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Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle    

Photography by Daniel Schoenen / Image Broker / Aurora Photos

Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle

Schwangau, Germany

Walt Disney may have found this dramatic setting in Bavaria as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, but the real life occupant of this German castle was far more fascinating than a Disney princess. King Ludwig the II, the reclusive ruler of Bavaria from 1864 to 1886 also known as the Swan King, commissioned this Romanesque Revival palace not only as his retreat from the world, but as an homage to his friend and obsession, the composer Richard Wagner. This fairy tale architectural icon left by eccentric King Ludwig now has about 6,000 visitors a day in the summer and is a proud emblem of Bavarian culture.

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