Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The "fairy-tale" palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner, whom the king has greatly admired.
The castle was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king Ludwig, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886.
Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer.
Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.
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