Linderhof is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.
Ludwig II, who was crowned king in 1864, began his building activities in 1867-1868 by redesigning his rooms in the Munich Residenz and laying the foundation stone of Neuschwanstein Castle. In 1868 he was already making his first plans for Linderhof. However, neither the palace modelled on Versailles that was to be sited on the floor of the valley nor the large Byzantine palace envisaged by Ludwig II were ever built.
Instead, the new building developed around the forester's house belonging to his father Maximilian II, which was located in the open space in front of the present palace and was used by the king when crown prince on hunting expeditions with his father. Linderhof Palace, the eventual result of a long period of building and rebuilding, is the only large palace King Ludwig II lived to see completed.
In 1869 Ludwig II had the forester's house rebuilt and appointed as the 'Royal Lodge'. In 1870, under the supervision of the court building director Georg Dollmann, a wing with a single axis was added. While this extension was still being completed, the original plans for the building were substantially revised.
From spring 1871 a second wing was built to match the first extension, with a bedroom forming the connection between the two wings. A wooden staircase on the west side provided access to the u-shaped complex built around an open courtyard, and the Royal Lodge thus became superfluous; the initial retention of this building indicates the king's emotional attachment to it.
The complex thus created forms the core of the palace. Its upper floor was a wooden post and beam construction clad with boards, while the lower floor was plastered; because of the wooden structures it was known as the 'Alpine Hut Building'. Its simple exterior, however, gave no hint of the splendour inside.
An overall architectural solution was however necessary to unite the results of the piecemeal construction process. In February 1873, King Ludwig II approved a plan which established the final design of the palace. First the wooden construction was clad with solid stone and covered with a cross-shaped complex of new roofs. This section of the building formed the core of the new palace, but it still had no interior staircase.
On 20.1.1874 the king gave permission for the 'Royal Lodge' to be moved to its present location, around 200 metres away, and the new south tract was built in its place. It was only now that the exterior of the palace acquired its final form, and the vestibule and staircase were incorporated in the interior. By 1876 work on the interior of the south tract was also complete.
The transformation of the 'Alpine Hut Building' into the 'Royal Villa' had marked consequences for its surroundings. In 1874 the final plans for the park were submitted by court garden director Carl Joseph von Effner.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.