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:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.