What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

Categories: Design and Architecture | Europe | History

The king of fairy tales, as his adoring subjects said. The only real king of the XIX century, according to the poet Paul Verlaine, and the mad king, from the point of view of his ministers — all these epithets refer to the eccentric King of Bavaria Ludwig II, whom to this day many revere and just as many criticize.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

Anyone who has visited Ludwig II's most exquisite creation, Neuschwanstein Castle, or even just seen it in numerous photographs and postcards, is likely to think that the king is indeed more worthy of praise than abuse. It was this pseudo-medieval castle with many battlements on the walls and spires that appear like a ghost in the middle of an evergreen forest surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks that inspired Walt Disney to create fairy tales.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

Nineteen-year-old Ludwig became king of Bavaria in 1864. Fascinated by historical legends about the Sun King, the grandeur of Versailles and Wagner's music, he shared the composer's obsessive passion for idealized images of the German Middle Ages.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

The legends underlying Wagner's operas — the saga of Parsifal and the Holy Grail, the song of the Nibelungs and the legend of the Swan Knight, Lohengrin, became the subject of cycles that decorated the halls of Neuschwanstein — one of the three castles built by Ludwig.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

This work, which was led by architects Riedel and Dolman, was based on the plans of the theater artist Yank. Construction began in 1869 and ended in 1886, when the king died. It is because of this that the rooms of the upper floors remained empty and bare. In June of that year, Ludwig's ministers accused him of wasting public funds on increasingly insane and eccentric architectural chimeras (the accusations may have been unfounded). The government forced the leading psychiatrist of Bavaria to declare the king mentally ill and incapacitated without a personal examination.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

From Neuschwanstein, Ludwig was taken with respectful persistence to the Berg Castle on Lake Starnberg, where he was carefully guarded.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

On the second day of the king's stay in Berg Castle, his body and the body of his doctor were found in the shallow waters of Starnberg Lake at 23:00. Earlier, at 18:30 of the same day, Ludwig II and Professor von Gudden went for a walk. No one saw them alive anymore. According to the official version, the doctor tried to prevent the suicide of the king and drowned himself, although the depth of the lake did not exceed 1.2 m.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

The king's cousin, the Austrian Empress Elizabeth of Bavaria (also known as Sisi) — perhaps Ludwig's closest friend — has the only correct explanation for these events: "The King was not mad. He was just an eccentric person and lived in the world of his dreams. He could have been treated more mercifully."

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

The Allgau region in Bavaria was of great strategic importance in The Middle Ages, so there were once four castles. It was here that Ludwig decided to build his "elegant toy made of whipped cream." Preliminary drawings of Count von Pocci and Christian Jank shows that the central part of Neuschwanstein was designed on the model of the Wartburg Castle. Ludwig II insisted that the building merge with the environment.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

From spring to autumn, an amazing amount of construction materials were brought here. In 1879-1880 alone, more than 5,000 tons of Nurting sandstone, more than 510 tons of Salzburg marble and 400,000 bricks were needed for construction. The entire facade was finished with limestone from Alterschrofen.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

Architects who also specialized in theatrical decorations, stone carvers, painters and ceramics specialists were engaged in furnishing and finishing the interiors. The total cost of the castle exceeded 6 million marks. His chambers are diverse and extremely magnificent.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

Most of them are decorated with paintings in which the heroes of the German sagas and the sacred kings of Germany come to life. The Throne Room is characteristic in this sense, with its mixture of mosaic decorations in Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine styles and a bronze chandelier in the shape of a crown weighing more than a ton.

What happened to the crazy King of Bavaria from Neuschwanstein Castle

The pieces of furniture are made in the Neo-Gothic style popular in that era. In addition to all this, the building by decree of the king was equipped with the latest technology — for example, electric bells and a fully functional kitchen.

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