LutherCountry: What would Martin Luther recognize today?
In St. Andrew's Church in Lutherstadt Eisleben, you can almost hear Martin Luther panting as he climbs up to give his last sermon. That was in 1546, but the pulpit is still used today. Few historical lives can be followed so closely as the Great Reformer’s. And, as Lutherans commemorate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s history-changing protest, it is easy to follow in his footsteps in LutherCountry, the German federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
In this charming corner of Germany, there is much that Luther would recognize, from cobbled streets and half-timbered houses to ancient churches. Start at the beginning: Lutherstadt Eisleben, which has a faithful recreation of his birthplace and also the font in the St. Peter and St. Paul Church, where he was baptized in 1483. Luther’s family moved on to nearby Mansfeld-Lutherstadt, where his parents’ home is now a fine museum. As a student, he went to Eisenach and lodged in the 14th-century Luther House, now a cultural museum.
But his home for 35 years was Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Here, he married in St. Mary's Town Church (the Reformation’s “Mother Church”) and lived in what was originally a monastery. Today, this ancient building is the Luther House, the world’s largest Reformation museum.
Most significant? That has to be Wittenberg’s Castle Church, where Luther supposedly nailed up his 95 Theses on October 31st, 1517. Bronze doors record the event that changed history. After being outlawed, Luther hid in Wartburg Castle and the cell where he lived and translated the Bible is a true place of pilgrimage. Coming full circle to Lutherstadt Eisleben, the pall that covered Luther’s coffin is in the recreation of the house in which he died.
But LutherCountry offers more than bricks and mortar. Locals still eat Thuringian Bratwurst, Luther’s favorite charcoal-grilled sausage. Dating from medieval times is Baumkuchen, a delicious buttery cake traditionally cooked over a wood fire. And just like Luther, locals enjoy local beers: “It’s better to think of church in the ale-house than to think of the ale-house in church.”
Every town has special walks that reveal Luther’s everyday life. In Eisenach, hear about his school days and his time in Wartburg Castle. In Lutherstadt Wittenberg, eavesdrop on the latest 16th-century gossip from Luther’s wife, Katharina and her friend Barbara Cranach.
Luther may have lived 500 years ago, but special Apps bring him to life. The host for Virtual Luther App is an actor, who portrays Luther and guides you to special places, while recounting stories about his life. To walk in the Great Reformer’s footsteps, get the Luther To Go App and follow the Luther Trail, the 1,000-mile route through LutherCountry. Only an hour from Berlin, LutherCountry is perfect for self-guided driving tours. Check out the free, downloadable 3, 5 and 7-day tours. And, even if you can’t travel to Germany this year; you will be able to see where Luther lived, preached and prayed in LutherCountry next year and for years to come.
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About LutherCountry: Where you can walk in Luther’s footsteps
Would you like to step inside the very room in which Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German, or admire the pulpits from which he preached and where pastors still preach today? Do you want to taste beer brewed the way Martin Luther liked it? Then come and visit LutherCountry, where you can explore Luther’s old stomping grounds and much more!
LutherCountry is situated in the heart of Germany and has so much to offer, from fascinating churches and museums for the believers and history or culture fans among you, to beautiful landscapes that could be straight out of a children’s picture book.
What do the places in LutherCountry all have in common? Centuries ago, they were the stage for Martin Luther’s tumultuous life and thus played a special role in the Reformation, which changed the way people thought about so many aspects of daily life. Martin Luther’s influence spread through Western Europe and, with European settlers, to the United States.
Although Luther lived five centuries ago, his presence is still tangible today. Grab your suitcase and come experience the unforgettable –LutherCountry is waiting to be discovered!