Luther is one of the most important personalities in German history. The reformer renewed old structures or created new ones, translated the Bible and wrote controversial and instructive writings. So it is no wonder that his life path has been traced and that important stations continue to have a special meaning to this day.
Luther and Eisenach
There are two of them in Eisenach: the famous Wartburg, where he hid as “Junker Jörg” and translated the New Testament within a few weeks; and the Lutherhaus, which at that time was a residential building for the Cotta family. Here he was accepted as a student and housed for around three years, from 1498 to 1501. He remembered his “dear city” with great fondness throughout his life.
The history of the Luther House
The Lutherhaus has seen many changes of ownership in the course of its history. It is one of the oldest houses in Thuringia: the previous building dates back to 1269. The former farm building has been significantly expanded and rebuilt over time, it survived many fires and the damage caused by an aerial mine during the Second World War. Fortunately, the Luther rooms, in which Martin Luther is said to have lived, were spared. The house has been used in very different ways over the centuries. Among other things, there was once a restaurant, the Lutherkeller. The Lutherhaus Eisenach Foundation is now taking care of the building. There was an extensive renovation between 2013 and 2015 in which not only extensions were made to increase the space available,
The Luther House in the modern age
Today there is a permanent exhibition on three floors in the house, which is dedicated to the great reformer, his school days in Eisenach, but also his work as a Bible translator and presents a number of historical and art-historical treasures. In addition, there are always special exhibitions that shed light on various aspects of the topic.
The Wartburg was built in the Middle Ages and is located southwest of Eisenach in the Thuringian region. The remarkable castle, which was included in the list of world cultural heritage by UNESCO in 1999, has a long and eventful history. Although the castle is still made up of considerable original structures from the 12th to 15th centuries, most of the interior only dates from the 19th century. Today the Wartburg is the most visited tourist attraction in Thuringia after the city of Weimar.
The Wartburg is a true fairytale castle and possibly the most popular among Germans. This castle is not only beautiful and really medieval, its walls are also full of German history and exciting legends. The most famous short-term resident of the Wartburg was Martin Luther, who came here in 1521 after being declared a heretic and sentenced to death by the Holy Roman Emperor. Luther grew a beard and called himself Junker Jorg, who lived under a false name under the protection of a German prince. Luther spent his time in a rustic study, battling depression and translating the Bible into German.
The Wartburg is now a popular tourist destination, after Weimar the most visited place in Thuringia. It is open to visitors and guided tours provide access to the inside of the massive buildings. Except for one day tour, all are in German, but a very detailed brochure is available in English with all the important information. There is also a museum in the castle and children can ride tame donkeys. Tourists should allow at least two hours to explore every nook and cranny. The ballroom of the palace is used regularly for the staging of the Tannhäuser Opera as well as for concerts and other events. There is also a hotel right next to the Wartburg, which was originally built during the rebuilding of the castle in the 19th century.
Historical fortress ruins in a nature worth protecting
Journeys to the Hegau in the south of Baden-Württemberg lead directly to Germany’s castle paradise. 14 million years ago volcanic activity formed conical elevations that were ideal locations for fortresses. The best known among them is the Hohentwiel, Singen’s local mountain with its castle ruins with foresight. Today it is not only one of the oldest nature reserves with a unique flora and fauna or home to one of the highest vineyards in the republic, but is also crowned by one of the largest fortress ruins in the country.
The Hohentwiel fortress was first mentioned in a document in 915. At that time, the Swabian Duke Burkhard III lived in. and his wife Hadwig the castle, which they developed into a veritable center of power. In addition, it became one of the seven state fortresses under the dukes of Württemberg in the 16th century. In the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) she defied all sieges. It was not taken by Napoleon’s troops until 1800. The fortress was left to the French without a fight, but it was blown up. Today the Hohentwiel is not only a popular excursion destination because of its fortress ruins, the breathtaking view over Lake Constance to the Alps also knows how to inspire. Another highlight is the Hohentwiel Festival, which takes place every summer and has an international cast.
Hohentwiel fortress ruins
The complex is divided into a lower and an upper fortress. The main attractions of a tour include the Augusta roundabout, the Karlsbastion, the Wilhelmswacht or, as the highest point, the church with its tower. Information boards and audio guides (D / E / F) provide information on the individual buildings and their history on the nine-hectare site. Castle tours (approx. 120 minutes) and individual tours that are especially suitable for study trips are also offered.
Free parking is available at the Hohentwiel information center, where tickets are purchased. However, it is advisable to use the free parking spaces at the Landesgartenschau or Offwiese train stations. There is also a taxi service at city bus rates from the Singen train station to the fortress, which can be booked in advance by telephone.