Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th Century German palace that is located in Southwest Bavaria, Germany. It is quite noticeable in that it is built upon a rugged hill in the Bavarian Alps. It is considered as one of the more picturesque castles in the world, complete with its own set of towers and spires. It was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle put up in Disneyland Park and the one made out in Disneyland Hong Kong.
The Neuschwanstein Castle was built upon the orders of Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1868 to serve as the king’s royal retreat as well as one that will pay homage to notable German composer Richard Wagner who was looked upon as an inspiration not only by the king but by many Germans during that time. It was actually a rebuilding of a castle that once stood on the same site.
The first stone was laid in 1869. The castle was unique in that it was designed by a theatrical set designer, Christian Jank, rather than an architect. This may explain the quite fantasy-like design of the structure. Architectural expertise was provided by the Munich court architect Eduard Riedel and later on by Leo von Klenze. It was not finished when Ludwig II died in 1886.
The Neuschwanstein Castle is a vast compound comprising mainly of the Knight’s House, a Tower, the Palas or citadel, and two towers located on the western end. Inside the Palas contains the throne Room, King Ludwig’s suite, the Singer’s Hall and the Grotto. Most of the rooms inside were influenced in their designs to the legends of Lohengrin, also known as the Swan Knight. Swans became the main theme in the interior decorations and design and the themes largely taken up from the operas made by Wagner.
There were many rooms that were left undecorated because of the untimely death of Ludwig II. Only 14 of the rooms including the Throne Room were completely finished at the time of the King’s death. Other unfinished areas, including the planned massive keep for the palace, were left uncompleted by the orders of the King’s family.
One of the unique features of the Neuschwanstein Castle is that it is one of the largest castles enjoying the convenience of running water despite its elevated location. The King’s master suite for instance, contains a secret flushing toilet as well as a running sink shaped like a swan. The kitchen is equipped with both hot and cold running water.
Although Neuschwanstein Castle may look like a medieval palace, it is one of the few elegant structures of its kind that required the use of modern technology of its day as it was being built. Aside from its own running water system, Neuschwanstein Castle also enjoys having the convenience of using steam engines, electricity and modern venting as part of its many amenities. In its own, Neuschwanstein Castle was considered a technological marvel during its time because of these features, one of the very first and few ancient castles to do so.