Ludwig's planned forth castle was almost built. The entire castle was designed - including the wall paintings and interior decoration, a road was constructed to the building site, and water pumped to it when work ceased after his death. However, this was as far as the work got to. Due to a drastic shortage of funds, (and luckily for posterity) the original castle was left undemolished, and Ludwig's servants needed to come up with all kinds of excuses to stop him from inspecting the work he believed was being carried out on it.

It was to rise out of a mountain even more dramatic than Neuschwanstein's, not very far from the Schwangau region, near the town of Pfronten. In fact, the ruined castle that it was to replace is the highest castle in Germany. The first design dates from 1883 and shows a wonderful fantasy castle even more fairytale than Neuschwanstein. This is perhaps Christian Janks' masterpiece.

Christian Janks' first design, 1883.

Unfortunately, by 1883 it was obvious that money was vanishing very quickly, and a more toned down version was drawn up by Georg Dollman, who had been court architect since the first plans for Neuschwanstein nearly 20 years earlier. Ludwig was so outraged at his frugal design that Dollman was discharged soon after, and the Falkenstein project handed over to Max Schultze. In 1885, Ludwig's demanding nature finally got to Schultze, and he resigned, the project then being passed on to Dollman's successor, Julius Hofmann.

Starting life as Janks' High-Gothic wonder-castle, it developed into a German robber-baron's castle on the outside, and a vast Byzantine cavern inside.

The final Falkenstein that was to be built a small distance from Neuschwanstein. Oil painting, 1885.

As the project developed, the bedroom grew and grew in size until it almost filled the whole interior, becoming a bedroom inside a massive Byzantine basilica resembling St. Mark's in Venice.

The combined bedroom-throneroom-basilica that Falkenstein was to be. Design by Max Schultze, 1884.

In this design, the bed is located inside a marble baldicino, almost like a tomb, under the apse. Perched on a mountain crag in the Alps 1,268 metres above sea-level, consisting of marble floors and walls of mosaic, it would have been a very cold bedroom in winter. All work on the castle ceased after Ludwig died. In fact Hofmann was at work on more designs for the bedroom when news came to him of the King's death.