The WartburgThe Wartburg may well be the most impressive castle in Central Europe. In the Middle Ages, it was the seat of one of the most powerful dynasties of the Holy Roman Empire and home of a hugely popular saint; in 1521, it was here that Martin Luther found refuge and translated the New Testament from Latin into German.
This not only made the bible accessible (and thus criticizable) to the public, but laid the foundations for standardizing the German language, essential for the nation-building process that ensued at and around the Wartburg 300 years later.
The nearby town of Eisenach is the birthplace of composer Johann Sebastian Bach. His family’s home is adjacent to the Bach House, a museum exhibiting hundreds of original objects of the composer. But most of all, small as it is, Eisenach is a cornerstone for Germany's democracy. Due to the open-mindedness of one local ruler, Carl August, the area became a hotbed for German enlightenment.
In 1817 some 500 students from most German territories met at Eisenach to commemorate 300 years of reformation, an event known as the First Wartburg Fest. The meeting was held in protest of reactionary politics, scattered regionalism, and to promote a single nation state with its own constitution. The students drafted a political program demanding political, religious, and economic unity; all Germans were to have civil liberties. The student movement was soon repressed but unification and democracy movements were to build on the 1817 events. In 1869, Germany's Social Democratic Party was founded at Eisenach - at the local tavern "Goldener Löwe" or Golden Lion which has since been turned into a memorial site.
Today, the awe-inspiring castle and the picturesque town of Eisenach radiate historical and political importance in many ways.
1000 Years of German History and World HeritageFrom being one of the hotspots of power and culture in medieval Germany to becoming a symbol for democracy that is familiar to Germans even today, the Wartburg has been a stage of German history like hardly any other place. However, it is best known for being Martin Luther’s hiding place...
The Most German of All German CastlesFrom the Middle Ages to the birth of German democracy, the Wartburg was one of the hotspots of German history. And in a little room inside the castle, a certain Martin Luther actually made world history…
Sängerkrieg, or Courtly Culture and the Greatest PoetsA look inside the “Palas”, the greatest Romanesque palace north of the Alps, showing what was considered luxury living in the Middle Ages. The Great Hall was the scene of the legendary “Sängerkrieg”, or Minstrels’ Contest of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” fame.
Fighting the Devil: Luther and the WartburgIn 1521, after standing up to Pope and emperor, Martin Luther was declared an outlaw. And indeed he was abducted - but only to take him to the Wartburg. Here, he spent 10 months in hiding, translating the Bible and writing texts that would make history.
The Cradle of German Democracy: The Wartburg FestIn October 1817, 500 students from all over Germany met at the Wartburg. At the time, Germany was made up of 38 sovereign countries; the students were fighting for unity and democracy. They had defeated Napoleon; would they overcome their own rulers?
The Wartburg for ChildrenThe very ancient knight's raven known as Hoerselkrah tells us about how the castle was built, what parts it consists of, and what daily life in a medieval castle was like...
- Auf der Wartburg 1
- 99817 Eisenach
- Parts of the Wartburg are accessible by guided tour only.
- Opening hours are subject to seasonal change.
- Please check the Wartburg website.