Have You Seen The Castle That’s The Eighth Wonder Of The World?

Deep in the South of Germany, at the end of the Romantic Road, you will find the 8th Wonder of the World. It’s an unofficial designation based on the runner-up status achieved in the 2007 competition for the New Wonders of the World. Yet seeing it up close is certainly worth the journey!

This wonder is Neuschwanstein Castle. Also called the Swan Stone Castle or simply Neuschwanstein, it was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria between 1868 and 1886. Known as the “Mad King,” he certainly wasn’t crazy when he commissioned this gem.

Done in the Romantic Medieval style, Neuschwanstein sits on a hill above Füssen. Often swathed in clouds, it evokes awe and a sense that you’ve stepped into a fairytale dream. Its design was inspired in part by Richard Wagner’s musical work with German legends, and Walt Disney used it as the model for Cinderella’s castle at the theme parks.

Yet King Ludwig wasn’t operating in a dream world. Instead, he incorporated his passion for modern technologies into the castle. Did you know he was the one who introduced electricity to Bavaria? His own palace was an example to others.

Each floor is wired for electricity, plumbed for running water on all floors and includes flush toilets and central heat. The medieval charm of the place was enhanced with a sturdy hot water system and private drinking water supply. Though the Neuschwanstein castle may look like a fancy toy, it was designed to be lived in comfortably!

To get the best photographs of the Swan Castle, you will want to budget enough time for a hike over to the nearby Mariensbrücke. This bridge crosses a gorge facing the castle and gives a superior vista to the diligent. You can also paraglide over the castle from the mountains around it, which gives an amazing view of the building and grounds if you are brave! ;-)

Do note as well that Neuschwanstein is open year round. While it is excellent to visit in the summer as the hiking is more comfortable, the castle in the winter is also beautiful. Christmas decorations and holiday events can be quite touching and post-card perfect.

White Christmas, anyone?

—Marcus

 

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