Supporters of Martin Luther and the Reformation
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MEET: MARTIN LUTHER'S FRIENDS AND FAMILY
When the world celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation next year, one man takes the headlines: Martin Luther. But the Great Reformer would be the first to acknowledge that he could not have changed history without the help of his devoted friends and family. In 2017, visitors to LutherCountry (the German federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia) can also learn about Katharina von Bora, Luther’s wife; painter Lucas Cranach the Elder; Philipp Melanchthon, the Reformation’s intellectual leader; Johann Sebastian Bach, whose music inspired Lutherans; George Spalatin, the "Helmsman of the Reformation", who helped Luther live incognito in Wartburg Castle.
KATHARINA VON BORA: LUTHER'S WIFE
Luther was devoted to “Dear Kate”, as he described his wife, Katharina von Bora. The former monk was 42; the former nun 26; it was an affectionate marriage, with six children. Katharina ran the household, from finances and raising livestock to brewing her own beer. In Lutherstadt Wittenberg, from June 9 – 11, 2017, their wedding re-enactment includes a bride, groom and 2,000 guests in medieval costumes. Crowds cheer the happy couple as they process past half-timbered houses in the town, where Luther triggered the Protestant Reformation in 1517 by nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church.
PHILIPP MELANCHTHON: LUTHER'S BEST FRIEND
Buried next to Luther in Lutherstadt Wittenberg is Philipp Melanchthon. He was not only Luther's best friend, he also penned the so-called Augsburg Confession. Of the 28 articles of Lutheran faith, the first 21 confirm the foundations of Lutheranism; the last seven pinpoint the differences between Lutheranism and the Roman Catholic Church. After Luther's death, Melanchthon led the German Reformation movement. The Melanchthon House in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, dating from 1536, is one of the city's architectural gems. Now a fascinating museum, it offers a rare insight into the life and works of this important humanist and reformer.
LUCAS CRANACH THE ELDER: LUTHER'S PORTRAIT PAINTER
Without the portraits of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder, we would not know what the Great Reformer looked like! Called the Reformation Painter, Cranach conveyed Lutheran ideas through his works and changed the style of religious paintings. He often depicted everyday settings, putting ordinary people close to Christ and banishing saints and noblemen to the background. Cranach lived in Lutherstadt Wittenberg at the same time as Luther. See the artist’s former studios and his Reformation Altar at St. Mary's Church. Other cities with Cranach masterpieces include Lutherstadt Eisleben, Weimar, Gotha (Friedenstein Castle), and the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach.
JOHANN S. Bach: INSPIRED BY LUTHER
Born a century after Luther, Bach was a passionate Lutheran, whose beliefs inspired his sacred choral music. Cantata No. 80, based on Luther's own words, is familiar world-wide as "A mighty fortress is our God". In Eisenach, learn more about Bach at the lively Bach House. Explore the life and work of one of mankind's greatest composers and listen to live musical performances played on historic Baroque instruments every hour, on the hour. The historic, elegant and comfortable 126-room Steigenberger Hotel Thüringer Hof makes a fine base for visitors, a mere 10-minute stroll from the world's first Bach museum.
CHRISTMAS MARKETS: WHERE LUTHER WOULD FEEL AT HOME
Martin Luther loved good food and he loved Christmas. Today’s Christmas markets in LutherCountry retain a real feel of the past. Luther’s favorite sausages were Thuringian Rostbratwurst; grilled over charcoal, they are served up on Erfurt’s vast Cathedral Square. And Baumkuchen, cooked on an open-fire, is a medieval-style cake. Even more atmospheric is the market in the courtyard of Wartburg Castle, where stallholders wear medieval dress and must-have gifts include hand-crafted Christmas tree decorations. Stay at the century-old, 37-room Romantik Hotel at the Wartburg. Only a step away from the 16th century, it has all the latest modern comforts, of course!
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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!