Pilgrimages Ancient and Modern
In 2019 and 2020, pilgrims are heading for Germany. Religious pilgrims are retracing the roots of Protestantism in LutherCountry; cultural pilgrims are traveling to BauhausLand for this year’s centenary celebrations of the Bauhaus Movement. Next year, travelers are combining two experiences: Luther’s heritage and Oberammergau’s unique Passion Play that takes place only every 10 years.
After 2017’s commemorations marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Lutherans have been rediscovering the historic highlights of LutherCountry. In the federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, just south of Berlin, they often begin in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. This is where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in 1517. Not only did he marry Katharina von Bora in this church, he is also buried here. But this medieval and Renaissance city has more to offer. The Luther family lived in a former Augustinian monastery; now, the Luther House holds the world's largest museum on Reformation history. The main exhibition, called "Martin Luther: Life, work, and legacy," is like a time machine taking you back to the Middle Ages.
Three hours’ drive away is another must-see: Wartburg Castle, perched high on a bluff near the city of Eisenach. Here, in a tiny cell, Luther translated the New Testament into German in just 10 weeks. This meant that, for the first time, ordinary folk could read the Lord’s word for themselves. Tour guides at the castle report that they have seen visitors kneel on entering Luther's Room: “The atmosphere is so special.”
That power of faith is matched five hours to the south. In the summer of 2020, the Bavarian village of Oberammergau hosts its 42nd Passion Play. Back in 1633, as a deadly plague swept through Europe, the community vowed to God that they would perform a “passion play,” the story of Christ’s last days on earth if they survived. They did. And the villagers have staged the “Passionsspiele” every 10 years ever since! No wonder Christians across the USA are combining vacations in Oberammergau and LutherCountry for the “trip of a lifetime” next year.
But this year, 2019, also marks a major centenary: The 100th birthday of the Bauhaus. Cultural pilgrims can visit places that were important in this revolutionary design movement. Most head for BauhausLand, where the Bauhaus blossomed between 1919 and 1932 in Weimar and Dessau. In Weimar, take walking tours of today’s Bauhaus University; visit Haus am Horn, the very first Bauhaus house; from April, see treasures at the new Bauhaus Museum Weimar. When the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in 1925, Gropius designed the Bauhaus School Building that is now open to the public; stay in a student dorm; see the Masters’ Houses, where Bauhaus professors lived. And in September, the city opens its own new Bauhaus Museum Dessau.
So, for cultural and for religious pilgrims alike, LutherCountry is the place to visit in 2019 and 2020.
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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!