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Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau – The legacy of the Bavarian kings

The two magnificent palaces Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein shine in the Bavarian region of Schwangau!

Contrary to what many people think, both are not really considered castles. But why? The definition is given for buildings whose functions were to defend and guard, that is, fortifications that may have been used for housing, but this is not its main focus, unlike palaces. Now that you know the difference, let’s talk about these wonderful monuments!

Hohenschwangau Palace

The place where the Bavarian royal family dynasty has spent their summers for generations, and which today enchants everyone with its Gothic style.

Hohenschwangau Palace.

The first records date from the 12th century, when in this same place there was the Schwanstein fortress, built and inhabited by the Knights of Schwangau until the 16th century. After many years, wars, and several residents, the fortress was reduced to ruins, and it was when in 1832 King Maximilian II, father of King Ludwig II, was enchanted by the beauty of the area around the fortress (already in ruins), it acquired and reconstructed in a phenomenal way. After the renovation, the formerly called Schwanstein castle is now called the Hohenschwangau Palace. Maximilian II and his family, wife Maria of Prussia, and sons Ludwig II and Otto I used the residence in summer and for hunting.

The interior of the palace is stunning, decorated with scenes of legends and medieval poetry. An example is the banquet hall, better known as the “hall of heroes”, the largest and most important palace hall, in which different scenes from the Wilkina saga and its hero Dietrich Von Bern are represented.

The visit to the palace is a must, as the garden and kitchen have remained the same since the reconstruction by Maximilian II and the rest was redecorated by Ludwig II, after the death of his father.

Neuschwanstein Palace

“[…] this palace will be more beautiful and livable than the lower Hohenschwangau […]”

Ludwig II, King of Bavaria.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria was passionate about palaces, so much so that throughout his life he left a great heritage for his kingdom (today the state of Bavaria): the incredible Neuschwanstein palace, built in the 19th century, which was the culmination of his buildings. The castle is situated on a cliff above the Hohenschwangau Castle.

Neuschwanstein Palace.

The name Neuschwanstein is a reference to “Swan Knight”, Lohengrin, from the opera with the same name. The references to the swan do not stop there, since King Ludwig II himself was called ‘swan king’. Tall, handsome, fond of arts, owner of a strong personality, the life of the “Swan King” of Bavaria was shrouded in speculation, as well as his mysterious death, after being found dead on Lake Starnberg at the age of 40.

With his appreciation for beauty, King Ludwig II could not have chosen a better location: the Neuschwanstein palace was designed to be a place where Ludwig could withdraw from the public, in a beautiful region surrounded by forests and lakes.

As a great admirer of Richard Wagner, Ludwig was inspired by his operas and medieval legends for the decoration of the walls of the lower and upper courtyards, of the royal rooms and rooms. In addition, the palace is full of modern technologies for the time it was built, as it was one of the first buildings of the time to have electricity.

Unfortunately, King Ludwig II died before seeing his complete work and the palace was named Neuschwanstein only after that event. Despite being built to be a peaceful place, just seven weeks after his death the place was opened to the public, becoming this great attraction of world fame, which transmits beauty and splendor.

It is very worthwhile to visit both palaces and pay a visit to the interior of each one on a guided tour. All the grandeur, the richness of details, and history, of course, with which they were built make them dazzling, impressing everyone who passes by!

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