The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most prominent historical castles in the world today and much of the renown it has received by far can be attributed to its sheer beauty. The imposing castle is also called in German as the Schloss Neuschwanstein, which can be translated into the New Swan Stone Palace. The castle dates back to the 19th century Bavaria era and bears a striking resemblance to castles found in Disney theme parks such as the Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella castles in Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland, respectively, primarily because the Neuschwanstein Castle itself was used as a real-life inspiration for these fairy tale castles.
The Neuschwanstein Castle currently stands proudly on a hill located in the southwest part of Bavaria, Germany. It can be found near Fussen and Hohenschwanggu. The palace is currently the ownership of the state of Bavaria. Since the exterior beauty of the palace is surprising, a lot of people overlook the precarious position of the grand castle. The Neuschwanstein is actually perched on a hill, which provided an extra challenge for its builders and its original architects Eduard Riedel from Munich and Georg Dollman. The sound technical and structural construction of the huge castle on a hill is a marvel in itself.
The New Swan Stone Palace, contrary to its translated name, is not anywhere near new. The ancient castle was commissioned to be built by King Ludwig II who once ruled Bavaria. The castle was said to have been originally built as a retreat for the King and as a tribute to Richard Wagner, an inspiration to the King. Initially, the King was very strict about the maintenance of the castle. No visitors were allowed inside, though the castle was officially opened for public visiting after King Ludwig II passed away, at which time only fourteen rooms were completely finished and decorated. The decision to open the castle to the public was mainly due to the need for funding to be able to pay off the debts that were incurred during the construction of the castle, but now, since the first visitors were welcomed into the castle, millions of tourists have gotten an opportunity to marvel at one of the greatest real-life castles in the world. The construction debts have long been paid off, but the castle remains as one of the most famous tourist attractions in Germany.
The name Neuschwanstein was given to the palace after the death of King Ludwig II, when it officially became the castle of the Swan Knight Lohengrin, which was taken from an opera created by Richard Wagner. It was first called the Schwanstein, which means the seat of the Schwangau knights. The knights’ emblem had been the swan, and the castle was called the new Schwanstein, or Neuschwanstein.
The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most photographed buildings in Germany and also in the world. Its fairy tale-like appearance gives it a picturesque, almost fantastic air. The popular and world-renowned appearance of the castle has lured countless tourists to Germany. As a trivia, the design of the castle was created by a theatrical set designer instead of an architect, which explains the intimidating and highly fantastical design.
A visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, however, is perhaps the only way to appreciate the beauty and majesty of this extraordinary architectural wonder since photography of the castle’s interior is strictly prohibited. The castle is composed of several different areas, such as a gatehouse, a Bower, a Palas, a citadel, a Knight’s house complete with a square tower, and two other towers found at the Western edge of the structure. The Palas is where the suites are located. The castle features several magnificent rooms such as the impressive entrance hall, a chapel, a winter garden, King Ludwig’s very own suite, the Singers’ Hall, the Throne Room, and the Grotto.
The Throne Room is one of the most famous buildings in the Neuschwanstein Castle. In the center of the ceiling hands a glass chandelier encrusted with gems. The walls feature a magnificent painting of the Twelve Apostles, and the painting surrounds the area where the actual throne was supposed to be placed had it been finished. The painting of Jesus was strategically positioned to be behind the supposed pedestal for the throne.
The King’s Suite is also a fascinating display of extravagance that can only belong to a King. In the center lies the four-poster bed made of hand-carved wood. The canopy of the bed has carvings featuring cathedral towers. The carved towers, however, are not imaginary or random towers; they are the towers of every cathedral that can be found in Bavaria. Hand carved wood was also used in various other parts of the room and was considered as the main attraction of the unique master’s suite, which actually took ten whole years before it was completed. The master suite also leads to an oratory where there is a genuine ivory crucifix. Other rooms connecting from the King’s Suite include a full kitchen, a study room, a dining room, the servant’s quarters, and of course, the Singers’ Hall.
The Singers’ Hall is a must-see part of the castle, which is saying much considering that the castle is full to the brim with things to see. The Singers’ Hall was a special place meant for musicians and playwrights. In fact, out of his admiration of Richard Wagner, the King was said to have created the Singers’ Hall with Wagner in mind. Due to this and the King’s admiration of Richard Wagner, he seems to be closely attuned to culture and art. Unfortunately, the King was not able to watch a full performance at the Singers’ Hall before he died, though tourists nowadays are very lucky to have the opportunity.
Also, don’t forget to get a good glimpse of the Marienbrucke, which literally refers to a bridge as high as a 45-meter high waterfall. The bridge was originally made of wood but was now converted into an iron wood. Atop the high bridge, tourists will get a great glimpse of the scenic landscape that surrounds the castle.
The Neuschwanstein Castle has been featured in several movies including The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and The Great Escape. A video game has also been created based on the Neuschwanstein Castle and its interior. Aside from that, as further proof to the acclaim that the castle is receiving, people will be able to see the palace on a commemorative coin during the Bundeslander series to be held in 2012. Most of all, the castle was nominated and became one of the finalists in the search for the New Seven Wonders of the World. Though it has not been named as one of the seven, a lot of people believe that the Neuschwanstein could only be the eighth wonder of the modern world.
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