Lutherstadt Eisleben is considered by many to be the true home of the Protestant Reformation. It traces back to to the 16th century.
In 1517, Martin Luther, the son of a miner from this town, published his 95 Theses on Christian religion. This led to a break with the Catholic Church, and Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther in 1521.
Although the famous theologian spent much of his life in other locations, this is the old mining town, established in 1180, where Luther was born and later died.
You can still visit his Birth House and Death House, maintained as memorials since 1689. Indeed, the concept of “heritage tourism” was pioneered here in the 17th century.
You will also want to pay a visit to the St. Peter and Paul Church, much of which is devoted to St. Anna, the grandmother of Jesus and patron saint of miners. Her image can be seen at the center of the altar in the choir room.
This is the church where Martin Luther was baptized, the day after his birth on November 10, 1483. You will see a tribute to him, the Luthertaufstein, in the altar area.
Another site closely associated with the great reformer is the 13th-century St. Andreas Church. Featuring a mix of gothic architecture and Renaissance sculpture, this is where Luther preached his final four sermons, the last being on February 15, 1546.
Four days later, he passed away. His body was laid out in the hall here before being transported to Lutherstadt Wittenberg on February 19.
The local museum, of course, has dedicated much of its display space to the town’s singular topic. In the center of town, a memorial was completed in 1883 to celebrate his 400th birthday. It is comprised of a massive bronze statue upon a granite pedestal with four carvings in raised relief. scenes from Luther’s extraordinary life.
It is easy to get caught up in the aura of this charismatic celebrity, who had such a great influence on world religion. You are certain to feel his presence from the moment you arrive.
The town has been recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1997. Even now, plans are well underway for a huge celebration and special events to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Protestantism here in 2017.