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

  • Juan Oliphant / oneoceandiving.com / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Ice Disk, Pet Blessings, Presidential Burgers

    Teachers on strike in Los Angeles, “Kiss a Ginger Day” in Ireland, a terror attack in Nairobi, fashion shows in Berlin and Paris, the “No Pants Subway Ride” in New York, and much more

  • Ricardo Mazalan / AP

    Photos From the 2019 Dakar Rally

    On January 7, a group of 334 competitors began the 41st annual Dakar Rally: a punishing 10-day, 3,000-mile race across the Peruvian desert.

  • Ilya Terentyev / Getty

    Built to Separate: Border Barriers Around the World

    As more and more walls are built along borders worldwide, a look at some famous and some lesser-known barriers across the globe.

  • Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty

    Photos of the Week: Denver Longhorns, Camel Shaving, Hero Pups

    Heavy snow across Central Europe, a partial solar eclipse in China, a Transformer on the streets of Bogota, the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Christmas fire in Saint Petersburg, and much more