This romantic and elegant castle is built high atop a rocky outcrop in Southwest Bavaria near the Bavarian Alps. This summer retreat was commissioned by King Ludwig II, shortly after he received the crown in 1846 and was built to honor his hero - playwright and composer Richard Wagner. Originally called New Hohenschwangau Castle, it was renamed Neuschwanstein after King Ludwig died in 1886. It has been open as a tourist attraction for paying visitors since 1886 and gets up to 6000 visitors per day at peak.
Notice from the photos, there are no battlements, ramparts or other military influences; this was not a castle built to defend a king or his possessions, rather it is a large palace home. Unfortunately the King only lived here less than 6 months prior to his death and it has never been finished.
The elaborate and extravagant design of Neuschwanstein seems to be something out of a fairy tale and it serves as the influence for Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World. From the high steepled spires and tall slit windows, one can readily see the resemblance. And portions of the interior are just as elaborate, although only 15 of 200 rooms are actually finished. Inside are marble arcades, chandeliers, fantastic wood and plaster work, and references to the German legends of Lohengrin, the Swan Knight, which was a favorite boyhood saga of King Ludwig.