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Germany, 6 Days

In the footsteps of Martin Luther the Reformer in Eisenach, Schmalkalden, Erfurt, Leipzig, Halle, Eisleben, Mansfeld, Magdeburg, Torgau, Wittenberg, Grimma and Nimbschen

 GER - 10206

  • Itinerary

    Day 1: After your arrival, 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 sang in the boy choir boy and J. S. Bach was baptized. Visit Wartburg Castle, the former seat of the landgraves of Thuringia, site 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 and walk along the battlements. Continue through the beautiful landscape of the Thuringian Forest to Schmalkalden. Its town center is protected and preserved as a historical monument. It was first mentioned as "villa Smalcalta" in 874 and awarded town status by the Thuringian landgraves in 1180. In a walking tour see the Town hall, St. George's Church, a late-Gothic hall church (1437-1509) with the Luther Room and Church Museum where Luther held a sermon in front of the Schmalkaldic League in 1537. Elector of Saxony John Frederick commissioned Luther to compose the Articles of Faith, today known as the Schmalkald Articles. They were incorporated into the Book of Concords of the Protestant Church and are still used around the world in the ceremonies of ordination of Lutheran-Protestant priests. The articles are sometimes referred to as Luther's 'personal confession'. Walking tour to the Luther House (built in 1530), then via Herrengasse lane to Marstall and to the impressive Wilhelmsburg Castle, formerly a secondary residence of the landgrave of Hesse and one of Central Germany's most significant Renaissance buildings, almost entirely preserved in its original form. Overnight stay in a hotel in Thuringia.

    Day 2: Continue to Erfurt. In the Middle Ages among the largest cities in Central Europe, it was first officially mentioned in 742. Martin Luther was the most famous student of the city; he studied from 1501 to 1505 at the faculty of philosophy in Erfurt. 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 and the town hall, Haus "Zum Breiten Herd", Gildehaus, Wenigemarkt, 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, 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 on July 2nd 1505 Martin Luther was surprised by a heavy thunderstorm on a field near Stotternheim and swore to become a monk should he be saved. The Luther Stone of Swedish granite at the foot of the Galgenhugel hill commemorates the event. Continue to Zeitz where the male descendants of Luther lived. In 1542 Nicolaus von Amsdorf was inaugurated by Martin Luther as the first Protestant bishop in the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. In the cathedral's cloister there is a tombstone of one of Luther's grandsons. Continue to Leipzig. Check in to hotel for 4 nights.

    Day 3: 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 Madlerpassage 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 the new town hall, the site of the disputation with Martin Luther in 1519 and end the tour at the imposing Central Station building. The Leipzig Disputation at Pleissenburg Castle in the summer of 1519 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 three sermons in Leipzig: one on Whit Saturday (May 24th 1539) in the castle chapel, another on Whit Sunday (May 25th 1539) in St. Thomas' Church and another 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. 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. Dinner and return to hotel.

    Day 4: Day trip to 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 Residenzstadt Halle made it difficult for the reformation to be accepted until in its triumph 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 lectern 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 Lutheran city Eisleben. On November 23rd 994 the city was first officially mentioned in a document of Otto III. Walking tour to Luther's birthplace 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. Time permitting, continue to Magdeburg on the Elbe River. Magdeburg is an episcopal see of both the Protestant Church and the Catholic Church. Martin Luther preached in St. John's Church in 1524. Bus and walking tour of the city to the Convent of Our Lady, to the town hall at Alter Markt square and the 'Magdeburg Horseman' as well as to Domplatz (Cathedral Square). Visit to the unique Cathedral of St. Mauritius and St. Katherine with magnificent architectural sculptures where Martin Luther attended the monastery's school. The Magdeburg Cathedral was the first Cathedral designed in Gothic style on German ground and is one of the largest sacral buildings of Germany. Return to hotel in Leipzig.

    Day 5: Day trip 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 Kathe Luther. Continue to 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 "Thesentur" 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.

    Day 6: Continue to Grimma on the Mulde River for a tour of the monastery church where 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 Martin Luther in 1525. Transport to airport and departure.

    (subject to alterations)

  • Tour includes

    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 guides, maps and informative material.

  • Not included

    Tips, admission fees, beverages, personal expenses, possible increases in fuel prices.