Neuschwanstein Castle


What does this remind you of?Of powerful kings?Of beautiful princesses?Of "Once upon a time..."?Actually, Neuschwanstein Castle was built by a fairy-tale king:King Ludwig II of Bavaria.It is a story of dreams,of visions,of victories of technologyand of the King of Bavaria's tragic failure.Nowadays, they would call him "King of Hearts".His castle is Germany's best known building abroad,highlight of every Japanese European tour.Billionfold photographed.A castle as part of pop culture.I will tell you how it was created.Super Buildings, Neuschwanstein Castle, with Sebastian Koch Do you know Cinderella, Walt Disney's famous animated film?The plot of this fairy tale takes place on a castlebearing an uncanny resemblance to Neuschwanstein.Actually, Neuschwanstein was the pattern for Hollywood's fairy-tale castle.In my opinion, even the original castle looks like taken out of a fairy talebecause it is enthroned on that rock in this surreal and inapproachable manner.It pretends to date from Middle Ages,but it is just about 100 years old.Füssen, located in the Allgäu region, 1878The building work has been being in progress for almost 10 years,and His Majesty himself controls the progress.- No! These are TWO domes. I distinctly ordered ONE dome.You are presenting TWO domes. Why?ONE king, ONE dome!- Your Majesty, this is hardly to realize.The king drives his personnel crazy:constant new change requests that cost time and vast sums of money.An extraordinary treasure lies in the archives of Füssen:a wise 19th century photographer's photographic plates belonging to the oldest ones that still existdocumenting all phases of the construction with meticulous precision for over 20 years since 1868.Mainly, the construction took so long because of the unpractical location chosen by the king:an inaccessible rock, called "Youth".Every stone, scaffold and tool had to be got onto that rock.But His Majesty's will is law.Who build a knight's castle at the end of the 19th century into the Alps?King Ludwig II.Already during his lifetime, many regard him as eccentric.Some believe he is mad.And Neuschwanstein is by far not the only project of the king:At Linderhof Palace, he has an artificial grotto builtthat can be eluminated in different colours by electric light.A moon, powered by an accumulator, shines on the king's putto sleigh at night.He also designs a vehicle to hover across Alp Lake.Who was he?A technology freak? A pioneer of pop culture?Or just a bored monarch in his gilded cage?1864, Ludwig's father, King Maximilian II, dies at the age of 53.No one exspected this.Now, Ludwig, barely 18 years old, has to succeed.Though being full of eagerness, he knows nothing of government bussines,and actually, he is not allowed to govern alone.Though the King of Bavaria is authorized to name the ministers,the cabinet acts according to its own will.The young king feels like a mute.This unexperienced young king has to realize that he is completely dominated by his cabinet.Being radically confined, he is unable to prevail.For example, he is not able to realize initiatives in the field of monumental protection.1866, he is urged by his cabinet to a fateful decision.Bavaria goes to the Battle of Königgrätz on the side of Austria against Bismarck's Prussia.Ludwig being told of Prussia's victory, his whole world shatters.Despite not being to blame for it personally, he experienced this as a personal defeat.This plays a crucial part in contribution to his retreat from publicand to the creation of his own dream worldconsisting of his castles and Richard Wagner's operas.What does a man do being unable to get along with the reality?He thinks and dreams himself into a different one.He wears antique costumes, takes secret rides at night,and feels like an absolutist ruler.He revives the figures of fantasy from his childhood.These heroes are within his reach in the opera he funds generously.Ludwig later remembers the premiere day of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin in Munich:"From the day I listened to Lohengrin for the first time, I started to live."What a view! Made for a king,a fairy-tale king. That is what King Ludwig II is called today.Here, in the Winter Garden, time appears to stand still.Everything is unchanged as if the king just left the room.They say he was the last true king of his eraand Neuschwanstein the mirror of his soul.Every stone, every battlement, every turretis to be built according to Ludwig's will.He imagined a Grail castledecorated with scenes from operas of his favorite composer Richard Wagner.Mad? Fantastic? Bizarre.All of this is artificial.Made of cardboard,like in the theatre.The entire castle appears to be a scenery: the product of an almighty imagination,which needed a lot of space that could only be created by force.1869, the top of the mountain is straightened with dynamite.The outcome is a plateau, an area of 4300m².A castle construction would have been possible but not this particular constructionbecause Ludwig II had ideas that could not be realized on that rock.Imagine Cologne Cathedral on the peak of a rock. Impossible!Dynamite has just been invented.Ludwig has every technological invention of that era used at the building work of Neuschwanstein.In the middle of the 19th century, Bavaria is leading in economy, science and technology.So, it is no accident Germany's first railway, the "Eagle", is opened 1835 in Bavaria.going from Fürth to Nuremberg.The first Bavarian kings maintained Bavaria's agricultural structure.But Ludwig's father, King Maximilian II,who rather would have preferred to become a scientist than a king, focused on technology.Ludwig's father is true technology freak and resourceful himself.1836, he has a pump station, functioning by water power, installed at Nymphenburg Palace.Nowadays, the construction still functions properly.Ludwig inherited the enthusiasm for technology,but for him it is only a means to realize his dreams.His first project is a gigantic winter garden on the roof of the Munich Residenz.A glazed steel frame, 60 meters long.Beneath that, a fantastic universe of exotic plants and animals.High above the roofs of the city, actors recite poems and ballads for Ludwig....and you will be a king of godlike subjects.Then, Ludwig becomes aquainted with the scenic artist Christian Jank, who creates opera sceneries.An artist exactly according to the king's taste.Jank is engaged to put the king's visions to paper.Ludwig loves visual aesthetic, and Jank's works provide a far more vivid impressionthan his architects' prosaic plans do.But this vivid drawings encourage Ludwig to new ideas and designs.The castle on the rock gets bigger and bigger.That is how it should initially look like.Ludwig decides: far too modest.Constantly, he appears at the building area to control his standards.But some ideas are impossible to realize.Two of his master builders daring to express this have to go.Even their successors are often annoyed by the work.There are no specific reports, but I can imagine the local architects often broke sweat.Remember there was no international tendering as it is common today.But at that time, Gottfried Semper, who should build Wagner's opera, was at court.I think it was Gottfried Semper, being experienced in modern architecture,who contributed the ideas necessary for the construction.Now, Ludwig decides to have the castle built of ordinary bricks.Only the facade is made of pale sandstone and marble.That lowers the costs and the load the workers have to get onto the rock.Additionally, the hightec of the steam era is used:the lokomobile.This dangerous, smoking monster pulls the building materials on rails from the valley uphill.Therefore, a specifically founded intitution, the Steam Boiler Inspection Association,constantly controls the boiler safety.That is the origin of the famous German institution TÜV.

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