Germany’s Luther Routes – Life and Times

Martin Luther is one of the most famous figures of the European Protestant Reformation, having been involved with the growth of Protestantism and rejection of the Catholic Church across most of western Europe and Scandinavia.

There are 8 tourist routes across Germany which tell the story of Martin Luther’s life, and help us see the theological and religious impact that he had across the country. We’ve already covered the Heartland of Luther’s Legacy Route in our last blog, so the second of these routes is the Life and Times of Luther Route.

Once again, this route begins in Berlin, the German capital, and what better place to start than the city’s cathedral?

One of Berlin’s most memorable and distinct buildings, Berlin Cathedral has survived centuries of renovation and reinvention since it first opened as a small parish church in the 1400s. To this day the building still dominates the skyline, and since 1975 has included a statue of Luther himself.

From Berlin, head to Wittenberg – also known as Lutherstadt Wittenberg – where Martin Luther supposedly nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of the local All Saints Church, sometimes known as “Castle Church”, where Luther is buried. Wittenberg is also home to the largest museum dedicated to the reformation in the world, set in Luther’s former home.  You can also visit St Mary’s Cathedral, where Luther gave Holy Communion and preached sermons.

Nearby Torgau honours Luther’s wife Katharina with an annual parade in June. Katharina fled the convent she was part of to live in Torgau, and it is here where she is buried. You can see the house where Luther was born, and the house where he died in Esleben, which also paints a picture of how people lived in the time of the reformation, as well as the Church of St Peter and St Paul, where he was baptised. At the start of June each year, the Lutherstadt Festival prompts a huge celebration, as well as Luther’s birthday in early November, which includes a medieval market.

Nearby Mansfeld includes Luther’s childhood home, and early April hosts a ceremony celebrating hi first day at school. Erfurt, with its beautiful old town, includes the monastery where Luther lived as a monk for 6 years, and the Prediger Church which is the city’s main protestant church today. Erfurt is also home to a number of abbeys, including that of the Augustinian Hermits, which was built in 1277 and is an impressive example of medieval monastic architecture. You can still see the cell where Luther stayed in the abbey to this day.

Visit Eisenach and you can see Wartburg Castle, where Luther translated the New Testament, and the house where he lived at this time, while in Frankfurt you can track his journey from Worms back to Wartburg Castle in 1521, as well as visiting the city’s many historical museums.

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