When Walt Disney personally saw Neuschwanstein Castle, he immediately believed it to be the perfect model for his Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty castles. It did not matter if the Bavarian monarch who built the castle, King Ludwig II did not live happily ever after, as the construction of the castle was not completed during or even after his life time.
What was important was that it had the look and feel of a romantic place where dreams of true love can come true.
The Characteristics and Designs of Neuschwanstein are the Perfect Fit for Storybook Fairy Tales
Located in a dramatic setting at the top a rugged hill and against a mountain backdrop, the way to the castle is an uphill climb along the Romantic Road, coming from the town of Fussen.
The Bavarian castle’s Romanesque design, classic turrets, cylindrical towers and platforms for panoramic views, were the perfect architectural features of a storybook castle. This is probably why in later years, the image of the Neuschwanstein Castle, also became the iconic logo for the storybook introductions of many Disney movies.
Often described as whimsical and grandiose, as many of the defensive features of traditional medieval castles are mere aesthetic elements. Rather than serve as strategic positions for soldiers to defend the castle from invaders and marauders since they were technically, unnecessary.
After all, Newschwansrwin was built in the 19th century, when sieges were a thing of the past. Even the castle’s placement at the top of a hill was not for the purpose of seeing approaching armies but simply for King Ludwig’s viewing pleasure.
King Ludwig II’s Obsession with Wagnerian Operas
King Ludwig II also built for himself a private theater where he planned to watch Wagnerian operas, as he was obsessed with the works of German opera composer Richard Wagner. The theatre was believed to be the king’s tribute to the composer although, Wagner has never visited the castle even when the Bavarian king wrote him a letter telling him it was so.
Ludwig’s adoration of Wagner’s work is very evident as he even added decors inspired by characters created by the German composer for his operas. The name of the castle itself drew inspiration from one of Wagner’s popular opera character “the Swan Knight”, as the direct translation of Neuschwanstein is “New Swan Stone”.
Unlike other well preserved castles in Bavaria and elsewhere in Germany that were built in as early as the 12th century, Neuschwanstein is only a pseudo-medieval castle as it was built during the 19th century, As it was the period of Industrial Revolution, which made the castle interiors modern with the use of emerging technologies like a central heating system, flushing toilets, a wave machine, a fake waterfall, and theater stage lights that shift colors.
Unfortunately, due to the Bavarian king’s expensive taste and eccentric interests, the country fell into a financial decline. This led to accusations that he was a “Mad King” and was declared in 1886 as not mentally fit to be the ruler of Bavaria. He died on the same day he was arrested, as he was reported to have drowned himself by the lake.
The castle all the more became one of Germany’s most popular tourist destination, setting the record for the highest number of visitors at 6,000 per day during the summer. However, a summer visit can be problematic as the Romantic Road could get congested by heavy traffic due to the massive influx of tourists.
While others recommend that post summer seasons are better as there is less volume of visitors and lighter traffic, it would be best to check the local weather advisory for Neuschwanstein Wetter, as heavy rains or snowfall would all the more dampen one’s visiting experience.