142 years ago on this date marked the commencement of the creation of Schloss Neuschwanstein, above the village of Hohenschwangau in Bavaria, commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria.
We might in this post, first discuss the man who ordered the amazing construction. I dedicate this post to the reclusive King with whom I may share similar interests with.
Ludwig II, a young eccentric heir to the throne, had loved poetry and nature, and evidently shared little interest in the Bavarian throne. Ludwig II’s interest in theatrics and the arts was amplified by his admiration for Richard Wagner. As in my previous post, I advocate a divorce of political/religious inclinations and to observe this man in isolation. Like any normal individual with personal favoritisms and feelings, Ludwig II had penned his thoughts in a private diary which included his interests in several male figures. However, Ludwig II had suppressed his desires in a bid to remain loyal to his faith. Unfortunately given his status, it was not uncommon for falsified copies of his diary that were publicized to depose Ludwig II since 1886.
Ludwig II had a history of eccentricity, much like his grandfather, and his creativity was counter-intuitive to the need for a practical and clear-headed king of state. Ludwig II preferred the country life, without huge social diplomatic events. Following Ludwig II’s endorsement of a German Empire, Bavaria lost its independence status and was placed within the empire. Ludwig II withdrew from the political stage and became increasingly lost in his fantastical castles. Linderhof Castle and Neuschwanstein were amongst his wonderful creations – however, his huge expenditures and unfathomable behaviors had the state deem him unfit as king. Ludwig II was later deposed on the pretext of insanity – and not surprisingly, ended his life story with a mysterious death of drowning in Starnberger Lake.
Ludwig II – a mad king? I doubt so. It would take a unique horse-carriage ride uphill to the Castle entrance, or a 30-minute hike up the roads to encounter the towering castle front. I have entered the Neuschwanstein Castle and spent my days in Hohenschwangau, and no man of insanity could create a natural beauty as such. Those were the days of true magnificence, of memories that one might never forgot. It was a paradise, a reminiscence one could take with to the grave. A place etched in the mind and heart…
Had he been a common man of riches, would he have been spared his terrible ending? Had he not been the eccentric king he was, would we today see the splendid castle sites that had once been deemed “dreams and imaginations” of Ludwig II? Had these castles not been built, which castle would Disneyland be modeling after when they were creating Sleeping Beauty’s castle?
I cannot comprehend how mankind remembers the negative more than the positive. First we have an insult to Catherine the Great of Russia, for her sexual appetite. Then we have Ludwig II remembered for his whimsical behaviors and homosexuality. Can we not for once see the great works of the past peoples?
The Neuschwanstein Castle leaves a deep mark in my mind. I have visited this location with someone I had cared for very much a few years ago, but who has left this plane hopefully to a land of peace and bliss, just like Hohenschwangau had given the most incredible views possible. A fantasy in reality, this castle emerged amidst the foggy morning skies and decorated the background of a photograph that stays with me today. The castle that holds a trove of history and amazing stories for the once eccentric king, will forever hold a trove of memory for a very eccentric me.
Thank you, Ludwig II.