Today was a true history lesson!
Mom, Stephanie (who was finally able to join us after being stuck in Berlin from the wind storm), and I made the trip from Wittenberg to Eisenach today to go visit the famous Wartburg Castle.
What none of us realized was that Wartburg is has significance far beyond it’s association with Martin Luther.
Getting to castle is quite the hike. It lies on a large hill on the other side of Eisenach from the Hauptbahnhof. Along the path are signs with several important events of Luther’s life leading to the foot of the hill. Once you get there, it’s another good 30 minutes of uphill treking before reaching the entrance to the castle.
The traditional way to visit the castle was by donkey, and the donkeys were actually there! Unfortunately, it was voted against actually paying to ride them, so I had to settle for taking a picture of their cute little faces.
Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside the castle. But what we saw was simply amazing.
The castle was built around the year 1200, and had become well known not long after for the Hungarian princess, Elisabeth, who married the ruler of the castle and chose to use her status for the benefit of the common people. She was canonized after her death for her short 24 years of life in service.
The next major event at Wartburg was the reason most people were there: Martin Luther’s “kidnapping” and safekeeping after his refusal to recant at the Diet of Worms. At one point in the tour, you get to see the room where Luther worked tirelessly on a German translation of the New Testsment.
Fun fact: several German versions of the Bible already existed before Luther’s, but most were quickly confiscated and also not of great quality. Luther’s not only had popularity and clout, but was well researched from the original manuscripts and actually informed much of the development of the modern German language.
Wartburg Castle continued to hold significance throughout the centuries. It played a central role in the call to a united Germany after the Naploeanic Wars. It was seen as an important an valuable symbol during both World Wars.
In short, Wartburg has become a stalwart of German history and identity. It was a blessing to come and learn not only about Luther’s time there, but all that it has meant through the history of Germany.
We spent so much time at the castle that we didn’t get a chance to see anything else of Eisenach. But that’s ok, it just means we have to return. 🙂
Tomorrow is the big day! Look forward to some great pictures and stories!