June 1989, Donaustauf, Germany
Overlooking the Danube 10km east of Regensburg is an impressive Doric temple built by Ludwig I, and completed in 1842. Inside are hundreds of stone busts honoring great Germans throughout history. At the front of the hall, the biggest statue is that of Ludwig I himself.
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Much of what we have to say about Germany also applies to Bavaria, which is the largest, and probably most popular German state. Bavaria has many distinct characteristics, though. Bavarian dialect is commonly spoken, and although “high-German” is always understood, some have difficulty speaking “high-German”. If you know German, Bavaria may still be a challenge, especially in some rural areas.
The Kings of Bavaria
Maximillian I (1806-1825) was given the crown after siding with the European coalition in its conflict with Napoleon.
Ludwig I (1825-1848), Maximillian’s son, was a generous patron of the arts, and courted many of Europe’s great artists and architects. He was responsible for many of the great museums of Munich, such as the Glyptothek, Alte and Neue Pinakothek, the university, and the Propylea. After a scandal involving the Spanish dancer Lola Montez, he was forced to abdicate in favor of his son, Maximillian.
Maximillian II (1848-1864) founded the Bavarian National Museum in 1855.
Ludwig II (1864-1886) was without a doubt the most famous of the Bavarian kings. He bankrupted the kingdom building some of the most well-known tourist attractions in Bavaria: Schloß Neuschwanstein, Schloß Herrenchiemsee, and Schloß Linderhof. Tragically, he was mentally unstable, and in 1886 he was confined to Schloß Berg on the shore of Lake Starnberg. Soon after, he was found drowned in the lake.
Prince Luitpold, the son of Ludwig I assumed the Regency since Ludwig II left no heirs and the next in line (Otto, king of Greece) was also deemed mentally unbalanced.
Ludwig III (1912-1918), son of Luitpold, the last King of Bavaria, abdicated after the defeat of Germany in the First World War.