Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle


Location: Bavaria Map

Constructed: 1869- 92

Tel: (08362) 93 98 86

Open: Oct.- Mar. 10am- 4pm

Apr.- Sep. 9am- 6pm


Description of Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein castle is probably most recognized castles in the World. It inspired castles of Disney and still is visited by over a million of visitors annually. However despite its authentic look it has nothing to do with the Medieval Age. Instead it was build in 1869- 86  king of Bavaria Ludwig II. The interior of Neuschwanstein Castle is covered by mosaics and frescoes of Byzantine style. Although making pictures is prohibited in the interior rooms of the castle Neuschwanstein is the most photographed building in Germany. People simply snatch photos from hidden position. One of the most popular rooms in the castle is lavishly decorated Throne room of the castle that is designed by Byzantine palaces. The halls are lavishly covered with paintings with themes from the old Germanic pagan myths and legends. Much of this interest in national religion was inspired by Richard Wagner who received financial support from a king. Unfortunately the castle was not finished. King Ludwig II was gained fame for being a little weird and eccentric. However in 1886 State Commission under psychiatrist von Gudden declared king insane. Few weeks later Ludwig II and von Gudden were found drowned in shallow waters of lake Starnber near Shloss Berg. The circumstances of their death is unclear.



Getting there

By plane
The next major airport is "Franz Josef Strauss" (IATA Code: MUC) near Munich, approx. 156 km away and about a two-hour drive. The airport in Innsbruck is also easily accessible, approx. 106 km away and also takes just under two hours by car.

By train
The next train station is Füssen, the distance to Hohenschwangau is 4.4 km, further by bus or by taxi (journey time taxi approx. 10 minutes); There is a bike rental service (9 a.m. - 6 p.m.) at the train station, which also rents e-bikes.

In the street
from the north:
On the A7 (Ulm-Kempten-Füssen autobahn) to the end of the autobahn at Nesselwang-Lachen, then continue towards Füssen and take the B17 towards Schwangau, at the end of the town turn right towards Hohenschwangau.
Or via Bundesstrasse 16 from Marktoberdorf;
from the south (from Austria):
Via federal highways 198 or 179 to Reutte, continue on 179 to Füssen and Hohenschwangau.
Parking is only possible in the village of Hohenschwangau, subject to a fee (machine).

By bicycle
Bodensee-Koenigssee cycle path
Romantic Road (bike route)


Around the area

The RVO / RVA (Regionalverkehr Oberbayern / Allgäu) looks after the bus routes in the region,
Line 73 Füssen - Schwangau - Halch - Steingaden.
Line 78 Füssen-Hohenschwangau-Schwangau - Tegelbergbahn.

Ascent to the castle
Walking time from the ticket center to Neuschwanstein Castle is around 30 to 50 minutes, depending on your fitness level, on a steep, tarred path. Alternatively, one of the summer paths can be taken from Hohenschwangau, which are mostly steep, and on damp days also wet and mostly unsigned to the castle. The starting points are in Hohenschwangau at the intersection at Cafe Kainz and about 50 m below and above the ticket center.
The most scenic but also the most strenuous climb leads over the Pöllat Gorge. The entrance is between Hohenschwangau and Tegelbergbahn (both with paid parking) at the end of the Gipsmühlweg. There are ruins of a historic gypsum mill that once processed the lime from the Pöllat Gorge. The listed building burned down in 1988 - the water systems are still well preserved.
You should allow around 20 to 40 minutes for Hohenschwangau Castle. The path begins at the Alpsee.
The horse-drawn carriages to Neuschwanstein Castle start at Hotel Müller above the ticket center. The outward journey costs € 6.00, the return journey € 3.00 (08/2011). With a bit of stamina, you can walk faster than by horse-drawn carriage.
The horse-drawn carriages to Hohenschwangau Castle start in front of the ticket center. The outward journey costs € 4.00, the return journey costs € 2.00 (08/2011).
There is only a bus transfer to Neuschwanstein Castle. Departure from Schlosshotel Lisl to Marienbrücke. The outward journey costs 1.80 €, the return journey 1.00 €, return journey 2.60 € (08/2011). The walking time from Marienbrücke to Neuschwanstein Castle is around 15 to 20 minutes. The path is not suitable for the handicapped because it is very steep.


Historical overview

Previous buildings, history and designs
A "Castrum Swangowe" was first mentioned in a document in 1090. This meant the two small castles that stood in the Middle Ages on the site of today's Neuschwanstein Castle: The Vorderhohenschwangau Castle, consisting of a palace and a keep, at the location of today's palace and, only separated by a neck ditch, a fortified residential tower called Hinterhohenschwangau, which was located where Ludwig II had planned a high keep between today's knight's house and kemenate, but he never came to build it. Both buildings went back to the Lords of Schwangau, who lived in the region as fiefs of the Guelphs (until 1191) and the Staufers (until 1268), then as imperial knights, until they died out in 1536. The minstrel Hiltbolt von Schwangau comes from this gender. Hinterhohenschwangau was probably the birthplace of Margareta von Schwangau, the wife of the minstrel Oswald von Wolkenstein. When Duke Rudolf IV of Austria brought Tyrol under Habsburg rule in 1363, Stephan von Schwangau and his brothers undertook to keep their fortresses Vorder- and Hinterschwangau, Frauenstein Castle and the Sinwellenturm open to the Austrian Duke.

A document from 1397 mentions the Schwanstein for the first time, today's Hohenschwangau Castle, which was built around this time below the older double castle on a hill between Alpsee and Schwansee. Since the 16th century, the direct imperial rule of Schwangau was under the sovereignty of the Wittelsbachers, who used Schwanstein Castle for bear hunting and as a seat for younger sons and later for a foster court. They had acquired the entire property in 1567 from the estate of the bankrupt Augsburg patrician Baumgartner family.

In the 19th century, the two upper castles fell into ruins, and the remains of Hinterhohenschwangau were transformed into a viewing point called the Sylphenturm. Ludwig II spent part of his childhood near the castle ruins at the neighboring Hohenschwangau Castle, which his father, King Maximilian II, had converted from a late medieval castle into a homely castle in the Romantic style around 1837. Hohenschwangau was originally known as Schwanstein Castle, but it was only given its new name during the reconstruction. This swapped the names of Schwanstein Castle and the older twin castles Vorder- and Hinterhohenschwangau. In 1855, Max II commissioned building supervisor Eduard Riedel to first design a glass and iron pavilion for the tower in Hinterhohenschwangau, and the following year a plan for the repair of the tower and the construction of a room with a tent roof over it. However, both were postponed.

The ruins above the residential palace were frequent hiking destinations for the Crown Prince - like the Frauenstein and the Falkenstein - and were therefore well known. In 1859 he drew the remains of the Vorderhohenschwangau Castle for the first time in his diary. In 1837 an anonymous praised the rebuilt Hohenschwangau Castle as “the cradle of a new romanticism” and raved about the thought that “the ruins of the front castle Schwangau (meaning the double castle Vorder- and Hinterhohenschwangau), the one with Falkenstein and Hohen-Freyberg Form an elongated triangle, to be rebuilt into a large, simple festival and singers' hall ... “With that, the idea of ​​rebuilding the ruins in the sense of a rebirth of the site of the singing war on the Wartburg was in the world; 20 years before the Thuringian Wartburg was rebuilt by Hugo von Ritgen and 30 years before Ludwig II put the idea into practice by building a new “singing castle” based on the model of the Wartburg on the castle rock of Vorder- and Hinterhohenschwangau called “youth” erected.


After the young king took over the government in 1864, the reconstruction of the Vorderhohenschwangau castle ruins - the later Neuschwanstein - was Ludwig II's first major castle construction project Styles or had important medieval monuments reconstructed. Shortly after his father's Hohenschwangau, Ludwig's uncle, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, who was enthusiastic about the Middle Ages, had Stolzenfels Castle rebuilt in the course of the contemporary castle renaissance, and Hohenzollern Castle from 1850 to 1867. The Hanoverian king built Marienburg Castle from 1858 to 1869. The British Queen Victoria had Osborne House rebuilt in 1845 and, shortly afterwards, Balmoral Castle, after her uncle George IV had significantly expanded Windsor Castle between 1820 and 1830. Another example from Europe was the construction of the Palácio Nacional da Pena by the Portuguese King Ferdinand II from 1840 onwards. At the same time, the princes of Schwarzenberg had the Bohemian castle Frauenberg built and the princes of Urach built the castle Lichtenstein. The extensive restoration of the Hohkönigsburg in Alsace by the German Kaiser, which did not take place until the early 20th century, can also be mentioned here.

Neuschwanstein, intended as a symbol of a knight's castle, was followed by Linderhof, a pleasure palace from the Rococo era and Herrenchiemsee Palace, a baroque palace that stood as a memorial to the era of absolutism. Ludwig II was inspired to build Neuschwanstein through two trips: In May 1867 he and his brother Otto visited the rebuilt Wartburg near Eisenach, in July of the same year he visited Pierrefonds Castle in France, which was then designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc for Emperor Napoleon III. was remodeled from a ruined castle to a historic castle. In the king's understanding, both buildings corresponded to a romantic depiction of the Middle Ages, as did Richard Wagner's musical worlds of legends. His works Tannhäuser and Lohengrin had made a lasting impression on the king. On May 15, 1868, he informed his composer friend in a letter:

"I intend to have the old Hohenschwangau castle ruins rebuilt by the Pöllat Gorge, in the real style of the old German knight's castles"

Due to the death of his grandfather Ludwig I, who abdicated in 1848, the young king was able to withhold his allowance from 1868, which gave him extensive financial resources. With the construction project that was now under way, the king wanted to create a private refuge away from the capital Munich in the landscape he was familiar with from childhood, where he could experience his imagination of the Middle Ages, especially since the Hohenschwangau Castle, which he liked to use during the summer months of his unloved mother , Queen Marie, was occupied. The designs for the new palace were provided by the Munich theater painter Christian Jank, and they were implemented by the architect Eduard Riedel. Considerations of integrating the castle ruins into the building were not pursued because of the technical difficulties involved. The first plans for the castle, which were stylistically based on the Nuremberg castle and provided for a simple new building in place of the old Vorderhohenschwangau castle, were rejected again and replaced with increasingly extensive designs that led to a larger castle based on the model of the Wartburg. The king insisted on detailed planning and asked for every draft to be submitted for approval. His influence on the designs reached so far that the castle can be seen primarily as his own creation and less than that of the architects involved.

The castle under Ludwig II.

Construction of the castle began in 1869. The wishes and demands of Ludwig II grew with the building, as did the expenses, and the drafts and cost estimates had to be revised several times. Originally only a modest study was planned instead of the large throne room, and guest rooms were deleted from the drafts to make room for a Moorish hall, which could not be realized due to the constant shortage of money. The completion of the palace, originally planned for 1872, was repeatedly delayed. As a thank you for the imperial letter, the king received grants from the Welf Fund from Bismarck from 1871 onwards, but his financial resources were now increasingly being collected through his other construction projects. The exterior of the Palas and the gatehouse of Neuschwanstein were largely completed by 1886; from 1884 the king was able to live in the hall for the first time. Until his death in 1886, Ludwig II lived in the castle for a total of only 172 days, which until then was still like a major construction site. In 1885, on the occasion of her 60th birthday, he received his mother, the former Queen Marie, who lived in the lower Hohenschwangau.

Neuschwanstein was to serve Ludwig II as a kind of habitable theater backdrop. As a friendship temple, it was dedicated to the life and work of Richard Wagner, who, however, never entered it. Despite its size, the palace was not intended to be used by a court; it only offered space for the king's private apartment and rooms for the servants. The courtyard buildings served less residential and more decorative purposes. For example, the construction of the bower - which was not completed until after Ludwig's death - was a direct reminiscence of the second act by Lohengrin, where such a building was one of the scenes.

Ludwig II paid for his building projects himself from his private assets and the income on his civil list. Contrary to what is often rumored, the state treasury was not charged for his buildings. The construction costs of Neuschwanstein amounted to 6,180,047 marks until the death of the king, originally estimated at 3.2 million marks. However, his private funds were no longer sufficient for the sprawling building projects, and so the king had to constantly take out new loans. In 1883 he was already in debt with over 7 million marks, in 1885 he was threatened for the first time with seizure.

The disputes over the indebtedness of the head of state caused the Bavarian government in 1886 to incapacitate the king and to have him declared incapable of governing. Ludwig II stayed in Neuschwanstein at the time of his incapacitation on June 9, 1886; it was the last of his self-commissioned castles that he lived in. The government commission that traveled to Neuschwanstein on June 10, 1886 on the occasion of his impending dismissal was arrested by the king in the gatehouse. After a few hours, the members of the commission were released. On June 11th a second commission appeared under the direction of Bernhard von Gudden. The king had to leave Neuschwanstein on June 12, 1886 and was taken to Berg Castle, where he drowned in Lake Starnberg on June 13, 1886.

From the end of the 19th century to the present
When the king died near Berg Castle on June 13, 1886, Neuschwanstein was not yet completed. Ludwig II never wanted to open the palace to the public, but it was opened to visitors just six weeks after his death. Part of the credit was paid for with the entrance fees of two marks per person. The castles fell as an inheritance to Ludwig's brother Otto, who had been declared mentally ill as early as 1872 and therefore unable to govern. While the affairs of government were taken over by Ludwig's uncle Luitpold, the “Administration of the Assets of His Majesty the King Otto of Bavaria” was responsible for the administration of the estate. She managed to settle the building debts by 1899. In order to ensure a smooth tour of the castle, some rooms that had not yet been completed were completed and the bower and the knight's house were at least built as an exterior structure. At first, visitors were allowed to move freely in the castle, which meant that the furniture wore out very quickly. As early as 1886, a first joint castle guide for Herrenchiemsee, Linderhof and Neuschwanstein appeared. The not very extensive publication offered a description of individual art objects and was otherwise limited to mentioning the architects and artists involved in the construction.


After the proclamation of the republic in November 1918, Luitpold's successor Ludwig III. into Hungarian exile. The Bavarian civil list, consisting of the former property of the House of Wittelsbach, was declared state property by the Bavarian government on November 11, 1918. However, this called the Wittelsbach house on the scene. At the beginning of the 19th century, the former royal family brought their private assets to this civil list and thus saved the almost insolvent Bavarian state from bankruptcy. In return, he had undertaken to provide for the maintenance of the royal family. Now the Wittelsbachers demanded their property back. This was followed by lengthy disputes with the state, which ended in January 1923 with a compromise: the civil list was divided between Bavaria and the House of Wittelsbach. Neuschwanstein Castle came into state ownership, while the Wittelsbach Compensation Fund (WAF), which still exists today, emerged from the family part.

The remote castle survived the two world wars without being destroyed. Under the task force of Reichsleiter Rosenberg, a sub-organization of the NSDAP, it served as a depot for looted art stolen in France until 1944. The works of art, including parts of the Ghent Altarpiece and the Last Supper Altarpiece by Dirk Bouts, were cataloged photographically by the task force. After the end of the war, 39 photo albums were found in the castle that documented the extent of the robbery and are now kept in the American National Archives. At the end of the Second World War, gold treasures from the Deutsche Reichsbank were stored in the castle, but in the last days of the war they were transported to a location that is still unknown today. In April 1945, the castle was threatened with being blown up briefly by the SS, who wanted to prevent the building and the art treasures stored there from being passed into the hands of the enemy. The project was not put into practice by the SS group leader commissioned with it, and the castle was handed over to the Allied art protection authorities at the end of the war. After the Second World War, the Bavarian Archive Administration used some rooms in Neuschwanstein Castle as a temporary salvage store for archives, as the premises in Munich had been bombed out.

The construction
"... this castle will be more beautiful and homely in every respect than the lower Hohenschwangau ..."
- Ludwig II in a letter to Richard Wagner, 1868

Neuschwanstein Castle consists of several individual structures, which were built over a length of around 150 meters on the top of a ridge of rocks that was originally referred to as youth. The elongated structure has numerous towers, decorative turrets, gables, balconies, battlements and sculptures. The window openings are mostly designed in the form of bi- and triforias based on the Romanesque style. The combination of the individual buildings against the background of the Tegelberg and the Pöllat Gorge in the south and the hilly landscape of the foothills of the Alps with many lakes in the north offers different picturesque views of the castle from all directions. It was designed as the romantic ideal of a knight's castle. Unlike “real” castles, whose building stock is mostly the result of a building activity that often spanned centuries, Neuschwanstein was planned as a deliberately asymmetrical structure in one go and built in successive stages. Typical features of a castle were cited, but real defenses - the most important feature of a medieval aristocratic residence - were omitted.

The exterior
The palace complex is entered through the symmetrical gatehouse flanked by two stair towers. The east-facing gate building is the only building in the castle whose wall surfaces are designed in contrasting colors; the outer walls are clad with red bricks, the courtyard facades with yellow limestone. The eaves are finished with encircling battlements. The first apartment of Ludwig II on Neuschwanstein was located on the upper floor of the gate system, surmounted by a stepped gable, who occasionally watched the construction work from there before the completion of the palace. The ground floor floors of the gatehouse were intended to house the stables of the castle as commercial buildings. The passage through the gatehouse, crowned by the Bavarian royal coat of arms, leads directly into the courtyard on two levels. The lower courtyard level is bounded by the gate building in the east and the base of the so-called square tower and the gallery building in the north, the southern side of the courtyard is left open and provides a view of the surrounding mountain landscape. The western side of the courtyard is bordered by a walled embankment, the polygonal protruding bulge of which marks the choir of the unrealized chapel including the keep, and a flight of stairs to the upper level.


The most striking building on the courtyard level is the 45-meter-high, so-called square tower. Like most of the courtyard buildings, the building primarily serves a decorative purpose within the building ensemble. From its circumferential viewing platform there is a broad view of the foothills of the Alps to the north. The upper level of the courtyard is limited to the north by the so-called knight's house. The three-storey building is connected to the square tower and the gatehouse via a continuous gallery with blind arcades. In the understanding of castle romanticism, the knight's house represented the place of residence of the men's society on a fortress; service and utility rooms were provided there on Neuschwanstein. On the southern side of the upper courtyard is the three-story bower, which, as a ladies' house, formed the counterpart to the knight's building, but was never used as such. Both buildings together form the motif of the Antwerp Castle and thus quote the first act of Lohengrin. The floor plan of the palace chapel is embedded in the paving of the courtyard.

The west side of the courtyard is bounded by the hall. It forms the actual main and residential building of the palace, in which the king's state rooms and the servants' rooms are located. The Palas is a mighty, five-storey structure in the form of two large cuboids connected at a shallow angle and covered by two successive high pitched roofs. The shape of the building follows the course of the rock ridge. Two stair towers are inserted in its corners, of which the northern one, 65 meters high, towers over the roof of the castle by several floors. With their varied roofs, both towers are reminiscent of the example of the Pierrefonds Castle. The west-facing facade of the Palas has a two-storey Söller with a view of the Alpsee, to the north a low stair tower and the winter garden protrude from the structure. The entire hall is adorned with a multitude of decorative chimneys and decorative turrets, the courtyard facades are decorated with colored frescoes. The gable facing the courtyard is crowned by a copper-driven lion, the west-facing outer gable is crowned by a figure of a knight.

Building history
The ruins of Vorderhohenschwangau Castle and the Sylphenturm were completely demolished in 1868, and the remains of the old keep was blown up. Construction work on the gatehouse began in February 1869, the foundation stone for the Palas was laid on September 5, 1869. In the years 1869 to 1873 the gate was completed and fully furnished so that Ludwig could temporarily live here and watch the construction work. In 1874 Georg von Dollmann took over the management of the building work from Eduard Riedel. In 1880 the topping-out ceremony for the Palas, which could be occupied in 1884, was passed on to Julius Hofmann in the same year, who replaced Dollmann, who had fallen out of favor.

The castle was built using conventional brick construction and later clad with other types of stone. The white limestone on the facade surfaces comes from the nearby Alter Schrofen quarry. The sandstone blocks for the portals and bay windows come from Schlaitdorf on the edge of Schönbuch in Württemberg. Untersberg marble from the Salzburg region was used for the windows, the arched ribs, columns and capitals. A steel frame had to be drawn in for the throne room, which was subsequently incorporated into the plans. To make it easier to transport the building materials, scaffolding was erected and a steam crane was set up to pull the material up to the construction site. Another crane made things easier on the construction site itself. The steam boiler revision association founded at the time, which later became the technical inspection association TÜV, regularly checked these two boilers for their safety.

The major construction site was the largest employer in the region for around two decades. In 1880 around 200 craftsmen worked on the construction site every day, not including suppliers and other people indirectly involved in the construction. At times when the king demanded particularly tight deadlines and urgent changes, it is said that up to 300 workers per day did their duty even at night by the glow of oil lamps. Statistics from the two years 1879/1880 show an immense amount of building materials: 465 tons of Salzburg marble, 1550 tons of sandstone, 400,000 bricks and 2050 cubic meters of wood for the scaffolding.


The social institution "Association of Craftsmen at the Royal Palace of Hohenschwangau", founded on April 3, 1870, was very modern. The purpose of the association was to guarantee continued payment of wages for sick or injured construction workers with low own monthly contributions and reinforced by substantial subsidies from the king. Similar to today's social security or professional association, the construction company vouched for the salary for 15 weeks for an amount of 0.70 marks. There was a pension for the descendants of those who were fatally injured during construction - low, but not common at the time. Statistics report on 39 families who were awarded this pension, which is remarkably few for the buildings and their working conditions of the time.

The unfinished castle
At the time of Ludwig II's death in 1886, the palace was unfinished. The exterior of the gate and the main hall were largely completed, the square tower was still scaffolded. The bower, which had not yet begun in 1886, was built by 1892, but - like the knight's house - only simplified. The gallery of the knight's house was originally intended to be designed in naturalistic forms. The columns were planned as tree trunks and the capitals as their crowns. The kemenate should be decorated with female saints. Until then, only the foundations had been laid for the core of the palace complex, the 90-meter-high round keep planned in the upper courtyard with the three-aisled palace chapel in the substructure; A southern connecting wing between the gatehouse and the bower was no longer implemented. The planned castle garden with terraces and a fountain, which was to be located west of the palace, was also abandoned after the king's death. In 2008, reports that the Bavarian Palace Administration was striving to complete the palace according to the original plans by 2011 turned out to be an April Fool's joke.

The furnishing of the royal living quarters inside the palace was largely completed by 1886; the vestibules and corridors were painted in a simplified manner by 1888. The Moorish Hall desired by the king, which would have found its place below the throne room, was no longer realized, as was the so-called knight's bath, which, based on the model of the knight's bath in the Wartburg, was intended to pay homage to the knight's cult as a medieval baptismal bath. A bridal chamber planned for the bower (based on a corresponding location in Lohengrin) remained unfinished, as were the guest rooms and a large banquet hall originally planned for the first and second floors of the palas. A complete expansion of the Neuschwanstein, intended as a “private house”, was not planned from the outset, and so there was not even a usage concept for many rooms until the king's death. Only the entrance front of the chapel with the church portal would have given the upper castle courtyard the scenic effect from the 2nd act of Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin, which the king wanted from the beginning, and only the mass of the 90 meter high keep would have given the building structures of the hall, bower and Ritterbau given the architectural context for which they were designed. So Neuschwanstein remained a much admired but misunderstood torso.

Stylistic classification
The castle romanticism fell in the 19th century. Projects related to Neuschwanstein Castle have already been realized in the German states with the neighboring Hohenschwangau Castle, Lichtenstein Castle, Hohenzollern Castle or the numerous works of Rhine romanticism, such as Stolzenfels Castle. Another Neuschwanstein-like project planned by Ludwig II - Falkenstein Castle, approx. 20 km away - did not go beyond the planning stage due to the lack of funds. Architecture critics often ridiculed Neuschwanstein, which was one of the last major palace building projects of the 19th century, as kitschy. Today, the buildings of Ludwig II, and Neuschwanstein in particular, are among the main works of European historicism.


The castle is to be seen as typical of 19th century architecture. The forms of the Romanesque (simple geometric figures such as cuboids and round arches), the Gothic (rising lines, slender towers, filigree architectural decorations) and the Byzantine art (furnishing the throne room) are mixed in an eclectic way and supplemented by the technical achievements of the 19th century . The figures of the Patrona Bavariae and Saint George depicted in the style of the Lüftlmalerei are on the courtyard facade of the palace, while the designs for the gallery of the knight's house that were not carried out already indicated forms of Art Nouveau. The motifs from the world of the theater are characteristic of Neuschwanstein's figure: Christian Jank, who provided the drafts for the palace, previously worked as a stage painter and used his earlier set designs for the construction of Neuschwanstein.

The interiors
After its completion, the castle would have had over 200 different interiors, including rooms for guests and staff as well as for the development and supply. Only around 15 rooms and halls were completed and furnished. On its lower floors, the Palas houses utility rooms and servants' rooms as well as the rooms of today's palace administration. The upper floors house the state rooms of the king: the front structure accommodates the living rooms on the third floor, followed by the singers' hall. The rear structure, which faces west, is almost completely filled by the throne room on the upper floors. The total area of ​​the various floors is almost 6,000 m².

Although the palace as a whole was not completed, it houses numerous significant interiors of German historicism. Neuschwanstein was also equipped with a number of technical refinements that corresponded to the latest state of the late 19th century. Among other things, it had a battery-operated bell system for the servants and telephone lines. The kitchen equipment contained a Rumford stove, which set the spit in motion using its own heat and thus could adapt its rotations to the heat. The warm air produced was fed to a calorifère heater. A separate hot water preparation system for the running water was already built in, which was just as new for the time as the toilets with automatic flushing.

The throne and singers' hall
The two largest rooms in the palace are the throne and singers' hall. The largest room in the palace is the singers' hall, measuring 27 by 10 meters, located in the east-facing wing of the hall on the fourth floor above the king's apartment. The Neuschwansteiner Sängersaal combines the models of the singer and ballroom of the Wartburg and was one of the king's favorite projects for his castle. One side of the room was decorated with themes from Lohengrin and Parzival. The other side is accessed by a grandstand-like gallery, which comes from the model from the Wartburg. The end of the eastern end is formed by a stage divided by arcades, which is known as the singing arbor. The singers' hall was never intended for the court parties of the shy king. Rather, like the throne room, it served as a walk-in memorial in which the knight and love culture of the Middle Ages was represented. The first performance, a concert on the 50th anniversary of Richard Wagner's death, took place in 1933.


The 20 by 12 meter large throne room is located in the west-facing wing of the hall and occupies the third and fourth floors with a height of 13 meters. It was modeled on the All Saints Court Church in the Munich Residenz and designed by Julius Hofmann. The two-storey, second largest hall of the palace is surrounded on three sides by colored arcades and ends in an apse, which was supposed to accommodate the - never completed - throne of Ludwig. In the meantime, a cardboard display is being set up on the spot, which should show a possible appearance of the throne. Wilhelm Hauschild created the wall paintings. A mosaic, which was only completed after the king's death, adorns the floor of the hall, the chandelier is modeled on a Byzantine crown. Following the wishes of the king, the sacred throne room united the scene of the Grail Hall from Parzival with a symbol of divine grace, an embodiment of the unrestricted rulership, which Ludwig no longer had as head of state of a constitutional monarchy. Probably the most elaborate mosaic work in Germany adorns the floor. It consists of more than 1.5 million natural stone fragments approx. 1 cm2 in size. Due to the heavy wear and tear on the surface, the floor was protected by a photo-realistic copy based on a photo floor. This consists of over 100 billion pixels.

The living quarters and servants' rooms
In addition to the large state rooms, the smaller living rooms were also created for Ludwig II. The royal apartment is on the third floor of the palace in the east-facing wing of the hall. It consists of eight living rooms and several smaller rooms. Regardless of the sumptuous furnishings, the living rooms may appear relatively modern for today's visitors due to their modest size and their furniture with sofas and seating groups. Ludwig II placed no value on representative needs of the past, when the life of a monarch was still largely public. The furnishings with wall paintings, tapestries, furniture and other handicrafts repeatedly refer to the king's favorite subjects: the Grail legend, the works of Wolfram von Eschenbach and their interpretation by Richard Wagner.

The east-facing living room is decorated with themes from the Lohengrin saga. The furniture with a sofa, table and armchairs as well as seating in a north-facing alcove appear intimate and homely. Adjacent to the living room is a small grotto that forms the transition to the study. The unusual room, originally equipped with an artificial waterfall and a so-called rainbow machine, is connected to a small winter garden. As a representation of the grotto in Hörselberg, it refers to Wagner's Tannhäuser, as well as the decor of the neighboring study. The king had a similar grotto set up in the palace gardens of Linderhof. Opposite the study is the dining room decorated with themes from the world of minstrels. Since the kitchen in Neuschwanstein is three floors below, it was not possible to install a “table-deck-dich” (a dining table that can be lowered into the floor via a mechanism) as in Linderhof Palace and Herrenchiemsee Palace. Instead, the dining room was connected to the kitchen by means of a food elevator.

The bedroom adjacent to the dining room and the adjoining house chapel are the only rooms in the palace designed in neo-Gothic style. The king's bedroom is dominated by a mighty carved bed. 14 carvers worked over four years on the bed canopy, which is decorated with numerous pinnacles, and the oak wall paneling. Ludwig was arrested in this room on the night of June 11-12, 1886. Adjacent to the bedroom is a small house chapel dedicated to Saint Ludwig - the patron saint of the builder.

The servants' rooms in the basement of the Palas are rather sparsely furnished with solid oak furniture. In addition to a table and a cupboard, there are also two 1.80 m long beds. The rooms were separated from the corridor that led from the open staircase to the main staircase with windows made of opaque glass, so that the king could go in and out without being seen. The servants were not allowed to use the main staircase, they had to use the much narrower and steeper servant staircase.



Ludwig II did not build Neuschwanstein Castle as a representative building or for a show of power, but exclusively as his private retreat. This contrasts with the current importance of the castle as one of the most important tourist destinations in Germany. The German Tourism Association is promoting Bavaria as a land of fairytale castles with Neuschwanstein on an international level. So it is not surprising that in a survey by the German National Tourist Board (DZT) of 15,000 foreign guests about their favorite visitor destination, Neuschwanstein Castle came in first. In a national comparison, 350,000 participants voted for the palace complex in the ZDF show Our Best - the Germans' favorite places only in 19th place. In the vote on the new wonders of the world in 2007, Neuschwanstein Castle was in eighth place.

Since it was opened to visitors in the year Ludwig died, the facility has had a steadily increasing number of guests. In the first eight weeks alone, around 18,000 people visited the castle. In 1913 there were over 28,000 guests, in 1939 there were already 290,000. By 2001 the number had grown to around 1.3 million visitors, including 560,000 Germans and 385,000 Americans as well as English. The third largest group that year were the 149,000 Japanese. By 2005, a total of over 50 million visitors were counted. In 2013, a new record was set with 1.52 million visitors, that is 31 percent of all visitors to the state palaces, castles and residences. This makes Neuschwanstein Castle the undisputed visitor magnet of the Bavarian Palace Administration and its only facility that generates more profit than it causes costs. In 2004 more than 6.5 million euros were posted in income. In the high season from June to August, the facility has an average of more than 6,000 visitors a day, and up to 10,000 at peak times. Due to the high number of guests, guests without prior notice may have to wait several hours. Tickets are sold - locally and online - exclusively via the ticket center in Hohenschwangau. For security reasons, it is only possible to visit the castle as part of a 35-minute tour. There are also so-called themed tours that deal, for example, with the legends of the respective pictures.

The mass tourism associated with Neuschwanstein is not only a lucrative business for the region, it also brings problems. The traffic situation around the royal castles of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein is extremely tense, especially in the summer months. The rampant traffic in search of a parking space in Schwangau has a negative impact on the residents, and one third of the traffic jams on Augsburger Straße in Füssen is due to the arrival and departure traffic of castle tourists. The city of Füssen and the municipality of Schwangau have been negotiating to eliminate their traffic problems for over 20 years, but the various interests and conflicting positions of those involved have so far not led to a solution. Despite the long search for a parking space and queuing in front of the ticket center and the castle portal, the flow of visitors to Neuschwanstein Castle does not stop, because

"The nimbus of the" fairy tale king "evidently exerts such a fascination on the environment that any attempt to divert the stream of visitors to other, less visited objects has so far been and will probably remain in vain."

The Bavarian government regularly invests millions in the maintenance of the castle and in the tourist development of the complex. In 1977 the Felsberg under the bower had to be renovated for 500,000 DM. The renovation of the Marienbrücke at the time cost around 640,000 DM, while the renovation of the castle roofs had to cost 2.1 million DM. In the 1980s, it became necessary to drain a stairwell and build another visitor entrance. They cost a total of 4.2 million marks. In the period from 1990 to 2008, the Free State spent a further 14.5 million euros on maintenance measures - including the repair of the only access road and years of facade renovation - and the improvement of visitor care. The interiors also have to be regularly repaired and restored. In 2009 and 2011, the original textiles in the bedroom and living room of Ludwig II were restored for over 425,000 euros and protected from further deterioration with light and touch protection.


The castle administration warns that with around 1.5 million visitors annually, the castle has reached the limits of its capacity. The masses of visitors - together with the alpine climate and the light - would put a heavy strain on the valuable furniture and textiles. The moisture exhaled by visitors seems to play a special role. Scientists should investigate to what extent the castle administration can reduce this burden.

Neuschwanstein in art and culture
Neuschwanstein is a symbol of the romantic era and is known worldwide. It is the most popular lock motif in American advertising. As early as May 1954, the American magazine Life showed Neuschwanstein Castle on its front page in a special edition about the German economic miracle.

The castle inspired artists like Andy Warhol, who made it the subject of one of his pop art sequences after visiting it in 1971.

In 2002, fragments of a meteorite fell to the earth near Neuschwanstein, which have since been cataloged under the name of the castle.

For historical novels, the former Neuschwanstein castellan Markus Richter uses the historical facts that the site manager Heinrich Herold was shot in the heart and that an extension of the gate building fell in a landslide.

Model for buildings all over the world
The system was the model for several buildings around the world, above all for the Sleeping Beauty Castle in the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Paris was modeled on the Bavarian “fairytale castle” and follows the international classification that connects the sight of Neuschwanstein with Disney's Cinderella or Cinderella. The same applies to the Excalibur Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The complex, which opened in 1990 and cost $ 290 million, is strongly inspired by Neuschwanstein. [80] In Germany, the Kommerzienrat Friedrich Hoepfner had his "Hoepfner Castle" built on the Karlsruher Haid-und-Neu-Strasse from 1896 to 1898 according to plans by Johann Hantschel. The building erected as an operating building for Hoepfner's brewery also shows reminiscences of Neuschwanstein Castle.

Film set
Neuschwanstein Castle has served countless times as a backdrop for films about the life of Ludwig II. For example, it was the location for films such as Helmut Käutner's Ludwig II. From 1955 and Luchino Visconti's Ludwig II. From 1973. Also the biography Ludwig II. By Peter Sehr and Marie Noëlle from 2012 was shot on location.

The system was not only used for filming the life of Ludwig II. For example, in 1955 Erich Kobler staged his two Grimm fairy tale adaptations Schneeweißchen and Rosenrot and Schneewittchen, in which the castle served as the royal palace. Parts of the filming of Ken Hughes '1968 fantasy comedy Tschitti Tschitti Bang Bang also took place there, and in Mel Brooks' Star Wars parody Spaceballs, published in 1987, Neuschwanstein Castle was the home of Princess Vespa on the planet Druidia. Neuschwanstein also served as the backdrop for Peter Zadek's The Wild Fifties from 1983 and in the TV feature film The Hunt for the Treasure of the Nibelungs, which was first broadcast in 2008.

In the DEFA fairy tale film The Swapped Queen by Dieter Scharfenberg, a castle model is used in the opening sequence, which is an adaptation of Neuschwanstein.

The fortress in the Swiss Alps shown in the film Sherlock Holmes: Spiel im Schatten from 2011 was digitally designed using both the Hohenwerfen Fortress and Neuschwanstein Castle as a template.

Postage stamps and coins
Neuschwanstein was featured several times on postage stamps of the Deutsche Bundespost, for the first time on the 50-pfennig stamp of the definitive series of castles and palaces published from 1977 to 1982 (Michel number Bund 916 and Berlin 536). It was next seen in the background in 1986 on the special stamp for the 100th anniversary of the death of King Ludwig II (Michel number 1281). In 1994 the castle was depicted a third time on the special stamp with the description "Neuschwanstein Castle and View of the Alps" (Michel number 1742) from the series Pictures from Germany.

On the occasion of the anniversary of 150 years of German-Japanese relations, the Japanese Post issued a stamp pad. Neuschwanstein Castle is depicted on the 80 yen stamp of this block of 10.


The “Federal State Series”, which began in 2006, represents a building of the federal state on a 2 euro commemorative coin that is held by the Federal Council presidency. In 2012, Bavaria provided the president and thus also the motive, in this case Neuschwanstein Castle. In the same year, Germany issued another commemorative coin for Neuschwanstein Castle with only 5000 pieces. Two years earlier, the Pacific state of Palau had a 5-dollar colored silver coin minted with Neuschwanstein Castle in 2010. The “World of Wonders” collector's coin series shows buildings from all over the world.

With the rapid increase in visitor interest after the castle was opened, trading in memorabilia about the complex began. In 1886 two castle guides were published. One was probably published by the administration of King Otto's property, the second was published privately in Augsburg under the direction of Nepomuk Zwickh. The early souvenirs also include a silver spoon from a spoon series from the late 19th century, which shows an enamel image of Neuschwanstein on the spoon. It is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Today there are countless souvenirs about Neuschwanstein and its builder, from sugar cubes to silk scarves and 3D puzzles to marzipan figures. In 2005, the Bavarian palace administration registered “Neuschwanstein” as a word mark for a variety of goods and services in order to have more influence on souvenirs and services in connection with the palace. However, the German Federal Association of Souvenir Gifts Honor Awards e.V. took legal action against this entry in 2007 and was successful: The German Federal Patent Court ordered the trademark to be deleted in 2010. The legal complaint filed by the palace administration before the Federal Court of Justice was only partially successful, so that souvenirs and travel needs can continue to advertise with “Neuschwanstein”.