Photo: Boschfoto
"Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour."

- T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land, 1922:

King Ludwig II of Bavaria was drowned in this lake, the Starnberger See (Lake Starnberg), SW of Munich in 1886, in suspicious circumstances. Whoever assassinated him (probably by shooting him) had no sense of irony, for it was here that his idol Wagner finished pre-production for Tristan and Isolde 20 years earlier – the final climactic scenes of the opera could have taken place on the shores of the lake. At the time it was known as Lake Würm.

The photo of the lake seen above, is from 1953. Photo: Hans Jürgen Hansen

Today the circumstances of Ludwig's death are controversial. He was locked up in Schloss Berg, shown in the postcard below, around the lake to the southeast from Starnberg. The next day his body was found in the lake, together with the psychiatrist who had certified him as insane. Although it was ruled a suicide by drowning, murder seems more likely. Near where the bodies were found, there is a votive chapel and a crucifix in the water - lower photo.

Postcard from around 1906.
Photo: GFreihalter

Just across the lake, on the western side, is the only island in the lake, Roseninsel (Rose Island), where Ludwig had a villa. Nowadays it is a museum (official link here).

Also see: Neuschwanstein Castle