Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps, Linderhof in the Ammergau Alps and Herrenchiemsee in the middle of Lake Chiemsee. The magnificent buildings of King Ludwig II have shaped the image of Bavaria throughout the world. They also made Ludwig famous – a king who represents art, luxury and forward-thinking ideas. He belongs to Bavaria like the mountains and the Oktoberfest. In the USA, the “Fairy Tale King” enjoys cult status. His Neuschwanstein Castle is the model for Disneyland’s “Sleeping Beauty Castle” and is today the most photographed castle in the world.
As a visionary with a passion for technology, the Fairy Tale King indulged his passion for building and created his own reality. The death of the Fairy Tale King – his body was found floating in Lake Starnberg on 13 June 1886 – is still the subject of wild rumours. Was it murder or suicide? Only a few weeks after his death, the magnificent castles were opened for viewing. This was the starting signal for people’s never-ending enthusiasm for Ludwig and his visions. He became a myth. Far beyond the borders of Bavaria.
The historian in her element
Veronika Endlicher, warden of Herrenchiemsee New Palace, the “Bavarian Versailles”, is not only fascinated by Ludwig II the person, she also provides expert insights into the complex building and architectural history of the castle, a good hour’s drive from Munich. Together with three other wardens, or “castellans” – the term originates from the Middle Ages and refers to the castle administrator – she is in charge of the management of Herrenchiemsee New Palace and is responsible for the supervision and preservation of the historical substance.