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:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.