Sunday, February 12, 2023

King Ludwig II: The Moon King of Bavaria

By Kathy Kovach

Last month, I introduced King Ludwig II, who ascended to the throne at the tender age of eighteen in 1864. He ruled for twenty-two years until his mysterious death in 1886. The first of three castles he had built was Neuschwanstein. If you missed my take on it, you can find it HERE.

Today, I take you on a tour of the second of his three castles, Schloss Linderhof, the only one he saw to completion. Located near his first masterpiece in the Bavarian alps, Linderhof was where Ludwig would spend most of his childhood at his father’s hunting lodge, or Königshäuschen (King’s Cottage). Once he ascended to the throne after his father’s untimely death due to sepsis, he proceeded to tear down much of the lodge. He created a relatively small building, taking inspiration from his idol, King Louis XIV and his Petit Trianon of Versailles. This was a Neoclassical style château located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.

Ludwig’s garden designer created a sculpted park that swept up to the white palace walls. Behind the castle, a waterfall cascaded down thirty marble steps to a Neptune fountain.

The grounds and the interior were designed in the Neo-Rococo expression. Wikipedia defines this as “an exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style of architecture, art and decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colours, sculpted moulding, and trompe-l'œil frescoes to create surprise and the illusion of motion and drama. It is often described as the final expression of the Baroque movement.” The rooms were smaller than Ludwig’s previous grand castle up the hill but no less grandiose.

Ludwig must have been nocturnal, as he would stay up all night and sleep during the day. Louis XIV was known as the “Sun King”, but Ludwig proclaimed himself a “Moon King”, a shadow of the French monarch. He was known to take long carriage rides at night through the beautiful Bavarian forest surrounding his home. In addition, he would use the Hall of Mirrors as a drawing room where he’d sit in the niche and read until dawn, enjoying the light of countless candles and their infinite reflections.

Hall of Mirrors

Tapestry Room

Dining Room

King's Bedroom

Second Bedroom

Music Room

Venus Grotto

Another person with whom Ludwig obsessed was the operatic composer, Richard Wagner. The king built a grotto just to showcase the first act of his opera Tannhäuser. The man-made cave contained a small lake upon which he rode in a gold-gilded swan boat to the middle where he could watch the performers on a stage. The grotto was the first in Germany to utilize electricity, and colored lights glowed on artificial stalactites hanging from the thirty-three-foot ceiling. A moon was also illuminated that could change colors upon the whim of the king himself. A wave machine created movement upon the water below. These effects were possible due to the first electrical station built in Bavaria with Ludwig being the initial one to utilize it. Heated bricks kept the space warm for the comfort of the king. Pictures can’t even begin to capture the beauty of this grotto, or even of the castle itself. I feel so blessed to have visited Linderhof, as well as the other two castles, in person. As for the purpose of the synthetic cavern, here is an excellent description.
Dr. Michael Petzet, writing in Wilfrid Blunt’s book The Dream King: Ludwig II of Bavaria, describes the grotto’s space as one which allows the visitor an encircled mirage where “stage and auditorium are blended into one,” creating a total theatre as it “did not separate the onlooker from the stage.” -White Hot Magazine 
Beyond the experience of theater-in-the-round, this technique of entertainment only emphasized Ludwig’s desire to immerse himself in the dream and to live outside of his reality.

Of which I identify. The writers reading this article are no doubt nodding their heads. Nocturnal tendencies and the desire to escape reality? It’s why I became an author.



A secret. A key. Much was buried on the Titanic, but now it's time for resurrection.

Follow two intertwining stories a century apart. 1912 - Matriarch Olive Stanford protects a secret after boarding the Titanic that must go to her grave. 2012 - Portland real estate agent Ember Keaton-Jones receives the key that will unlock the mystery of her past... and her distrusting heart.
To buy: Amazon

Kathleen E. Kovach is a Christian romance author published traditionally through Barbour Publishing, Inc. as well as indie. Kathleen and her husband, Jim, raised two sons while living the nomadic lifestyle for over twenty years in the Air Force. Now planted in northeast Colorado, she's a grandmother—and soon-to-be great-grandmother—though much too young for that. Kathleen has been a longstanding member of American Christian Fiction Writers. An award-winning author, she presents spiritual truths with a giggle, proving herself as one of God's peculiar people.


  1. Thanks for posting today. I can tell that the pictures you included could not begin to display this opulence. I love the blue and gold, it would be amazing to see it in person, I'm sure.

  2. It was my favorite of the three castles, mostly because of the blue. So rich.