PowerPoint Show by Andrew Turn on Speakers
130 years ago, Bavaria's "Fairy-tale King" Ludwig II died under
very mysterious circumstances at the age of 40, his body found
floating in Lake Starnberg, south of Munich.
Today, Ludwig remains famous for the castles he built, most
notably Neuschwanstein Castle, perched high in the Alpine
foothills. The king hired theatrical set designers rather than
architects to design his castles. More absorbed in his personal
world than state affairs, Ludwig spent most of his time on his own
projects -- emptying his personal coffers -- and left his ministers
frustrated by his inattention.
When his cabinet accused him of insanity, he was placed in
custody after a brief showdown at Neuschwanstein Castle, and was
taken to a castle next to Lake Starnberg. The following day, while
out for a walk, Ludwig disappeared, his lifeless body discovered
hours later. The death was declared a suicide, but many have
rejected that ruling, and the demise of this popular king remains a
mystery to this day.
King Ludwig II, age 22, in 1867, only three years after he
ascended the Bavarian throne following his father's death. Though
he was young and inexperienced, Ludwig was a popular king among
Photographer Joseph Albert, posing with his equipment in front
of Hohenschwangau Castle, near the present site of Neuschwanstein
Castle, around 1857. At this time, Ludwig was a 12-year-old Crown
Prince, living with his family, headed by his father, King
Hohenschwangau Castle, Ludwig's family home, near Fssen,
southern Germany, viewed from Neuschwanstein Castle on August 10,
The hill that would hold up Neuschwanstein Castle, seen around
Scaffolding surrounds the walls of Neuschwanstein Castle as it
is being constructed, seen about 1875.
A view of the upper courtyard of Neuschwanstein Castle, still
under construction, as it appeared in 1886 -- the year of Ludwig's
Neuschwanstein Castle, near Fssen, Bavaria, seen on July 1,
2007. The castle was completed in 1886, and was opened to the
public only seven weeks after the death of King Ludwig II.
Ludwig II and his fiance, Duchess Sophie in Bavaria in 1867.
Though the two were engaged throughout most of 1867, Ludwig later
canceled the engagement, and never married. The King, a devout
Roman Catholic, struggled with his sexual orientation throughout
his adult life.
Linderhof Castle, near Oberammergau dated around 1900. Linderhof
was the smallest of Ludwig's castles, and the only one which he
lived to see completed, in 1876.
An outside view of Linderhof Castle, seen during a night time
opening on August 25, 2008.
A snow covered Linderhof Castle, seen on November 17, 2005.
The "Maurische Kiosk" (Moorish Kiosk), a structure on the
grounds of Linderhof Castle, is illuminated on August 25, 2008.
Herrenchiemsee Castle, built on an island in the middle of
Bavaria's largest lake, the Chiemsee. Ludwig commissioned this
castle as a tribute to one of his idols, King Louis XIV of France,
and his elaborate Palace of Versailles.
Interior of Herrenchiemsee Castle, the Hall of Mirrors,
containing 77 chandeliers, also modeled after the Palace of
A tourist looks at a portrait of King Ludwig II in
Bavarian Finance Minister George Fahrenschon shows the fully
restored state bedroom of King Ludwig II in Herrenchiemsee Castle,
on April 12, 2011.
Neuschwanstein Castle is now a world-famous tourist attraction.
Ludwig's castles have paid for themselves many times over in the
years since his death.
Snow covers Neuschwanstein Castle on March 20, 2007 near Fssen,
A view of the Alpsee and Alpine foothills, seen from a balcony
of Neuschwanstein Castle on May 23, 2007.
The ornate ceiling of the throne hall in the Neuschwanstein
An aerial view of Neuschwanstein Castle and the surrounding area
near Schwangau, about 120 km (75 mi) south of Munich.
Castle Berg, 1886, the year Ludwig II died -- his body found
floating in Lake Starnberg. Ludwig had been accused of insanity by
his cabinet of ministers, was arrested at Neuschwanstein Castle on
June 12, 1886, and transported here, to Castle Berg. On June 13,
1886, around 6:00 pm, Ludwig and a psychiatrist named Dr. Bernhard
von Gudden left the castle for a walk around the lake -- that was
the last time anyone saw either man alive. Both of their bodies
were found late that night, Ludwig was floating face-down in
waist-deep water. Ludwig's mysterious death was officially ruled a
suicide, but theories have existed since that day that the death
was an assassination.
The final photograph of King Ludwig II, as his body laid in
state in the royal chapel at the Munich Residence Palace in June of
A plaster death mask of King Ludwig II, viewed in Herrenchiemsee
Wearing traditional Bavarian costumes, supporters of the
Bavarian King Ludwig II attend an open-air Mass at the
Gedaechtniskapelle on Lake Starnberg, commemorating the 125th
anniversary of the King's death, on June 13, 2011.
A crucifix near the shore of Lake Starnberg near Berg, marks the
site where Bavarian King Ludwig II is believed to have died 128