Germany’s Luther Routes – Luther’s Travels

October 24, 2016

Chances are if you’ve heard Martin Luther’s name mentioned, it’s been in the context of the reformation of the church in Europe. He was instrumental in the growth of Protestantism and rejection of the medieval Catholic Church across much of Europe and Scandinavia, most notably in Germany.

The impact of the reformation was absolutely huge, all across Europe, and it is still felt to this day. There are tangible, real-life examples of Luther’s influence all over Germany, including his home in Wittenberg.

These days, Germany is home to 8 tourist routes across the country, all of which include famous locations from Martin Luther’s life story, or demonstrate the theological and religious impact he had across the country. This route focuses on the areas he visited while travelling to spread the word of the Reformation and begins in Frankfurt, covering much of Germany’s south-west before finishing in Berlin.

In Frankfurt, you can discover an amazing cathedral which for centuries was the site of coronations for German emperors and is now open to the public for visitation. You’ll find few places with quite so much significant history in the whole country.

Another incredibly historical site on the trail is Worms, one of the oldest cities in Germany, where Martin Luther debated his famous 95 Theses with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in April 1521. Worms is also home to one of the largest Reformation memorials in Germany.

Nearby Speyer is Germany’s ancient Roman city, but was also the site of a reconvening of Imperial Diets between 1526 and 1529. Its famous cathedral is remarkable as it is the largest Romanesque church in the entire world too. Meanwhile, if you swing by Heidelberg, you’ll be in the city where Luther preached his first sermon following the publication of the 95 Theses.

In Bavaria lies the city of Augsburg, where Luther stayed at the Carmelite Abbey before defending his 95 Theses to the notorious Cardinal Cajetan in 1518. Nuremberg was significant in Luther’s life as it was where his excommunication from the church was reiterated in 1524, and yet the city became the first place to introduce the Reformation, seen as one of Luther’s most significant early triumphs.

Not long after this, in 1530, Luther lived for a few months in Coburg, and you can visit his living quarters to this day, as well as a few other sites in the city which are associated with him. In 1531, the Schmalkaldic League, an important ally for the Protestant Reformation, was founded in the town of Schmalkalden, which is an important event in the history of the town.

As you keep moving you’ll pass through Eisenach and Warturg Castle, both of which are famously associated with Luther, as well as Erfurt and the governmental city of Weimar, which is also famous for its role in between the First and Second World Wars. While in Weimar, visit the Franciscan abbey, Cranach altar and Weimar palace, where Cranach’s famous portrait of Luther still hangs to this day.

The market church in Halle (Saale) still has Luther’s death mask and a cast of his hands on display. After this, follow the route through Lutherstadt Wittenberg before finishing up in Berlin.

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