History of Hohenschwangau Castle
Hohenschwangau first appears in recorded history in the 12th century. Until the 16th century, it was owned by the knights of Schwangau.
In 1832, Mad King Ludwig's father, Maximillian II, purchased Schloss Hohenschwangau in ruinous condition. It was basically an abandoned fortress, the former home of the knights of Schwangau. But King Max fell in love with the romantic setting and crumbling buildings.
At the time, Maximillian was crown prince and heir to the Bavarian throne. Between 1833-37, he transformed the old ruin and built the yellow mock-medieval castle you see today.
King Max, who had been a studious and diligent monarch, died in 1864. The official story was a fall from his horse. But the real cause of death was syphilis, likely contracted during his 1833 trip abroad.
Queen Marie outlived both her husband and son, living until 1889 in Hohenschwangau. Then, Hohenschwangau was inherited by Ludwig's uncle Luitpolt, a possible suspect in the conspiracy to have Ludwig deposed and assassinated. But the public loved him for stabilizing Bavaria. Gilded gifts to Luitpolt are scattered throughout the castle.
During his tenure there, Luitpold installed electricity and an elevator. He died in 1912. One year later, Hohenschwangau became a museum open to the public. However, Hohenschwangau is still privately owned by the family, unlike Ludwig's other castles in Bavaria.