I was invited to go on a 4-day trip to some Martin Luther-related places in Eastern Germany (former East Germany), places where he was born and spent time during his life. Although I am not a Christian, Martin Luther did play a big role in German culture and language and shaped a world religion, so sure, why not learn more about him?
Can’t say no to travel 😉
Our first stop was Eisenach, a fairly small town. Luther didn’t have much to do with the town per se, but spent several years on the castle of Wartburg where Luther translated the New Testament and unintentionally set the foundation of how the German language was written.
A tour of the Wartburg shows lots of medieval stuff from pillars to mosaics to colorful decorations. Their hotel and restaurant is also top-notch. I especially enjoyed my entrée of zander with Ras el hanout purée. It was to die for (…not shown because I devoured it before I remembered to take a picture). The desserts looked like modern art and were delicious, but not mind-blowing.
Our surprise in the morning? 15cm of snow! In April!
After the hotel staff had removed several fallen trees, the roads were clear and we headed towards Wittenberg where Luther pinned his 95 thesis on the door of the All-Saints’-Church (which was under construction as of now).
Of course we visited our fair share of churches (not all of them were Protestant), but there was also enough “non-religious content”, like marvelling at the Nebra sky disk in Halle (a roughly 4000-year-old bronze disk, the oldest found depiction of the cosmos and on Unesco’s Memory of the World Register or gazing at the Peasants’ War Panorama in Frankenhausen where you can see a giant (I mean GIANT) painting showing several scenes of the Peasants’ War in 1525. With an incredible 1722m² in size, East German artist Werner Tübke created a masterpiece that makes you feel dizzy just looking at it. Since the war is somewhat related to Martin Luther, he is shown several times in the painting, alongside approximately 3000 other figures.
Eisleben, where Luther was born and also died, doesn’t have too much to offer besides a handful of small museums like his birth and death houses. They are not the original ones though since those fell victim to the ravages of time.
Lastly, we went to Erfurt since that was where Luther joined the monastery. Sometimes I think people forget that Martin Luther was a Catholic monk 😉
For food, sausages and potato dumplings were praised as local delicacies. Lots of more modern food choices were also readily available. Fish and deer seemed particularly popular, as well as seasonal products such as wild garlic.
Unfortunately there was a fun fair blocking the view of the cathedral square.
March 31st – April 3rd 2016