Reformationstag (Reformation Day)
Map of Luther's Germany
While few men or women can be described as having
changed the history of the world, Martin Luther is one of the rare exceptions. Luther Country is the region in the heart of Germany where Martin Luther spent most of his life and where his presence is still tangible today.
Augsburg - The Augsburg Imperial Diet at which Luther refused to revoke his 95 theses is one of the major turning points in western history. The event is commemorated at the fascinating Lutherstiege museum in St. Anne's Church with an exhibition of priceless early Luther manuscripts, documents and paintings. In 1530 the Augsburg Confession was declared in the Fronhof at the episcopal palace near Augsburg Cathedral. Even today it forms part of the binding confessions of Lutheran churches.
Coburg - Martin Luther hid at Coburg Fortress for six months after being outlawed by the Emperor, while his most steadfast supporter Philipp Melanchthon presented the famous Augsburg Confession (the Lutheran statement of faith) to the Imperial Diet.
Eisenach - Luther found refuge at Wartburg Castle in 1522 under the pseudonym of
Squire George and translated the New Testament into German. He knew Eisenach well, having been a Latin scholar at St. George's School from 1498 to 1501.
Eisleben - The birthplace (1483) of Martin Luther and also where he died some 60 years later. His homes are among the most important Luther memorials of all and provide exceptional insights into life in the late Middle Ages. A visit to Eisleben's churches is like taking a stroll through Luther's life: he was christened at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, he was a vicar at St. Anne's Church and he held his last sermon at St. Andrew's Church.
Erfurt - From 1505 to 1511 Luther lived at the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt, an architecturally and historically interesting 13th century building that is today an important Luther site.
Heidelburg - Here, in the rooms of the university, the great Reformer presented his beliefs to the Augustinian Order in 1518, shortly after nailing his theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg. While many of the older professors criticised Luther's ideas, the students and younger members of the university were enthralled by the fiery Luther. Many of them later became friends and supporters, who spread the Lutheran ideas, mainly in southern Germany.
Leipzig - Luther argued about his 95 theses with the Papal envoys in 1519 at Pleissenburg Castle. Luther proclaimed his new ideas at the Church of St. Thomas in 1539.
Mansfeld - The tranquil town of Mansfeld in the southern foothills of the Harz shaped Luther's childhood. Back then, Mansfeld was a centre of copper mining.
Marburg - In 1527, Philipp founded the world's first Protestant university in Marburg. Two years later, he tried to achieve a Europe-wide agreement among leading reformers by holding the Marburg Colloquy at his castle – but without success. The conference was the most important assembly of theologians in its day. Luther lived here as a young boy.
Stotternheim - Several weeks after he had begun to study law, Martin Luther travelled to his parents in Mansfeld. Legend tells that he was surprised by a heavy thunderstorm on the way back, on July 2nd, 1505, at the village of Stotternheim. Caught in an open field he sought shelter under a tree. A sudden lightning stroke caused him to throw himself down onto the earth. In mortal fear he prayed to St. Anne and vowed to become a monk. Two weeks later, on July 17th, 1505, Martin Luther entered the Augustinian monastery, the strictest religious community in Erfurt. Neither his friends nor his father were able to make him change his mind.
Torgau - In 1552, to escape the plague, Luther's widow, Katharina von Bora, fled with her children to Torgau, where she died a short time later.
Wittenberg - Lutherstadt Wittenberg, a Protestant place of pilgrimage, is regarded as the cradle of the Reformation. It was here that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church on 31 October 1517.
Worms - In 1521 Luther appeared before the Imperial Diet in Worms, where Emperor Charles V demanded that he recant his teachings. When Luther refused, Charles V issued an edict banning Luther and his teachings. In a bid to protect him, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, offered Martin Luther (disguised as 'Squire George') a place to hide at Wartburg Castle.