 9 June 2007
- Bavarian Palace Department, Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung, Castle, Christian Jank, Eduard Riedel, Füssen, Georg Carl Heinrich Dollmann, Georg von Dollmann, Germany, Hohenschwangau, holiday, Julius Hofmann, museum, Neue Burg Hohenschwangau, Neuschwanstein, Neuschwanstein Castle, New Hohenschwangau Castle, New Swan Castle, Palas, Schloss, Schloss Neuschwanstein
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