July 2nd: The day that Martin Luther was thunder struck
Martin Luther: A flash of inspiration?
On July 2, 1505, a thunderstorm in Germany changed the course of history. As Martin Luther was returning from his family’s home in Mansfeld, to Erfurt, where he was studying law, he was caught in a storm in the hamlet of Stotternheim. Thunder rumbled; lightning nearly struck him. Luther begged St. Anne to save his life, vowing to “become a monk” if he survived. He did. And he kept his promise by entering St. Augustine's Monastery in Erfurt. In Stotternheim, the simple, granite Luther Stone commemorates the event.
Today, the lovely city of Erfurt has many links to Luther, especially in the Augustinian Monastery. Now an ecumenical conference center, the 700-year-old building is a must-see, from its monks’ cells and library to the permanent exhibition: "Bible – Monastery – Luther". Next door, St. Augustine Church has glorious 14th-century, stained glass windows. But there is more. Stepping back into the Middle Ages is easy on a guided, night-time tour with candles glowing in the darkness. Or learn about medieval food, and then have a bite to eat in the ancient cellar. Extra special is a Luther-themed banquet, followed by a night sleeping in one of the monks’ cells, just as Luther did.
But the Great Reformer’s presence is everywhere in the heart of Erfurt. Modern day “Luthers” lead walks that take in the Collegium Maius, part of the Old University, where he studied theology and law. The Georgenburse was a 15th-century student dorm, while the 14th-century St. Mary’s Cathedral saw Luther’s ordination. Its massive Gloriosa bell rings out today, as it did back then. As for the Merchants’ Bridge, it was nearly 200 years old when Luther walked across it. Today, it is Europe's finest medieval bridge, complete with houses and one-of-a-kind shops.
Across LutherCountry, there are a dozen cities that are proud to have direct and visible connections with Luther. To emphasize their close connection with the great man, several communities have “Lutherstadt” (Luther City) in their title: Lutherstadt Eisleben, where he was born and died; Mansfeld-Lutherstadt, where he grew up; Lutherstadt Wittenberg, the "Birthplace of the Reformation," where Luther nailed up his 95 Theses. The LutherCountry website has driving routes that link many of them. Explore one; explore several; walk in Luther’s footsteps.
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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!