Wittenberg, Germany

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Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, Situated on the river Elbe.

Wittenberg is home to numerous historical sites, as well as portraits and other paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder and Younger. On the doors of All Saints’ Church, the Schlosskirche (“castle church”, built in 1496–1506) Luther is said to have nailed his 95 theses in 1517. It was seriously damaged by fire in 1760 during a bombardment by the French during the Seven Years’ War, was practically rebuilt, and was later (1885–1892) restored. The wooden doors, burnt in 1760, were replaced in 1858 by bronze doors, bearing the Latin text of the theses. Inside the church are the tombs of Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, and of the electors Frederick the Wise (by Peter Vischer the Younger, 1527) and John the Constant (by Hans Vischer), and portraits of the reformers by Lucas Cranach the Younger.

St. Mary’s Church, the parish church in which Luther often preached, was built in the 14th century, but has been much altered since Luther’s time. It contains a painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, representing the Last Supper (with the faces of Luther and other reformers), Baptism and Confession, also a font by Hermann Vischer the Elder (1457). In addition, there are numerous historic paintings in the church.

The ancient electoral palace is another of the buildings that suffered severely in 1760; it now contains archives.

Martin Luther’s home, the Lutherhaus, where he studied and lived both before and after the Reformation, is now a museum containing many artifacts from his life. Melanchthon’s house and the house of Lucas Cranach the Elder, mayor of Wittenberg, can also be found here. Statues of Luther (by Schadow), Melanchthon and Bugenhagen embellish the town. The spot outside the Elster Gate where Luther publicly burned the papal bull in 1520 is marked by an oak tree.

All Saints’ Church

All Saints’ Church, commonly referred to as Schlosskirche (Castle Church) to distinguish it from the Stadtkirche (Town Church) of St. Mary’s – and sometimes known as the Reformation Memorial Church – is a Lutheran church in Wittenberg, Germany. It is the site where the Ninety-five Theses were likely posted by Martin Luther in 1517, the act that has been called the start of the Protestant Reformation. From 1883 onwards, the church was restored as a memorial site and re-inaugurated on 31 October 1892, 375 years after Luther’s posting.

Lutherhaus

The Lutherhaus is a writer’s house museum in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany. Originally built 1504 as part of the University of Wittenberg, the building was the home of Martin Luther for most of his adult life and a significant location in the history of the Protestant Reformation. Luther was living here when he wrote his 95 Theses. The Augusteum is an expansion to the original building that was constructed after Luther’s death to house a Protestant seminary and library which still exist today. Since 1996, both buildings have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Stadtkirche Wittenberg

The Stadt- und Pfarrkirche St. Marien zu Wittenberg (Town and Parish Church of St. Mary’s) is the civic church of the German town of Lutherstadt Wittenberg. The reformers Martin Luther and Johannes Bugenhagen preached there and the building also saw the first celebration of the mass in German rather than Latin and the first ever distribution of the bread and wine to the congregation – it is thus considered the mother-church of the Protestant Reformation. Since 1996 it has been a World Heritage Site – it, the Castle Church of All Saints (Schlosskirche), the Lutherhaus, the Melanchthonhaus and the surrounding Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm form the world’s densest concentration of World Heritage Sites in one area.

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