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Posts tagged ‘Saxony-Anhalt’

Mansfeld: Martin Luther’s childhood home

Above: View of the town from Mansfeld Castle; numbered labels are described below.

I approach the ledge, and what appears is a typical yet modest German town: red roofs, a church steeple, green pastures, and endless hills rolling to the horizon. But this is no typical town. Five centuries ago, a young lad grew up in this town and ran through these streets. Though the area was dominated by mining activity, Dad was grooming the boy to become a lawyer, but the latter would make a life-changing decision. How was the boy to know his decision and subsequent work would eventually change religion, governance, literature, and culture in Europe.

Mansfeld is a town of about 9000 people in the southwest corner of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The town is dominated by the Mansfeld Castle situated on a rock spur above town. With origins to regional nobles, first mention of the town in official documents occurred in the late-10th century, erection of the castle’s foundations began in the 11th-century, and full charter rights of a city were granted to Mansfeld in the early 15th-century.

In 1484 one year after he was born and baptized in Eisleben, Martin Luder’s parents, Hans and Margarethe (née Lindemann), moved the family to Mansfeld, 10 kilometres to the northwest of Eisleben. Hans Luder earned good wages in a region rich with mineral ore and covered with mines. Hans first worked in the quarries, and worked up to managing smelting furnaces, and eventually, to owning individual mine shafts and smelters. Martin wandered these streets until he was 13 years of age when he departed in 1497 for further education. His parents stayed in Mansfeld for the rest of their lives, whereas Martin moved to Magdeburg, Eisenach, Erfurt, and settling in Wittenberg.

The town’s highlights include:

  1. Luther (Luder)1 parents house
  2. Museum Luthers Elternhaus (Luther’s parents house museum)
  3. Tourist-Information Mansfeld
  4. Stadtkirche St. Georg (St. George Town Church)
  5. Lutherbrunnen (Luther memorial fountain)
  6. Schloss Mansfeld (Mansfeld Castle), where I made the picture above.

Although Martin Luther spent much of his working life in Wittenberg, he always had a special fondness for the town where he was raised. He once wrote of Mansfeld:

“Ich bin ein Landeskind aus der Herrschaft Mansfeld, das verpflichtet ist, sein Vaterland und seine Landesherren zu lieben.” (I am born under Mansfeld’s jurisdiction which compels me to love my homeland and their rulers.)

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Manssfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Published in the Topographia Superioris Saxoniae (1650, part of Topographia Germaniae), Wikimedia

1650 copy of copper engraving of Manßfeldt (Mansfeld), in “Topographia Superioris Saxoniae, Thüringiae, Misniae et Lusatiae”, part of “Topographia Germaniae”, by Matthäus Merian (Wikimedia). The St. George town church is seen at lower-left, but the castle dominates the scene at right.


1,2. Museum Luthers Elternhaus (Museum of Luther’s Parents House)

Martin Luther’s parents lived in a modest house and spent his childhood years walking through these streets. Across the street from his parents’ house, the town unveiled in 2014 the Museum Luthers Elternhaus, a museum dedicated to Martin’s parents, their family life, and how the people of Mansfeld lived in the late 15th- to early 16th-century. Martin’s father, Hans, worked his way up from coal miner (hewer) to becoming part owner in a number of local mining operations. He became a citizen of Mansfeld (acquiring full rights) with his name mentioned as a “town deputy” in an official document in 1491. The recent archaeological dig at the house and subsequent finds show that the Luther family had status in local society and they lived and ate reasonably well.

Luther's parents house, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Luther’s parents house

Museum Luthers Elternhaus, Luther's Parents House Museum, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Across from the house on the other side of the street is the Museum Luthers Elternhaus


3. Touristinformation (TI), Luther’s 1st School

The building here is a reconstruction and houses the town’s tourist information office. A plaque hangs over the front door:

“In diesem Haus hat Dr. Martin Luther (geboren am 10. November 1483) seinen ersten Schulunterricht erhalten. Gewidmet von Konsul Georg Kaiser Berlin. (Born 1483 November 10, Martin Luther received his first school lessons at this location.)”

Tourist Information, Luther's 1st school, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Tourist-Information Mansfeld, which was once Luther’s 1st school


4. Stadtkirche St. Georg (St. George Town Church)

Consecrated in the second-half of 1497, the town’s main church honours St. George (the dragonslayer) as the patron saint of Mansfeld. Also venerated is St. Anne, mother to Mary (Christ’s grandmum) and the patron saint of miners. The church is also tomb for the counts of Mansfeld. After his trial at the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther was declared “heretic” by the Holy Roman Empire, which in effect put a price on his head. He was willingly “kidnapped”, escaping quickly into exile at Wartburg Castle in Eisenach. In hiding, Luther adopted the name “Junker Jörg” (Squire George) in direct reference to St. George.

Stadtkirche St. Georg, St. George Church, Luther sculpture, Marc Fromm, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Stadtkirche St. Georg

Stadtkirche St. Georg, St. George Church, Luther sculpture, Marc Fromm, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Stadtkirche St. Georg

St. George Church, Luther sculpture, Marc Fromm, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Sculpture over church’s north portal: “Martin Luther als Treckejunge” (Martin Luther as young trekker)

From about 1520, a large limewood sculpture of St. George slaying a dragon hung over the church’s north portal. The sculpture suffered years of weathering, forcing a move inside the church for protection. To replace the St. George relief, church authorities commissioned new work by way of a sculpture created by artist Marc Fromm. Unveiled in 2016, the sculpture “Martin Luther als Treckejunge” (“Martin Luther as young trekker”) symbolizes Luther’s life and work as a long journey. While symbolic, it’s worth pointing out Martin never worked in the local mines, although boys and young men often worked demanding manual labour to drag rock and other materials out of mines. The 1.2-metre (4-foot) high sculpture includes a young Martin holding a small crucifix, accompanied by a mining cart with a dragon tail to represent the “good hunt to slay evil” and an apple tree to represent “tree of life.” The letters “VDMA” is a Latin acronym, “Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum” (“God’s word is eternal”), used as greeting by members of the Protestant Schmalkaldic League in the middle of the 16th-century. Additional description (in German) of the sculpture is located here.

Due to ongoing interior renovations and reconstruction, the church interior was closed at the time of my visit in late-2016.


5. Lutherbrunnen (Luther Memorial Fountain)

The sculptor Paul Juckoff began construction of a fountain and memorial dedicated to Martin Luther. The limestone structure consisted of three bronze reliefs to represent the three stages of Luther’s life: (1) “out into the world”, when Luther left Mansfeld at the age of 13 for Magdeburg; (2) “into the struggle”, when Luther posted his 95 Theses, changing religion and Europe; (3) “through to victory”, as Luther became the great Reformer, avoided the death sentence as “heretic”, and helped translate the Bible fully into the German language. The Luther fountain in Mansfeld was inaugurated in November 1913.

Lutherbrunnen, Luther fountain, Lutherplatz, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

At 13, Martin goes out into the world (“hinaus in die Welt”).

Lutherbrunnen, Luther fountain, Lutherplatz, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Hinaus in die Welt (out into the world): “protecting” young Martin are portraits of his parents and a sculpture of St. George on his horse.


6. Schloss Mansfeld (Mansfeld Castle)

Mansfeld Castle is on a rock spur some 40 to 50 metres above the town. The castle grounds contains ruins of a fortress, ruins of three castles from the Mansfeld noble family (who governed the region until the 18th-century), and the preserved castle church.

In the 16th-century, the counts of Mansfeld were among the most influential nobles in the German Holy Roman Empire, but the year 1501 saw a division into three new family lines: Vorderort, Mittelort, Hinterort. Construction of three separate castles began in 1518 and completed in 1532. With the rise of the Reformation, the counts of Mansfeld-Mittelort and -Hinterort followed suit, but the count of Mansfeld-Vorderort stuck with Catholicism. Martin Luther likely visited the Castle with his family when he was a boy, but he was a frequent guest as an adult (as “The Reformer”). In his final visit in December 1545, he mediated a dispute among the Mansfeld counts. Already in bad health, he subsequently made his way to Eisleben, and died weeks later in February 1546.

The castle site is now owned and run by the evangelical organization CVJM Sachsen-Anhalt, and in 1997, the Förderverein Schloss Mansfeld association was established.

Schloss Mansfeld, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Schloss Mansfeld, from Lutherplatz

Schloss Mansfeld, Mansfelder Land, Luther Country, Mansfeld Südharz, Mansfeld Lutherstadt, Mansfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

West-northwest view from the castle

The spacious site is perfect for weddings and events. Unfortunately, the operating organization recently refused to allow gay and lesbian couples to have weddings on site, despite objections by town officials and Saxony-Anhalt’s Minister of Justice and Equality (Mitteldeutschland Zeitung, 7 April 2017).


How to reach Mansfeld

From Eisleben, driving to Mansfeld takes 20 to 25 minutes. With VGS Südharzlinie public transport, it’s about 50 minutes with Bus 420 (Eisleben-Mansfeld-Hettstedt); look for scheduled times between stops “Eisleben Bahnhof” and “Mansfeld, Oberstadt”. Click on the arrow-window icon at the upper-left corner of the map below for the legend.

1 In his thirties, Martin changed his surname from “Luder” to “Luther”, because the noun “Luder” had unsavory meanings and “Luther” was similar to the Greek word “Eleutherius“; see also Deutschlandfunk interview with Dr. Jürgen Udolph in German on 9 May 2016.

More on Mansfeld

•   Luther 2017 (English)
•   Luther Country (English)
•   Mansfeld-Südharz regional tourism (German)
•   Germany Tourism (English)

Museum Luthers Elternhaus (Luther’s Parents’ House)

•   Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten (English)
•   Lutherstädte Eisleben Mansfeld (German)

Thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus, the town of Mansfeld for access to both museum and castle, and Anja Ulrich (Tourist-Information Lutherstadt Eisleben und Stadt Mansfeld e.V.) for guiding both Eisleben and Mansfeld. I made the photos above on 27 October 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9H2. IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive. I also received assistance from the cities of Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dessau, Wittenberg, and Halle (Saale).

Coat of arms, Landkreis Mansfeld-Suedharz, Mansfeld-Suedharz, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. Drawn by T. Rystau (Wikimedia)

Halle an der Saale, Halle, Saale river, Saale, Sachsen-Anhalt, Saxony-Anhalt, Cultural Heart of Germany, Germany, fotoeins.com

11 in Halle: a visual handle of the Händelstadt

Featured: This view includes the “five towers” with four spires from St. Mary’s Church at left-centre and the Red Tower at right-centre.

You’re visiting Halle, because (I said so and) you’ll learn and discover

  • why salt also known as “white gold” was critical to the city’s development;
  • how Martin Luther and the Reformation left their mark in the city;
  • composer Händel’s birth house, his upbringing, and how he learned the organ;
  • the oldest German chocolate factory continues producing “Halloren Kugeln”; and
  • how the Museum of Prehistory houses the world’s oldest depiction of the night sky.

( Click here for more )

Eisleben UNESCO WHS: Luther’s birth and death sites

Above (HL): Luther monument by Rudolf Simmering at Eisleben’s market square. The monument was inaugurated in 1883 to mark the quatercentenary of Luther’s birth year (1483). At left and upper-right are the Hotel Graf von Mansfeld and St. Andrew’s Church, respectively.

With a population over 25-thousand people, Eisleben is a quiet town in central Germany in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. But the South Harz region holds a special place in German and European history: Martin Luther came into the world in Eisleben in 1483, spent his childhood years in Mansfeld, and, on a trip home from Wittenberg to negotiate a local dispute in Mansfield, died in Eisleben in 1546. As shown in the map below, a number of important locations in Eisleben are associated with Luther and the Reformation, including the Luther monument in the town’s market square, St. Peter’s Church, St. Andrew’s Church, and St. Anne’s Church. Specifically, two sites in town constitute a part of the inscription for UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996: (1) the house where Luther was born, and (2) the museum on Luther’s death.


The house where Luther was born

Across the street from the city’s Tourist Information office is the museum about Martin Luther’s birth. Born in a 15th-century house at this location, his parents brought him down the street to St. Peter’s Church to have him baptized. One year later in 1484, the family moved to Mansfeld. The house where Luther was born was almost destroyed in the fire of 1689. The town subsequently took over the property and rebuilt the house in the original half-timbered style. By 1693 a public museum for pilgrims was inaugurated within the building. The Museum Luther’s Birth House is one of the oldest museums in a German-speaking country. The house had housed a school for needy children since 1693. Commissioned by Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III in 1817, a new Luther school for the poor was built in the house’s courtyard, opening in 1819 to welcome over 100 children. The museum today includes exhibits about the Luther family, the medieval mining economy, Martin’s baptism, and the state of medieval Catholicism.

Luther’s Birth House
Address: Lutherstrasse 15.
Summer hours (1 April to 31 October): Daily, 1000h to 1800h.
Winter hours (1 November to 31 March): Tuesday to Sunday, 1000h to 1700h.
Admission fee: check here for single admission or combination admission.

Luthers Geburtshaus, Luther Birth House, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Around Luther’s Birth House, 2016: Luthers Geburtshaus (Luther’s birth house), Lutherarmenschule (Luther school for the poor, 1817); Lutherarchiv (Luther Archive, 2016); Petrikirche Zentrum Taufe (St. Peter Church where Luther was baptized in 1483), now Baptism Centre. (HL)

Luthers Geburtshaus, Luther Birth House, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Around Luther’s Birth House, c. 1830. Oil on canvas, by Carl Salomon Warmholz. I’ve added labels to compare this scene with the photo above. (Source)

Luthers Geburtshaus, Luther Birth House, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

The Luder family. HL: Hans Luder (father), MLi: Margarete Lindemann (mother), ML: Martin Luther, KB: Katharina von Bora (wife). One year after Martin’s birth in Eisleben (EIL), the family moved to Mansfeld (MSH) in 1484. “The Luders are related by marriage to the Mansfeld county’s leading families, belonging to the class of wealthy master-smelters. Their sons can reach high positions in administration, university, and clergy due to their academic education and social class.” (HL)

Luthers Geburtshaus, Luther Birth House, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

From Luder to Eleutherios and Luther: “In his early thirties, Martin changes his surname ‘Luder’ (also Lüder, derived from Lothar) into ‘Luther’ and begins signing his letters with ‘Eleutherios’. The Humanists’ custom at the time was a Latinization of names and Martin finds that his family name is related to the Greek word ‘eleutherios’ meaning ‘free’, which seems appropriate especially after publishing/announcing his 95 Theses in 1517.” At right is a copy of a 1579 copperplate engraving of Martin Luther with his doctor’s hat, by Johann Sadeler and Caspar Ruts after Lucas Cranach the Elder 1521. (HL)

Luthers Geburtshaus, Luther Birth House, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Luther with swan, 18th-century copperplate engraving. (Source)

Luthers Geburtshaus, Luther Birth House, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Transcription of letters by Luther and Phillip Melanchthon, 1544: “Luther loses two daughters who die young; he is especially distraught at losing 13-year old Magdalena who dies in his arms in 1542. Luther drafts the inscription on his daughter’s gravestone of which various versions have been handed down.” Sources: (1), pp.3373-3374; (2) pp.413; (3)

Luthers Geburtshaus, Luther Birth House, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Museum Luthers Geburtshaus: entrance, with passage from Danish author Hans Christian Andersen who visited Eisleben in 1831. (HL)

Luthers Geburtshaus, Luther Birthhouse, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Old front entrance on Lutherstrasse: “In diesem Haus wurde geboren Dr. M. Luther den 10 November 1483. Gottes Wort ist Luthers Lehr, darum vergeht sie nimmer mehr. / Dr. Martin Luther was born in this house on 10 November 1483. Luther’s teachings is God’s Word which will never pass away.” (HL)


The museum about Luther’s death

With a short walk across town, you arrive at the museum about the house where Luther died (Museum Luthers Sterbehaus). Martin Luther arrived from Wittenberg in late-January 1546 to mediate a dispute among Mansfeld’s counts. Already in poor health, his condition deteriorated, but he successfully negotiated a resolution. At age 62, he died soon after on the evening of 17-18 February. By the 18th-century, people had begun associating the house near St. Andrew’s Church with the place where he died. The Prussian government purchased the house in 1862-1863, restored the building in late-Gothic style, and authorized recreations of the rooms and furnishings at the time of Luther’s death. Key items now on exhibit include a 1541 Bible with handwritten notes by Luther and other Reformers, and the cloth covering Luther’s coffin in 1546 on the procession from Eisleben to Wittenberg. Other displays include his final weeks and days leading up to his death, and his thoughts on mortality and life after death. A look at the modern extension to the museum can be found here.

Museum Luther’s Death House
Address: Andreaskirchplatz 7.
Summer hours (1 April to 31 October): Daily, 1000h to 1800h.
Winter hours (1 November to 31 March): Tuesday to Sunday, 1000h to 1700h.
Admission fee: check here for single admission or combination admission.

Museum Luther Death House, Museum Luthers Sterbehaus, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

The plaque above the front portal reads: “In diesem Hause starb Dr. M. Luther den 12. Februar 1246.” (Dr. Martin Luther died in this house on 12 February 1246.) We now know he died in another location down the street at Markt 56. (HL)

Museum Luther Death House, Museum Luthers Sterbehaus, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Luther’s final journey in 1546 to Eisleben to mediate a dispute among Mansfeld noblemen. (HL)

Museum Luther Death House, Museum Luthers Sterbehaus, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Lucas Furtenagel was on hand to draw Luther’s portrait in death. This Bible was owned by Furtenagel and what makes the book unique are the handwritten notes from Luther, his reformer colleagues, his son, and his two grandchildren. “Rudolstädter Medianbibel”, Vol. 2. Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1541. (HL)

Cloth used to cover Luther coffin, Museum Luther Death House, Museum Luthers Sterbehaus, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Under clear housing in a wood case is the cloth (pall) used in 1546 to cover Luther’s coffin from Eisleben to Wittenberg. (HL)

Museum Luther Death House, Museum Luthers Sterbehaus, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Casts of Luther’s death mask and hands, 1926 plaster reconstruction by Prof. Hans Hahne. Original casts made immediately after Luther’s death are now housed in Halle’s market church “Unser Lieben Frauen”. (HL)

Museum Luther Death House, Museum Luthers Sterbehaus, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

A mighty tree in the courtyard in the modern expansion of the museum (HL)

Museum Luther Death House, Museum Luthers Sterbehaus, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

The actual location where Luther died

The much publicized location of Luther’s death house is not the actual site of his death. Due to miscommunication and confusion, Luther died at the location now occupied by the Hotel Graf Von Mansfeld across the town hall and town square. At what is now Markt 56, the original building where Luther died was demolished in 1570, and another building took its place. The Prussian State had erroneously purchased the building up the street near St. Andrew’s Church, because an historian at the time mistook the residence of the Drachstedt family (who were family friends of the Luthers) for the site of Martin Luther’s death. The error wasn’t discovered until recently, and it was too costly to make wholesale changes to the museum (let alone move, even if it was possible). Also, with the current location occupied by the hotel and the hotel’s owners uninterested in turning the venue into a pilgrims’ site, the museum about Luther’s death serves its purpose to educate, and visitors should simply keep in mind the distinction between locations.

Hotel Graf von Mansfeld, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Hotel Graf von Mansfeld

Hotel Graf von Mansfeld, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

The hotel menu is front and centre on display, but at upper right is the sign “Luther war hier” (Luther was here)

Hotel Graf von Mansfeld, Eisleben, Lutherstadt Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

“Luther rose” in cobblestone pavement in front of the hotel


With the train, Eisleben is about 80 minutes from Erfurt, 80 minutes from Leipzig (with 1 change of train in Halle or Bitterfeld), and 2 hours from Berlin (with 1 change of train in Halle or Bitterfeld).

Click on the arrow-window icon at the upper-left corner of the map below for the legend.

My thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus, the city of Eisleben, and Anja Ulrich for her time as guide in Eisleben and Mansfeld. I made the photos above on 26 and 27 October 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9gq. IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive. I also received assistance from the cities of Mansfeld, Dessau, Halle (Saale), and Wittenberg.

Lutherstadt Wittenberg: town’s 13 historical highlights

Above: Facing west from Kirchplatz, the Stadtkirche (City Church) and Schlosskirche (Castle Church) at upper-left and lower-right, respectively, are Wittenberg’s major landmarks.

If you’re thinking about or you’re already present in Wittenberg, two words have already provided the marquee reasons why you’re here at this blogsite and there in the town: Martin Luther.

The biggest reason why people will step foot in Wittenberg is to see and learn about how the Protestant and Reformation movement began and took hold, who the major players were, and what their roles were in the movement. For most, they’ll want to visit the four sites which form the basis for the town’s status as UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS; see below). In addition to these four, there are other highlights for the curious and interested visitor, and all of them are easy to reach in the compact Old Town.

  1. Bugenhagenhaus (Bugenhagen House)
  2. Cranach-Haus, Cranach-Hof (Cranach House and Court)
  3. I.G. Schneider Modehaus
  4. Leucorea
  5. Luther-Eiche (Luther Oak)
  6. Lutherdenkmal (Luther Monument)
  7. Lutherhaus (Luther House) – UNESCO WHS
  8. Melanchthondenkmal (Melanchthon Monument)
  9. Melanchthonhaus (Melanchthon House) – UNESCO WHS
  10. Markt, Rathaus (Market Square, Town Hall)
  11. Schlosskirche (Castle Church) – UNESCO WHS
  12. Stadtbäche (town streams)
  13. Stadtkirche St. Marien (St. Mary’s Town Church) – UNESCO WHS


1.   Bugenhagenhaus (Bugenhagen House)

Considered the “Third Reformer” after Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, John Bugenhagen was from 1523 the priest at Wittenberg’s Town Church (where he is buried), lecturer of theology at Wittenberg University, and Martin Luther’s personal adviser. He also became responsible for supporting the Reformation in northern Germany and Scandinavia. He was also known as Doctor Pomeranus for his roots in Pomerania (present-day northern Germany). Bugenhagen led the wedding service for Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora on 13 June 1525. At the northeast corner of the town’s Kirchplatz (Church Square) stands the Bugenhagen House with a sculpture of Bugenhagen nearby. Above the main door of the house a sign reads:

Hier wohnte, wirkte, und starb Dr. Johannes Bugenhagen, Gen. Sup. des Kurkreises, geb. zu Wollin in Pommern, D. 24. Juny 1485, gest. in Wittenberg D. 20 April 1558. Hebr. 13, 7.” (Dr. John Bugenhagen lived, worked, and died in this house. He was born in Wollin in Pomerania on 1485 June 24, appointed and served as the superintendent general of the Electorate of Saxony, and he died on 1558 April 20.)

Johannes Bugenhagen, Doktor Pomeranus, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Bugenhagenhaus (Bugenhagen House)

Johannes Bugenhagen, Doktor Pomeranus, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Johannes Bugenhagen statue between Bugenhagenhaus and Stadtkirche


2.   Cranach-Haus, Cranach-Hof (Cranach House and Court)

Lucas Cranach the Elder and Lucas Cranach the Younger were both renowned painters in medieval Germany. The Cranach family housed Katharina von Bora after she left the nunnery; the Cranachs became close friends to the Luther family. The Cranachs would also become painters and artists for the Reformation. Cranach Senior was also an astute businessman as he purchased a variety of properties in town. Of his many holdings, two are now owned by the town: Cranach the Elder’s first property at Markt 4 (Cranach House) which he purchased in 1512, and the town’s prominent property at Schlossstrasse 1 which would be his home, painting studio, printing workshop, and pharmacy.

In the courtyard at Schlossstrasse 1, two plaques read:

Lucas Cranach d. Ältere (1472-1553), Maler und Unternehmer; 1537-1544 Bürgermeister. (Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1472-1553: artist and businessman; town mayor 1537-1544.)

Lucas Cranach d. Jüngere (1515-1586), Maler und Porträtist, 1565 Bürgermeister. (Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1515-1586: artist and portraitist;
town mayor 1565.)

The sign over the door to the pharmacy reads:

Lucas Cranach, Maler zu Wittenberg, wie er sich selbst stets geschrieben, wurde 1472 zu Kronach in Franken geboren, kam 1504 nach Wittenberg, kaufte 1520 diese Apotheke, war von 1537 bis 1544 Bürgermeister und starb am 16. October 1553 in Weimar. Die Stadt Wittenberg im Jahre 1872. (Painter in Wittenberg, Lucas Cranach the Elder was born in 1472 in Kronach, Franconia, arrived in Wittenberg in 1504, purchased this pharmacy building in 1520, served as town mayor between 1537 and 1544, and died 1553 October 16 in Weimar. Inscription by the town of Wittenberg in 1872.)

Cranach-Hof, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Cranach courtyard at Schlossstrasse 1, with statue of Lucas Cranach the Elder, by Frijo Müller-Belecke

Cranach-Apotheke, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Cranach-Apotheke (Cranach Pharmacy) at Schlossstrasse 1


3.   I.G. Schneider Modehaus (Clothing Store)

At the present location of the I.G. Schneider clothing store was a former hotel where luminaries such as Grand-Duke Karl August of Saxony-Weimar, French emperor Napoleon I, Russian writer Maxim Gorki, and German writer Friedrich Schiller once stayed.

Modehaus, I.G. Schneider, historical building, Wittenberg, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Four plaques on south-facing wall: Grand-Duke Karl August, Napoleon I, Maxim Gorki, and Friedrich Schiller.


4.   Leucorea (Fridericianum)

Frederick III (Elector of Saxony, also known as “Frederick the Wise”) founded in 1502 the “Alma Mater Leucorea“, known as Wittenberg University. The word “Leucorea” comes from the Greek “leukos oros” or “white mountain” in reference to the town’s name Wittenberg. The university would become a centre for arts, sciences, humanities, and theology, greatly helped by the arrival and presence of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. These two would help define the spiritual life of the university and town, and the university would become a vital centre for discussion and dissemination for ideas and spirit for the Reformation. The former “Fridericianum” university buildings would be converted to military barracks and residences. The site is now home to the Foundation for Public Law at the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Stiftung des öffentlichen Rechts an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle–Wittenberg).

Leucorea, Fridericianum, Stiftung des öffentlichen Rechts an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle–Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Leucorea (Fridericianum). A closer look at the top of the arch in the image below …

Leucorea, Fridericianum, Stiftung des öffentlichen Rechts an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle–Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

“Hodie michi, cras tibi” is about the short temporal nature of human existence: “here today, gone tomorrow” or “today, it’s me; tomorrow, it’s you.”


5.   Luther-Eiche (Luther Oak)

This location was one of the town’s former city gates, the Elster Gate, where it was common practice in Luther’s time (15th- to 16th-century) to burn the clothes of people who died from disease. In 1520 three years after his (apparent) posting of the 95 Theses at the city’s Castle Church, Martin Luther received a ‘papal bull’ warning him of excommunication from the Catholic Church if he continued his “heretical teachings.” Luther promptly burned the papal bull here in front of Elster Gate on 10 December 1520. Stories state that an oak tree was planted at the spot the following day. The tall thick oak tree in the picture below was planted in 1830 on the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (see Melanchthon).

Luther-Eiche, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Luther Oak (left-centre)


6.   Lutherdenkmal (Luther Monument)

The town’s market square is the location for the Luther Monument (1821) which is thought to be the oldest Luther memorial in Germany.

Lutherdenkmal, Luther Memorial, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Martin Luther


7.   Lutherhaus (Luther House) – UNESCO WHS

This house is where Martin Luther and his family lived, from his arrival in 1508 until his death in 1546. The building is now museum and testament to his family and to his work. Examples of his home- and work-life merge in and out of the various rooms within the house. Former nun Katharina von Bora married Luther and she eventually took charge of the household and its finances. Her support at home played a critical role in Martin’s life for which he was clearly most grateful; he referred to her as “meine herzliebe Käthe” or “my dearest Kate.”

Lutherhaus, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Luther Haus, from Collegienstrasse


8.   Melanchthondenkmal (Melanchthon Monument)

Considered the “Second Reformer” after Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon studied Greek and Hebrew, and became professor in Greek in 1518 at Wittenberg University. He turned his interests to theology and began lecturing on the subject after securing a degree in theology from the university in 1519. A major figure in helping Luther to translate the Old Testament into German, Melanchthon was also an important player in drafting the Augsburg Confessions in 1530. He would be known as “Praeceptor Germaniae” or “Germany’s teacher” for his lifelong dedication to reorganize the education system. Wittenberg’s market square is also the location for the Melanchthon Monument (1865).

Melanchthondenkmal,  Melanchthon Memorial, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Melanchthon monument, at Markt


9.   Melanchthonhaus (Melanchthon House) – UNESCO WHS

This house was built between 1536 and 1539 for Philipp Melanchthon and his family. The building now houses a museum dedicated to Melanchthon with exhibitions about his work and family life.

Melanchthonhaus, Melanchthon House, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Back courtyard, Melanchthon House


10.   Markt, Rathaus (Market Square, Town Hall)

Like most towns, Market Square is the past and present focal point of the town’s activities for commerce, politics, and justice. The Renaissance-style Town Hall was built between 1523 and 1535, and the portico (“raised porch”) in 1573 comes complete with the sculpture of Justicia, the (Roman) goddess of justice, accompanied by six figures representing bravery, faith, hope, love, patience, and wisdom. The square is also home to the Luther monument (1821) and the Melanchthon monument (1865).

Wittenberger Rathaus, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Rathaus


11.   Schlosskirche (Castle Church) – UNESCO WHS

The Castle Church is best known as the location where Martin Luther apparently posted his 95 Theses. Constructed between 1489 and 1525 by Frederick III, the church was part of the original castle compound for the electors of Saxony. The church became the university’s church in 1503 with Protestant services beginning in 1524. The church is home to the graves for Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, and Frederick III. I featured this city landmark in a separate post here.

Schlosskirche, Luthergarten, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Castle Church, from the Luther Garden


12.   Stadtbäche (town streams)

In the Middle Ages (c. 14th-15th centuries AD/CE), the Rischebach and Trajuhnscherbach streams were diverted into the city for water-powered milling. Around the diverted streams were breweries, tanners, and dyers, as well as fishmongers who could keep fresh fish caught from the Elbe river. The city streams were closed in the late 19th-century for reasons of hygiene, but by the 1990s, plans to reopen the streams as free-flowing water through the city came to light, and by 2006, water flowed through the Altstadt along Coswiger Strasse and Collegienstrasse/Schlossstrasse.

Rischebach, Coswiger Strasse, Schlosskirche, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO World Heritage Site, fotoeins.com

Rischebach stream at lower-centre: Coswiger Strasse, west to Schlosskirche


13.   Stadtkirche St. Marien (St. Mary’s Town Church) – UNESCO WHS

With the original St. Mary’s chapel built around 1280 AD/CE, the church is the town’s oldest building which houses the altar designed and built by both Cranach the Elder and Cranach the Younger. At a time when church services were conveyed only in Latin, the first mass delivered entirely in German is thought to have taken place in this church. I will feature this landmark in a separate post.

Stadtkirche, Luthergarten, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

City Church, from the Luther Garden


Other highlights include:

•   “Luther 1517” 360-degree panorama (by Yadegar Asisi)
•   Luthergarten (Luther garden)
•   Haus der Geschichte (House of History)
•   Museum für Stadtgeschichte (Museum of the town’s history)
•   Hundertwasserschule (Hundertwasser School)

Deutsche Bahn service to Wittenberg:

•   hourly train service from Berlin with InterCity Express trains (40 minutes) or Regional Express trains (80 minutes).
•   hourly train service from Leipzig with InterCity or InterCity Express trains (30-35 minutes).


Click the arrow-window icon in the upper-left corner of the map below to toggle for the legend. Note the two train stations near Wittenberg’s Old Town. “Lutherstadt Wittenberg (Bahnhof)” is the town’s main station served by InterCity Express (ICE) trains and regional trains. Located adjacent to the Luther Garden in the southern part of the Old Town, “Lutherstadt Wittenberg Altstadt” station is served only by regional trains.

My thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus, the city of Wittenberg, and the Luther Hotel for their patronage and access to facilities. I made the photos from 29 to 31 October 2016 inclusive. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-9ew. IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive. I also received assistance from the cities of Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dessau, and Halle (Saale).

Dessau UNESCO WHS: The Bauhaus Building

21st-century Modernity, from 1919 on

The chair or couch on which you sit.
The table on which you’re resting your mobile or pad.
The desk on which your laptop or desktop resides.
The light fixture on your desk or above your head.
The windows in your room, your house, or in the café where you’re reading this.

The “universal” idea of living in a house or apartment with the furnishings we all take for granted from bathroom to bedroom and kitchen to living room is a relatively young idea by historical standards. It’s easy to imagine a time where only the rich upper-class could afford and were allowed to have and live in heated furnished residences, and the poor lower-class lived in unheated homes under damp dirty squalid conditions. Past designs with its heavy stone, porcelain, and ornate decorative components gave way to steel, glass, lightness of space, to favouring function over form. Simpler designs were meant to provide universal access: to the home, and to the essentials which furnished the home.

Bauhaus Dessau

Architect Walter Gropius founded Bauhaus in Weimar in 1919 and became the first Bauhaus director. In 1925, political reasons and oppression forced Bauhaus to move from Weimar to Dessau. Gropius designed the building which when completed in 1926 became the Bauhaus headquarters in Dessau. The building is known as an original work of modernist industrial architecture and an example from the “New Objectivity” (“Neue Sächlichkeit”) movement from the 1920s in Germany. The glass and steel multi-storeyed framework and facade, unsupported fully-windowed corners, and abundant ambient light and open spaces gave the building a distinction as a new kind of architecture, described also as “a new kind of weightless elegance. The building itself was used to illuminate Bauhaus’ key principles including architecture as the product of collaboration between art and technology (following examples provided by industry at the time), active collaboration among all teachers and students, blurring hierarchical lines of “teacher” and “student”, and a seamless merging of work-time inside the studio and personal-time outside.

In 1932, Bauhaus was forced to move again, establishing themselves in Berlin for one year before they were forced to close for good in 1933. The movement didn’t end there, as its practitioners departed for other countries, especially the United States.

Bauhaus served as the “Hochschule für Gestaltung” (School for Design), opening its doors to architects, builders, dancers, designers, painters, photographers, and sculptors. In their unique way, they sought to break staid modes of thinking and from the realms of arts and sciences found new ideas and methods regarding static- and dynamic-forms to living. The new “modernity” established in the early 20th-century persists to this very day.

The Bauhaus Dessau was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.


“Man muss um den Bau herum gehen, um seine Körperlichkeit und die Funktion seiner Glieder zu erfassen.”
(“You have to walk around the entire building to appreciate its physicality and functional elements.”)

-Walter Gropius.

“… als eine ‘hohe Schule der Gestaltung’ ist das Bauhaus Dessau kein künstlerisches wohl aber ein soziales Phänomen.”
(“… as a university of design, the Dessau Bauhaus is not an artistic but a social phenomenon.”)

-Hannes Meyer, from “Bauhaus und Gesellschaft”, 1929.


Bauhausgebäude, Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, SachsenAnhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

Revolution in design: student apartment with running water and portable lighting.

Bauhausgebäude, Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, SachsenAnhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

Walter Gropius’ office (Bauhaus directorate), 1926. Access with guided tour (in German only).

Bauhausgebäude, Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

Stairwell with two chairs.

Bauhausgebäude, Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, SachsenAnhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

Of glass and steel.

Bauhausgebäude, Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, SachsenAnhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

A wall of glass, which at the time was a bold concept in architectural design.

Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

Facing northwest from the grounds, to the workshop wing (left to centre) and studio building (right).

Bauhausgebäude, Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, SachsenAnhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

“Square” (studio building).

Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

“Balconies” (studio building).

Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

2019 marks the 100th anniversary year of Bauhaus. “Die Welt sieht Bauhaus”: the world sees Bauhaus, or does Bauhaus see the world?

Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

“Wohin schauen, ruhig sehen.”

Bauhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, UNESCO, World Heritage, fotoeins.com

Facing northeast to the Bauhaus building: north wing (left background), workshop wing (centre), studio building (right).


More Bauhaus

Locations: Weimar 1919-1925, Dessau 1925-1932, Berlin 1932-1933.
Directors: Walter Gropius 1919-1928, Hannes Meyer 1928-1932, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1932-1933.

•   Weimar UNESCO WHS: Bauhaus Old and New
•   Weimar, Bauhaus, and UNESCO (Fotoeins Friday)

Thanks to IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus and the city of Dessau-Rosslau for their patronage and access to facilities, and the City-Pension Dessau-Rosslau for their hospitality. IMG- and Sachsen-Anhalt-Tourismus supported my visit to the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt from 25 October to 3 November 2016 inclusive. I also received assistance from the cities of Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dessau, Wittenberg, and Halle (Saale). I made the photos above on 28 October 2016. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-95X.

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