The Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany could be considered as one of the best icons of the Neo-Gothic Revival architectural style. Located atop a rugged hill just above Hohenschwangau village in southwest Bavaria, this castle remains to be the most prominent structure in the area, amidst mountains and greeneries. The building of Neuschwanstein Castle is commissioned by Ludwig the second of Bavaria to serve as a retreat for the royalty. The castles setting is perfect for the king because of his reclusive nature; with miles of uninhabited lands surrounding the castle, this is a perfect getaway for a lonesome soul. The construction of the castle started in late 1869, and was finished in 1892, though Ludwig II wasn't able to see it completed because of his death in 1886. Immediately after his death, the Neuschwanstein Castle was opened to the public, and since then it continues to admit visitors, amounting to more than a million people every year.
Schwangau, the municipality that covers Neuschwanstein Castle, lies 800 meters above sea level and is located at the southwest border of Bavaria. It is surrounded by the Alpine foothills in the south, and a hilly landscape in the north. Before the castle was erected, the area features the ruins of two castles, the Vorderhohenschwangau Castle and the Hinterhohenschwangau Castle.
The design of the Neuschwanstein Castle is based on the contemporaneous architectural fashion called Castle Romanticism and Ludwig IIs fondness of Richard Wagner's operas. The castle's design was drafted by Christian Jank, and was then brought to life by renowned architect Eduard Riedel. Initially, the plan was to integrate the designs of the ruined castles, but due to technical reasons, it was not realized. Extensive planning and drafting was involved before any construction started, and Ludwig II required that he personally approve of each draft that the designers may come upon. The personal touch and attention given by the king in the creation of the Neuschwanstein Castle is great proof that it was his creation rather than that of his architects.
The Neuschwanstein Castle could be considered as one of the major works of European historicism, and the designs integrated in the structure is typical for 19th century architecture. It could be considered as a melting pot of different architectural styles; the simple shapes and geometric figures of Romanesque, the upward pointing lines and slim towers of Gothic, and the art and architecture of Byzantine styles were mixed and matched perfectly to create the one of a kind Neuschwanstein Castle.
The effect that emanates from the Neuschwanstein Castle is highly theatrical, not only in its exterior but also in the interior. The design of the suite rooms like the throne room and the kinds suite can be interpreted as homage to German legends of Lohengrin. This came from Ludwig IIs childhood, when he spent much of his youth at Hohenschwangau, where decorations of these sagas flourished. These were also the prominent themes of Richard Wagner's operas. These operas were also manifested in the design of some of the interior rooms, though most of these were left bare when Ludwig II passed away.