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1. Construction took more than seven times longer than expected
When construction of the castle began in 1869, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who initiated the project, estimated that building would take 3 years to complete. But due to the ambitious designs and precarious building site atop a mountain, the project took much longer.
King Ludwig II set practically unachievable deadlines which meant that workers had to work day and night to get the work done in time. The King had to live in the gateway building until the palace was liveable. He finally moved in in 1884, 12 years later than he intended to. But building work was still not complete.
4. The castle is featured in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
This one may come as less of a surprise but is well worth a mention. In the 1968 film, the Bavarian castle was the filming location for the shots of the outside of evil Baron Bomburst's castle, which the family fly over in the car in one memorable scene.
5. Neuschwanstein is the inspiration for the Disney castle
Walt Disney was so inspired by its fairytale architecture, that he used it to create Cinderella's castle in the 1950 cartoon film. Neuschwanstein is also the basis for the Disney logo, shown before every Disney film, and the Cinderella Castle in Disneyworld Florida and the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Paris.
6. The decorations were inspired by Wagner’s operas
Many of the pictures in the castle are inspired by the operas of Richard Wagner, or rather the medieval stories which inspired them. The stories depicting love, guilt, penance, and salvation are the themes in the wall paintings of the castle. King Ludwig II was a close personal friend of Wagner and his benefactor; he even dedicated Neuschwanstein to the composer.
7. The castle was on the cutting edge of technology.
The medieval style inside of the Castle. Photo: DPA
Although the castle takes inspiration from the architecture of the middle ages, Ludwig II ensured that it was fitted with all the latest technology of the time. There was running water throughout, including hot and cold water in the kitchen, an electric bell system for servants, telephones, a hot air central heating system and a lift. What's more, all of this was at a time when such technology was practically unheard of. The castle was also built with steam-powered cranes as the building site was so difficult to reach.
8. The building constantly needs repairs to stop it falling down
Neuschwanstein needs continuous work to remain in its highly preserved state. The limestone façades are damaged by the mountain harsh climate and have to be renovated section by section over the coming years. Movement in the foundation area also has to be continuously monitored, and the sheer rock cliffs of the hill must be repeatedly secured to prevent parts of the structure slipping down the mountain.
9. The castle was supposed to be the King's retreat from the public
10. Neuschwanstein didn’t get its name until after Ludwig II’s death
Hohenschwangau castle. Photo: DPA
During his lifetime, King Ludwig II called the palace the 'Neue Burg Hohenschwangau' after the nearby Hohenschwangau castle where he had spent much of his childhood. Hohenschwangau was painted with scenes of medieval legends which Ludwig II wanted to emulate in his new castle, for example in the works of art depicting characters of kings, knights, poets and lovers.
Three figures, in particular, were of significance to the king – the poet Tannhäuser, the 'Grail King' Parzival and his son, Lohengrin the 'Swan Knight'. The name Neuschwanstein is a reference to the last character and literally means 'New Swan Stone' which comes from one of Wagner's operas 'The Swan Knight'.