About King’s House on Schachen
Often referred to as a ‘hunting lodge’ – although there’s no evidence it was ever used as such – the King’s House on Schachen in Germany was built in the Swiss chalet style between 1869 and 1872 by German architect Georg von Dollman for King Ludwig II.
King’s House on Schachen history
The king wanted to enjoy the solitude (and vistas) of the high mountains and he couldn’t have picked a better spot to do so. The Schachen alp is beneath Mount Dreitorspitze in the Wetterstein massif about 10 kilometres south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and boasted a jaw-droppingly beautiful view of the Bavarian Alps.
Given its position, the build was a struggle. The only road ended well below the intended site and all materials had to be lugged up the mountain by men and mules (including a two-ton bronze chandelier).
The five Swiss Pine wood-panelled rooms on the ground floor were surrounded by a central salon, reminiscent of the villas built by the French upper-classes from the mid-19th to the beginning of the 20th century.
The Turkish Room, sometimes known as the Moorish Room occupies the entire upper floor of the King’s House. Based on Sultan Selim III’s 18th century Palace of Eyüp in Istanbul after Ludwig saw it in a book in 1840, the chalet offers an incredible contrast to the modesty of the exterior and ground floor that visitors could be forgiven for thinking you are in two different buildings.
King’s House on Schachen today
Visitors will be greeted by extravagant and richly-decorated oriental splendour with gilded walls, elaborate woven carpets and divans, luxurious candelabras, incense burners and big glass windows, all of which follow the colonial trend of the west’s fascination with eastern Asia.
Thanks to the location and altitude of the King’s House, the adjacent botanical garden created in 1901 cultivates around 1,500 species of Alpine plants and flowers (one of only seven to have survived from around 30 built in the Alps between 1865 and 1910) is a real treat.
Getting to King’s House on Schachen
The most important thing to know about the King’s House on Schachen is not the house itself, the amazing Turkish-inspired room or the garden. It’s how you get there.
Whether you go via the Kälbersteig trail from Garmisch-Partenkirchen or you take the forest route up the Elmauer Forststraße, you’re looking at a 3-4 hour uphill hike even for seasoned climbers to the King’s House on Schachen but the exertion expended on the walk will be immediately forgotten when you see the views from the top.