The Fantastical Castle Creations Of Mad King Ludwig In Bavaria
Filed in Sights
Everyone knows Neuschwanstein as perhaps the most famous castle in the world, and as the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Palace.
But what some may not realize is that the patron of Neuschwanstein, King Ludwig II, better known as the “Mad King” had many other whimsical and fantastic castle constructions as well.
Let’s take a look at two of his lesser-known masterworks.
Linderhof Palace In Ettal
Linderhof Palace may have been the smallest of his palaces, but it must have had a special meaning to Ludwig. It was the first — and only — palace where he lived to see its completion.
His untimely and rather mysterious death came in 1886, when he was just forty years old. Schloss Linderhof was completed in the same year.
When Ludwig was a young boy, he used to go hunting on the grounds of the Königshäuschen (King’s Cottage). Linderhof’s construction began by first enlarging that very cottage, only to have it torn down and begun again from scratch.
Linderhof Palace is a late rococo style building, but it evidently and proudly borrows aspects from the world-famous Versailles Palace in France. Louis XIV was the Sun King, and in homage to him, the emblem of the sun can be spotted all around Linderhof. There are some other elements that are close replicas of its French sister, particularly the magnificent staircase and the hall of mirrors.
Herrenchiemsee Castle On The Island Of Herreninsel
King Ludwig II was not the original benefactor or architect of the Herrenchiemsee Castle, yet it is still considered one of “his” creations.
The original Schloss Herrenchiemsee dates back to the year 765 when a Benedictine Abbey was constructed on the northern part of this island in Chiemsee on the orders of Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria. By 969, Emperor Otto I had given the land to the bishops of Salzburg who converted the abbey into a monastery for the Canons Regular monks living under the Augustinian rule of poverty and seclusion.
In 1215, there was another change in management for this abbey-turned-monastery. Under the orders of Pope Innocent III, Herrenchiemsee would become a Roman Catholic cathedral of the Bishopric of Chiemsee.
The Catholic rule lasted for many centuries, until the early 1800s. At this time, the Abbey became a secular place and the diocese was disbanded. The new, non-religious owners had no need for a Catholic cathedral. They destroyed it and put up a brewery.
Here is where our King Ludwig enters the picture. By 1873, the entire island was slotted for deforestation. Luckily, Ludwig stepped in and put a stop to any further demolition. He preserved the remaining structures as the “Old Palace” and began to construct a new one. This was just one more palace that Ludwig would not live to see in its finished glory. Construction stopped just after the king’s demise and many of the unfinished sections were later demolished. A year after his death, the palace was opened up to the public.
Although the palace was never completed to Ludwig’s original vision, it remains an impressive sight to behold. The State Rooms and Court Garden are among the highlights. But be sure not to miss the Ludwig Museum. Here, you can learn all about the man who helped to create such wondrous, fantastical castles — the Mad King Ludwig II himself.
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