The 125th Anniversary of the Death of King Ludwig II

A hundred twenty-five years ago, Bavaria's "Maerchenkoenig" (or "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 and attempted to build, most notably Neuschwanstein Castle, perched high in the Alpine foothills. The king was a romantic, a friend and suporter of composer Richard Wagner, and he 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.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Amanda Perobelli / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Glass Ceiling, Blue Grotto, Lava Glow

    A May Day rally in Istanbul, a SpaceX splashdown in Florida, an early cicada in Maryland, a diving competition in Tokyo, orienteering in Ukraine, and much more

  • Qi Lianmin / VCG via Getty

    Robots Are Everywhere

    Recent images of robotic technology from around the world

  • Fernando Vergara / AP

    Photos: Deadly Protests Across Colombia

    For several days now, people across the country have voiced their anger in large demonstrations.

  • Alexander Nemenov / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Desert Highway, Launch Symphony, Mermaid Show

    A life-sized Gundam statue in China, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in India, the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Portugal, a Lego New York City, and much more