Hohenschwangau Castle, or Schloss Hohenschwangau, may be best known as the castle next to the world-famous Neuschwanstein Castle, but it has a unique and vibrant history all of its own.
About The Hohenschwangau Castle And Its History
Hohenschwangau had its beginnings in the 12th century as the fortress Schwanstein. The family of knights who had founded the fortress died out by the 16th century. From this time until the 19th century, the fortress changed hands numerous times and, predictably, fell into ruins.
However, in April of 1829, a young crown prince went on a walking tour and discovered the remains of this once-proud castle. This was, of course, the future King Maximillian II of Bavaria, father to Ludwig, who would be best-known for his own series of fantastical castles. Maximillian gained possession of the ruins in 1832 and one year later had set about restoring it to its former greatness.
Maximillian worked on the castle with the help of his architect, Domenico Quaglio (and others following Quaglio’s death) to bring new life to the ruin and create the glorious Hohenschwangau.
Hohenschwangau became the summer residence for the King, his wife Marie of Prussia and their two sons, Ludwig and Otto. When the king died in 1864, Ludwig took up residence in his childhood home, where he also oversaw the construction of his own castle, Neuschwanstein, just across the way.
Ludwig died mysteriously in 1886, leaving his mother Marie as the only resident in the vast palace. The Queen’s brother-in-law, Luitpold, was next to live within Hohenschwangau. After installing electricity and an elevator, he died in 1912 and one year later, Hohenschwangau became a museum open to the public.
Miraculously, it suffered no damage during either of the world wars and remains in pristine condition. Each year, more than 300,000 guests come to experience the glory and fantasy of this Bavarian masterpiece.
Hohenschwangau Castle Highlights And Features
Hall of the Swan-Knight
Hohenschwangau Castle is home to many elaborately painted rooms and the Hall of the Swan-Knight is no exception. This room depicts scenes from the classic tale of Lohengrin, the Swan-Knight who is the hero of Elsa’s dreams, and who meets with tragedy when she asks him the forbidden question: What is your name?
The Oriental Room
Inspired by Maximillian’s visits to Greece and Turkey, you will feel transported eastwards with a visit to this exotic room. It was the former bedroom of Queen Marie.
Hall of Heroes and Knights
This enormous room takes up the whole width of the castle! The Hall of Heroes and Knights shows off some spectacular ceiling paintings of a forgotten German legend, Dietrich von Berne.
There are also impressive Gothic columns and other decorations.
Be sure to step outside for a fantastic view of that classic German castle which is just across the way. Neuschwanstein is always worth a photo.
Hohenschwangau Castle Location And Opening Hours
If you are equipped with a navigation system, you can drive to the castle with step-by-step directions. The street address is Alpseestraße 12 in Schwangau. The closest highways are the autobahns A7, A95, and A96.
Public transport users can take the train to Füssen, then hop on the shuttle bus to the castles. It’s a 5 km (3 mi) journey from the station to Hohenschwangau.
Hohenschwangau Castle Opening Hours
Between April and November, you can visit Hohenschwangau from 9:00 a.m until 6:00 p.m from Monday to Sunday. In the winter, the castle is open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30.
The ticket office generally closes a half an hour earlier than the castle, so be sure to get there early enough for the last tour of the day.
Hohenschwangau Castle Web site: http://www.hohenschwangau.de