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Posts tagged ‘Thuringia’

Erfurt: Martin Luther’s start at the Augustine Monastery

You can almost imagine a 16th-century monk walking these halls, contemplating various aspects of spirituality, and reconciling them with the hardships of everyday living.

In the federal state of Thuringia in central Germany, the Augustinerkloster (Augustine monastery) in Erfurt is a notable place for the history of Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Martin Luther arrived in 1501 and began studies in liberal arts, law, and theology at Erfurt University. In 1505, Luther experienced a big personal event (the scare of his life, as legend goes), and decided to leave his studies by entering the Augustine Monastery to become a monk, much to his father’s displeasure and objections. Built originally around 1300, the Augustine Monastery was home for Martin Luther until 1511, and it’s here where he was ordained as a priest. The site underwent extensive post-war reconstruction after suffering heavy bombing damage in the Second World War. The monastery is now a seminary and a modest hotel: guided tours of the monastery provide a glimpse to Luther’s early years as a monk, and visitors can now reserve rooms for overnight stays in a no-frills technology-free setting and a peaceful comfortable environment.

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in Germany.

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Inside the Lutherpforte gate: east to the Gästhaus (guest house)

Erfurt Augustinerkloster, Toma Babovic, Thüringer Tourismus GmbH

Cloister (TB/TTG)

Erfurt Augustinerkloster, Toma Babovic, Thüringer Tourismus GmbH

Reconstructed library (TB/TTG)

Erfurt Augustinerkloster, Toma Babovic, Thüringer Tourismus GmbH

Recreation of Luther’s spartan room, a monk’s cell (TB/TTG)

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Vulgate Bible, printed in 1491 by Johann Amerbach in Basel and subsequently bound in Erfurt. Shown are the gospels of Mark and Luke in the New Testament. The “Q” at the upper-right is the first verse of the first chapter in the gospel of Luke: “quoniam quidem multi conati sunt ordinare narrationem quae in nobis conpletae sunt rerum …” The NIV translation goes as: “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us …” Photo by HL

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Copies of Martin Luther documents. Top: “Ein schon sermon tzu Erffurdt …”, printed 1522 in Erfurt by Michael Buchführer. Bottom: “Allen frommen Christen zu Erfurt. Vorrede zu Justus Menius: Wider den hochberühmten Barfüsser zu Erfurt …”, printed 1527 in Wittenberg by Hans Lufft. Photo by HL

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Luther-Festsaal, Renaissancehof (HL)

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

From the reception area towards the newer “Haus der Versöhnung” (HL)

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Klostergarten (HL)

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Kreuzhof (HL)

Thanks to Germany Tourism, Erfurt Tourismus, and Visit Thuringia for their support during GTM15 and for access to various venues throughout the city and region, and to Mercure Hotel Erfurt Altstadt for their generous hospitality. Three photos labeled “TB/TTG” indicate photos made by Toma Babovic for Thüringia Tourismus GmbH. I made the other photos on 26 April 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

Petrikirche, Taufkirche, Eisleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany,

Tracing Luther’s steps in 16 German cities (Reformation 500)

FEATURED: “Luther war hier. // Luther was here.” Eisleben, Germany (HL, 27 Oct 2016).

In pre-teen years, I attended a Catholic elementary school by weekday, and a missions-oriented Protestant church by weekend. I already had multiple questions running around my pre-scientist brain, like electrons appearing and dissipating in a fuzzy halo. When various disparate elements began to settle with few satisfying answers, I left behind the churches and their respective religions. But one thing that’s remained is my love of history. History has never been boring, because I carry the past (as offspring of immigrants), and I’m determined to bring history’s lessons into the present.

Even in youth, I had to ask: why was one set of churches called “Protestant”? What was under protest? How did one man help spark a movement that would help merge and create a version of a language that continues today, that would bring accessible means to literacy for the public, and that would begin to change rule by religion to rule by law?

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Original frame by Spinelli313 for

Erfurt: five KiKa characters as sculptures

Erfurt is the capital city for the state of Thuringia (Landeshauptstadt Thüringen) and is included among many in the Historic Highlights of Germany. As a self-described hub for children’s media, Erfurt is headquarters for the German Children’s Channel, or KInderKAnal, better known in short as KIKA. In commemoration of the channel’s tenth anniversary in 2007, sculptures representing well-loved KIKA characters sprung to “life” around town.

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Erfurt: 12 stations on a walk through the Old Town

(Erfurter Stadtführung)

Located along the Gera river near the centre of Germany, Erfurt is an historical hub of east-west trade, a stop on the historical road “Via Regia” dating back to the Middle Ages, and is considered a spiritual home for Martin Luther. He left behind plenty of traces throughout the city which is now the capital city for the German state of Thuringia (Landeshauptstadt Thüringens).

Each of the following locations in addition to the Erfurt’s Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) is indicated with an icon in the map below. All 12 stops can be reached with tram routes 3, 4, or 6 (common segment as solid back line), with stops at Anger, Fischmarkt/Rathaus (Fish Market/City Hall), and Domplatz Süd (Cathedral Square South). Click on the arrow-window symbol at the upper-left corner of the map below for additional clarification.

1.     Alte Synagoge (Old Synagogue)

Alte Synagoge, Old Synagogue, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia,

Dating back to 1270, this is the oldest surviving synagogue in Central Europe with its roof intact. The building contains a treasury with Jewish artifacts which survived the 14th-century pogrom, including one of three last surviving Jewish wedding rings. The site and the Mikwe as important elements of Jewish life in the Middle Ages are a part of the city’s application for status as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

2.     Anger (village green or commons)

Anger, town green or commons, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

‘Anger’ is the German word for a town’s open common space; e.g., village green or commons. The town was once the centre of woad production and trade. Kaufmannskirche (Merchants’ Church) and ANGER 1 commercial complex are at left and right, respectively.

3.     Augustinerkloster (Augustinian Monastery)

Augustinerkloster, Augustinian Monastery, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Built around 1300, the Augustinian Monastery became home for Martin Luther as a monk from 1505 to 1511. Rooms are available for visitors for overnight stays in a quiet comfortable environment. The site underwent post-war reconstruction after suffering heavy bombing damage.

4.     Domplatz (Cathedral Square)

Domberg, Mariendom, St. Mary's Cathedral, Erfurter Dom, Erfurt Cathedral, Severikirche, St. Severus Church, Domplatz, Cathedral Square, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

In this southwest view from Domplatz to the top of Domberg hill sit respectively Mariendom or Erfurter Dom (St. Mary’s Cathedral or Erfurt Cathedral, left) and Severikirche (St. Severus’ Church, right). Most of the Cathedral is Gothic by construction from the 14th- and 15th-centuries. Martin Luther was ordained as priest at the Cathedral in 1507.

5.     Fischmarkt / Rathaus (Fish Market / Town Hall)

Fischmarkt, Old Fish Market, Rathaus, City Hall, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

16th-century buildings around the Fischmarkt highlight the wealth brought into the city from trade. With the first hall erected in the 11th-century, the Rathaus (shown at right) was constructed in the neo-Gothic style of the late 19th-century.

6.     Kaufmannskirche, Luther-Denkmal (Merchants’ Church, Luther Memorial)

Kaufmannskirche, Luther-Denkmal, Merchants' Church, Luther Memorial, Anger, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

The Protestant Kaufmannskirche (Merchants’ Church) was built in the 11th-century by Frisian merchants. Martin Luther preached here in 1522; Johann Sebastian Bach’s parents exchanged wedding vows here in 1668.

7.     Kollegium Maius

Kollegium Maius, Alte Universität Erfurt, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

After post-war reconstruction, this site is where the main building of the old university stood. Erfurt’s university is either the oldest (1379) or third oldest (1392) university in Germany. At the age of 17, Martin Luther enrolled here as university student in 1501, first in the “seven liberal arts”, and subsequently in law. This location is opposite the Michaeliskirche.

8.     Krämerbrücke (Shopkeepers’ Bridge)

Krämerbrücke, Shopkeepers' Bridge, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Lying along the “Via Regia”, the Krämerbrücke over the Gera river is Europe’s longest bridge entirely covered with inhabited houses.

Krämerbrücke sign on Kreuzgasse, ehem. Unter den Juden, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

“Krämerbrücke: Älteste urkundliche Erwähnung als Holzbrücke im Jahre 1117, durch Brand mehrere Male zerstört. In Stein erbaut im Jahre 1325. Die Brücke lag auf der Wegstrecke der Ost-West-Handelstrasse Kiew-Breslau-Erfurt-Frankfurt/Main.”

Mentioned in oldest documents as wooden bridge in 1117, destroyed several times by fire. Built with stone in 1325. The bridge lay along the East-West trade route: Kiev, Wroclaw, Erfurt, Frankfurt am Main.

9.     Michaeliskirche (St. Michael’s Church

Michaeliskirche (ehem Universitätskirche), St. Michael's Church, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Built at the end of the 12th-century, St. Michael’s Church was also once the university’s church. Once enrolled as a university student, Martin Luther gave a sermon here in 1522. This location is opposite the Kollegium Maius.

10.   Mikwe (Mikveh)

Mikwe, Mikveh, Jüdisches Tauchbad, Jewish ritual baths, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

A mikveh is a Jewish immersion bath used for ritual purification. Found near the Krämerbrücke, the baths were discovered and excavated between 2007 and 2011. The baths’ construction and first written record go back to the middle of the 13th-century. As the Mikveh and Synagogue are important elements of a Jewish community, the historical sites are a part of the city’s application for status as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

11.   Neue Mühle (New Mill)

Neue Mühle, New Mill Museum, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

Erfurt has traditionally been a city of water mills, with up to 50 along the river Gera. With the first mill constructed at the location in 1255, the building seen here was built in 1826. The present-day site is home to the Neue Mühle Technisches Denkmal und Museum (New Mill Technical Monument and Museum).

12.   Zitadelle Petersberg (Petersberg Citadel)

Zitadelle Petersberg, Mainzer Rad, Petersberg Citadel, Wheel of Mainz, Erfurt, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany,

As one of the finest preserved fortresses in Europe, Zitadelle Petersberg (Petersberg Citadel) provides examples of Romanesque, Baroque, and neo-Prussian construction from the 12th through to the 19th century. The Mainzer Rad (Wheel of Mainz) represents the city’s historical, religious, and political association and rule from Mainz.

More on Erfurt (in English):

•   The City of Erfurt
•   Thuringia State
•   Historic Highlights of Germany
•   (Martin) Luther Country
•   Germany Tourism

Thanks to Germany Tourism, Thüringen Tourismus, and the Erfurt Tourism and Marketing Board for support and access to places and activities; and to Mercure Hotel Erfurt Altstadt for their generous hospitality. Special thanks to Matthias Gose from Erfurt Tourismus for an excellent guided tour. I made these photos on 26 and 29 April 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

Herderkirche, Stadtkirche, St. Peter and Paul Church, Herderplatz, classic Weimar, Weimar, Thüringen, Thuringia, Germany, UNESCO World Heritage,

Weimar UNESCO WHS: Cranach Altar in City Church at Herderplatz

Weimar is a compact town with a large number of buildings as a part of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As part of the “Classic Weimar” World Heritage listing, Herderplatz (Herder Plaza) in the northern part of the city’s old town is known most for the church with two spires and a dark grey roof. This is the Stadtkirche (City Church), known also the Church of Saint Peter and Paul.

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