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Germany, 12 Days

In the footsteps of Luther, Bach and Silbermann in Berlin, Potsdam, Wittenberg, Torgau, Leipzig, Halle, Koethen, Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dresden, Meissen, Freiberg, Erfurt and Eisenach

Tour-Code:
 GER - 40112


  • Itinerary

    Day 1: Arrival at Berlin. Check in to a hotel in Berlin for 3 nights.

    Day 2: Berlin. Discover the old town of Berlin, called "Nikolaiviertel", with its historic architectural monuments in a walking tour to St. Nicholas' Church where Paul Gerhardt worked as a deacon. Continue on a guided city tour to the main sights: Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Gendarmenmarkt, Bernau Strasse, Alexanderplatz, Church of St. Mary, Berlin Cathedral, St. Hedwig's Cathedral, Museum Island and "Unter den Linden"avenue. Return to hotel in Berlin.

    Day 3: Continue to Potsdam, residence of the Prussian kings and German Kaisers until 1918. Start in the Dutch Quarter, named for the Dutch style red brick buildings, then go on to the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul at Bassinplatz, Platz der Einheit, the Memorial dedicated to the Victims of Fascism and War and the Potsdam Museum. Continue to Sanssouci Palace with its picturesque scenery and surrounding parks and palaces: the Charlottenhof Palace, Church of Peace, Orangery, Sicilian Garden, Dragon House and Cecilienhof Palace, site of the Potsdam Declaration in 1945. Return to hotel in Berlin.

    Day 4: Lutheran city Wittenberg which has been specially influenced by Luther. Paul Gerhard, the second-most important Protestant hymn writer after Luther, stayed here during his studies of theology. In a tour of the city pass All Saints' church with the famous "Thesentuer" where Luther posted the 95 theses, go along Collegienstrasse to market square and the Renaissance town hall as well as the Memorials of Luther and Melanchthon. Pass the Cranach Courtyards to go to St. Mary's Church with the Reformation altar by Lucas Cranach the Elder, then to the Melanchthon House and Luther House, a former monastery building where Luther lived and worked, which today houses the world's largest Museum of Reformation History. Continue to Torgau, once seat to the Electors of Saxony where Luther stayed forty times and held sermons in the castle chapel in 1544, consecrated as the first Protestant sacral building. As residential seat of John Frederick the Magnanimous Torgau became the center of the Reformation. In a walking tour of the city see the historic market with the Renaissance town hall and the patrician town houses built in the 15th to 17th century, the Castle Chapel in Hartenfels Castle, St. Mary's Church with the tombstone of Katharina Luther and the Nothelfer altar by Cranach the Elder as well as the Death House of Kaethe Luther. Continue to Leipzig. Check in to hotel in Leipzig for 4 nights.

    Day 5: Leipzig. In a bus tour of the city see St. Alexei's Russian Memorial Church in Novgorod fashion, the Schiller House where the poet wrote the first verses of "Ode to Joy" in 1785. Go on to Gohlis Palace, Leipzig's only palace building. Walking tour to St. Thomas' Church built in late Gothic style, the site where Martin Luther established the Reformation in Leipzig and J. S. Bach worked as a cantor. Go on to the Bose House, home of the merchant Bose now housing the Bach Museum, "Zum Coffe Baum" Leipzig's oldest coffee house opened in 1694 where Goethe, Lessing, Liszt, Gottsched, Schumann, Wagner and Wieck met and conversed. Go on to Barthels Hof, the only remaining arcade of the time of trade fairs around 1523, to the old town hall at market square, the old stock exchange of 1687, today a venue for musical performances and literary events, the Goethe Monument and the Lion Fountain, the oldest working drinking fountain of Leipzig built as early as 1690. Go on to the Maedlerpassage arcades with a Meissner porcelain carillon and the "Auerbachs Keller" restaurant. Go on to the Baroque Romanus House of 1704, meeting place of famous literary figures. Visit to St. Nicholas' Church, famous for the prayers for freedom held there then go on to Augustusplatz Square with the Gewandhaus concert hall and Leipzig Opera. Continue to new city hall - the site of the disputation with Martin Luther in 1519, then to the magnificent Leipzig Central Station. The Leipzig Disputation in the summer of 1519 at Pleissenburg Castle plays an important role in Reformation history. In a debate between the professor of theology Johann von Eck (1486-1543) and Andreas Karlstadt (1486-1541), Martin Luther professed his position towards the church in front of the sovereign of the city of Leipzig, George ('the Bearded',1471-1539) (Albertine) Duke of Saxony. Luther held 3 sermons in Leipzig: one on Whit Saturday (May 24th 1539) in the castle chapel, the second on Whit Sunday (May 25th 1539) in St. Thomas' Church and the last on August 12th 1545 in St. Paul's Church. During his stays in Leipzig Luther mostly stayed with the printer Lotter (in today's Hainstrasse 16/18, memorial plate), but also in the Scherlsche Haus (in today's Klostergasse 3). Free time afterwards. At 3 pm on Saturdays or 6 pm on Fridays opportunity to attend a motet of St. Thomas' Choir (except during school holidays in Saxony) in St. Thomas' Church. For motets or organ vespers each visitor is required to purchase an admission program for EUR 2. Seats cannot be reserved.

    Day 6: Continue Halle on the Saale River where Augustinian monk Martin arrived in 1510, sent by his order, and successfully committed himself to establishing the Reformation although Cardinal Albert at the episcopal see of Halle made it difficult for the reformation to be accepted until in it eventually succeeded in 1541. In a guided tour of the historic city center, also including information about Johann Sebastian Bach, see the birth house of Handel (born in 1685), market square and St. Mary's Church where Martin Luther preached on August 5th 1545. Luther's pulpit and a memorial outside the church commemorate this event. In the vestry Luther's death mask and a print of his hands are preserved, since Luther's body was laid out in 1546 in St. Mary's Church. Continue to Koethen. Bach composed the Brandenburg Concertos here while working as a director of music. Visit St. Agnus Church and Koethen Castle, where Bach first performed his secular works. Return to Leipzig.

    Day 7: Continue to Eisleben. On November 23rd 994 the city was first officially mentioned in a document of Otto III. Walking tour to Luther's birth house, which has been preserved by the citizens of Eisleben for centuries, across market square to the Luther Memorial and Late Gothic town hall, a two-story building with high gables and gable lucarnes. Go on to the weigh house, where raw copper was weighed of which a tithe was given to the Counts of Mansfeld and the amount advanced to trading houses for the smelting was calculated, to the Church of St. Peter and Paul where Martin Luther was baptized, then to St. Andrew's Church. The parish church in the old town of Eisleben houses a Late Gothic winged altar and historic-cultural memorials to the Counts of Mansfeld. Martin Luther held his last sermon on February 16th 1546 on the pulpit. Visit to Luther's Death House. Continue to Mansfeld, first officially mentioned in 973. Shortly after Martin's birth the Luder family (whose name was later changed to Luther) settled in Mansfeld where Martin spent most of his childhood. Since spring 1488 Martin Luther attended the Mansfeld school next to St. George's Church and learned to read, write, calculate, sing and the basics of Latin. Visit to the city's church, Luther Memorial at the Luther Fountain, the Latin School, and the house of Luther's parents. Continue to Grimma for a tour of the Monastery Church where hymn writer Paul Gerhardt attended school during the 30 Years War. Continue to Nimbschen, the remains of the convent "Marienthron" where Katharina von Bora lived as a nun before she fled to Wittenberg to marry Luther in 1525. Return to Leipzig.

    Day 8: Dresden. Start at the heart of the royal seat Dresden, the 'Theaterplatz'. Nearby are the famous Semper Opera House housing the Saxon State Orchestra and the Zwinger with its Old Masters Picture Gallery, displaying among others Raphael's 'Sistine Madonna'. Visit the rebuilt Church of Our Lady, in a church service accompanied by organ music at 12 am followed by a guided tour. Explore the Old Masters Picture Gallery and the city on your own or alternatively take part in a river cruise on the Elbe. Opportunity to visit the Hofkirche church for a view of the Silbermann organ. Saxony was the home of Germany's foremost organ builder Silbermann. His created distinctive organs in Central Germany and influenced generations of organ builders after him. The Hofkirche houses the last, largest, and probably most beautiful of Silbermann's organs. Upon request, visit to the company of organ builders Jehmlich in Dresden, the renowned company in its fifth generation has built more than 1150 organs worldwide, some of them with pipes made of Meissen porcelain. Continue to Ponitz for a concert performed on the Silbermann organ. Check in to hotel in Dresden for 2 nights.

    Day 9: Continue to Meissen. In a guided tour see the town hall, the Church of our Lady with the world's first porcelain carillon, Albrechtsburg Castle and Meissen Cathedral. Go on to the Bischofsschloss and the factory of the famous Meissen china. Continue to Freiberg at the foot of the Ore Mountains. Freiberg has many names in Germany: 'mountain capital', 'city of organs' and 'city of silver'. Gottfried Silbermann chose the city as his home and site for building organs especially due to the rich silver deposits when he returned from France in 1711as a master organ builder. In a first tour for orientation walk across the market squares past the academy to Freiberg's churches. Visit the world famous Cathedral of St. Mary, a Late Gothic hall church with its Golden Gate, Tulip Pulpit, burial place of the Protestant Elector of Saxony and the Silbermann organs. The great organ of 1714 has 3 fingerboards and 44 organ stops. The smaller Silbermann organ was transported to St. John's Church in Freiberg (1 fingerboard, 14 organ stops) in 1939. Go on a guided tour of the city past the Silbermann House to the Churches of St. Peter and St. James for a view of two more enchanting organs of the organ builder. Return to Dresden.

    Day 10: Continue to Erfurt. It was first officially mentioned in 742 and, in the Middle Ages, among the largest cities of Central Europe. Martin Luther was the most famous student of the city; he studied from 1501 to 1505 at the university and received a 'Magister' degree from the faculty of philosophy. During his studies Luther lived in the Georgenburse at Lehmann Bridge. In 1502 he passed the 'Baccalaureat' exam. A permanent exhibition on the first floor of the Renaissance house shows the historical, theological and social life of the past. In a tour of the medieval center of the city see one of the most impressive constructions of medieval architecture: Erfurt Cathedral and Severikirche church as well as the pedestrian area with the restored buildings of "Hohe Lilie" House, Waidspeicher theatre, Hochzeitshaus, Predigerkirche (preacher's church), Franciscan Church, fish market square and the town hall, the magnificent "Zum Breiten Herd" town house, Gildehaus, Wenigemarkt square, and Merchants' Bridge - a architectural treasure of Central Europe and one of the most interesting sights of the city, entirely built over with houses. Go on to Agidenkirche church, St. Michael's Church, Waagegasse lane, All Saints' Church and the Augustinian monastery where Luther lived until 1511. Upon request go on a guided tour of the Augustinian monastery. The parents of Johann Sebastian Bach got married in the Merchants' Church. Time permitting, drive 4 km to Erfurt's Stotternheim district. Legend has it that Martin Luther once was surprised by a heavy thunderstorm on a field near Stotternheim on July 2nd 1505 and swore to become a monk if he was saved. The Luther Stone of Swedish granite at the foot of the Gal-genhugel hill commemorates the event. Check in Erfurt for 2 nights.

    Day 11: Continue to Eisenach where Martin Luther attended the parish school of St. George until 1501 and held sermons before the Diet of Worms in 1521. Lunch break. Walking tour of the old town including the town hall, the Luther House and Luther Monument as well as St. George's Church where Luther was a choir boy and J. S. Bach was baptized. Visit to Wartburg Castle, the former seat of the Thuringian landgraves where Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German and where St. Elizabeth stayed in the 13th century. Free time and opportunity to stroll around the castle plateau or to visit the Luther Room, see the paintings by Lucas Cranach, the exhibition or to walk along the battlements. Return to Erfurt.

    Day 12: Departure. Transport to Frankfurt International Airport and domestic flight to Berlin or departure at Berlin International Airport.

    (subject to alterations)

  • Tour includes

    Airport Shuttle, Accompanying English-speaking tour host, coach rides and day trips in a modern long-distance coach, experienced driver, and accommodation in mid-price hotels, double rooms with ensuite bathroom; breakfast and dinner, guided tours by trained local tour guide in Berlin, Potsdam, Wittenberg, Torgau, Leipzig, Halle, Eisleben, Mansfeld, Dresden, Meissen, Freiberg, Erfurt, Eisenach, admission fees, maps and informative material.

  • Not included

    International and domestic flights, tips, beverages, lunch, personal expenses, possible increases in fuel prices.