Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg (1996)

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These places in Saxony-Anhalt are all associated with the lives of Martin Luther and his fellow-reformer Phillipp Melanchthon. 

They include Melanchthon's house in Wittenberg, the houses in Eisleben where Luther was born in 1483 and died in 1546, his room in Wittenberg, the local church and the castle church where, on 31 October 1517, Luther posted his famous '95 Theses', which launched the Reformation and a new era in the religious and political history of the Western world.

German Democratic Republic 1967. Luther House in Wittenberg.

German Democratic Republic 1967. Castle Church in wittenberg.

The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property, considering that it is of outstanding universal value bearing unique testimony to the Protestant Reformation, which was one of the most significant events in the religious and political history of the world and constitutes outstanding examples of 19th century historicism. The Committee congratulated the German authorities on this nomination and considered that its symbolic value clearly justifies inscription under cultural criterion.  

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German theologian and religious reformer, who initiated the Protestant Reformation, and whose vast influence, extending beyond religion to politics, economics, education, and language, has made him one of the crucial figures in modern European history. 

Germany. Contemporary painting of Luther. German Democratic Republic 1967. Martin Luther in 1521, wearing a professor-hat. After a copper etching by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Germany 1952. The Lutheran World Association in Hannover commemorating Martin Luther. Germany 1960. 400th death anniversary of Philipp Schwarzerd, also known as Melanchthon. Germany 1972. 500th birth anniversary of Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Luther was born in Eisleben on November 10, 1483. He was descended from the peasantry, a fact that he often stressed. His father, Hans Luther, was a copper miner in the mining area of Mansfeld. Luther received a sound primary and secondary education at Mansfeld, Magdeburg, and Eisenach. In 1501, at the age of 17, he enrolled at the University of Erfurt, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1502 and a master's degree in 1505. He then intended to study law, as his father wished. In the summer of 1505, however, he suddenly abandoned his studies, sold his books, and entered the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. The decision surprised his friends and appalled his father. Later in life, Luther explained it by recalling several brushes with death that had occurred at the time, making him aware of the fleeting character of life. In the monastery he observed the rules imposed on a novice but did not find the peace in God he had expected. Nevertheless, Luther made his profession as a monk in the fall of 1506, and his superiors selected him for the priesthood. He was later banned by Emperor Karl V, and went into hide at Wartburg Castle.  

Germany 19t67. 450th anniversary of Luther's attack on the Thesis in Wittenberg. Germany 1971. Luther before Emperor Karl V in the Parliament in Worms. Germany 1979. 450th anniversary of Luther's Catechism. Moses receives the Law on Mount Sinai. Wood cut by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

It was during his exile at Wartburg Castle that Martin Luther translated the New Testament from the original Greek into German, thus contributing to the development of a standard German language. Also Wartburg was declared World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Please follow the link below to read more about this important castle. 

Katharina von Bora was born in 1499, the daughter of an impoverished nobleman. In 1504 she went to the convent school of the Benedict order in Brehna (near Halle) and entered the convent of Nimbschen in 1508. In 1515 she took her vows and became a nun at the soonest possible date. 

In the Easter 1523, Katherina fled with 11 other nuns from the convent in Nimbschen to Wittenberg and found shelter with the family of the painter Lucas Cranach the Elder. On June 13, 1525 Katharina got engaged and married to Luther; the wedding celebration took place on June 27, 1525. 

  • Germany 1999. Katharina von Bora. 

Germany 1999. Katharina von Bora. Martin Luther's Wife.

Philipp Melanchton, Luther's fellow-reformer, is quoted to have said that "Unexpectedly Luther married Bora, without even mentioning his plans to his friends..." 

On June 7, 1526 Martin and Katharina's first son, Johannes (Hans), was born, on December 10, 1527 a daughter, Elisabeth, was born, but died after 8 months; the daughter, Magdalena, born on May 4, 1529, died at age 13. In 1531, 1533, and 1534, their sons, Martin and Paul, and daughter, Margarethe were born. All living descendants of Martin Luther come from Margarethe's line. Katharina died on December 20, 1552 in Torgau. 

Sources and links: 

Many thanks to Mr. Gerhard Reichert, Germany, for all help, support and encouragement in setting up this page. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Germany (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Germany for further information about such sites. 

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Revised 03 aug 2006  
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