As if on a throne, Neuschwanstein Castle sits high above the Bavarian countryside, its dove-grey walls rising above a ruffle of forest — and its turrets and towers forming a cloudgrazing crown. At its foot, the stone tumbles away to a patchwork of meadows, while the muscular Alps loom large in the distance. It takes little imagination to see why Neuschwanstein is rumoured to have inspired the design of Disney’s Cinderella Castle, but it’s far from alone: Germany has thousands of fairytaleesque castles and fortresses, found in every corner of its cities and countryside. The likes of Heidelberg Castle (in Baden-Württemberg) and Wartburg Castle (in Eisenach) date back to the Middle
Ages, but their imposing style has inspired architects ever since – including those of Neuschwanstein, which was built in the 1800s.