Literally translated as ‘New Swan Stone’, this castle is one of the most beautiful and certainly the
most famous castle in Germany and was the model used for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. It was built in neo-romantic style to the order of
King Ludwig II near the Bavarian tourist town of Fussen and overlooks the picturesque Hohenschwangau Valley. Construction began in 1869, but the ‘Mad King’s’ demands were so exacting that progress was extremely slow. It is said that it took more than a dozen carpenters over four years just to complete the woodwork in Ludwig’s bedroom. Unfortunately, only 14 rooms were actually completed before the king’s death, leaving many of the rooms empty and bare.
In 1886, as the castle was reaching completion, the king was declared insane by a State Commission and stripped of his powers. In June of that year he was found drowned in shallow water in Lake Starnberg. His unexplained death was ruled as suicide and the mystery adds a touch of intrigue to the castle. From the outside, the beauty of this fairytale castle is enhanced as the sun illuminates the pale stone walls, towers and turrets. Inside, the throne room is overly extravagant. Elaborate frescos of angels and other Christian depictions adorn the room; however, there is no throne but just a raised dais. The king was removed from power before a throne could be built.
Around 1.3 million people now visit the castle every year.