8 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Lutherstadt Wittenberg
The lovely old university town of Wittenberg, famed as the birthplace of Martin Luther's Reformation, lies on the north bank of the River Elbe in the southern foothills of the Fläming range. A number of important sites in the town are associated with Luther, including the old Augustinian Monastery - now known as Luther House - where he briefly served as a monk and later lived. Today, Wittenberg is a delightful town to explore, and one that boasts a number of excellent cultural sites and events, including a first-rate professional theater as well as open-air theatrical and musical performances.
1 Lutherhaus Museum
Lutherhaus, where Martin Luther lived from 1508 to 1546, was built in 1504 as a house of Augustinian Hermits and soon after became the Reformer's home. It was altered between 1844 and 1900 when it was converted into a museum dedicated to the Reformation. In a room once occupied by Luther, preserved in its original condition, are displays of Luther's writings and prints, medals, his university lectern, his pulpit from St. Mary's Church, and a number of valuable paintings. Guided tours are available (advance booking recommended). Also of interest is the adjoining Augusteum, built in 1583 and originally part of the university.
Address: Collegienstraße 54, 06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg
2 The Marktplatz
Wittenberg's old market square, the Marktplatz, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 and is home to important historic buildings and tourist attractions. One of the most interesting is the handsome Town Hall (Rathaus), built in 1540 and notable for its four Renaissance gables, Late Gothic windows, the 16th-century balcony over its entrance, as well as its rich decoration, including allegorical figures and columns and a statue of the goddess Justitia with scales and sword. Immediately adjoining the Town Hall are the Market Fountain from 1617 and early 19th-century bronze statues of Martin Luther and fellow Reformer, Philip Melanchthon.
3 Parish Church of St. Mary
The oldest building in Wittenberg is the aisled Gothic Parish Church of St. Mary (Stadtkirche St. Marien). Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, the church is famous the world over as the place where Luther frequently preached. Notable features include the church's twin octagonal spires, built in 1558 in Renaissance style, and its winged altar from 1547 designed by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Also of interest is the richly decorated font from 1457; an organ noted for its fine tone; a number of paintings by Cranach; and Renaissance epitaphs and tombs, including that of the Reformer Johann Bugenhagen who died here in 1558. Guided tours are available. Also of interest is the adjoining Chapel of the Holy Body (Kapelle zum Heiligen Leichnam), constructed in 1377 in brick-built Gothic style and notable for its strikingly slender tower.
Address: Kirchplatz, 06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg
4 The Castle Church
The lovely Late Gothic Schlosskirche, built in 1500 as All Saints Church, is now better known as the Reformation Memorial Church due to its ties with Martin Luther. It was to the church's original wooden doors that Luther nailed his famous Theses in 1517. Although the original doors were destroyed during the Seven Years War, the present bronze replacements, installed in 1858, bear their Latin text. Inside are life-size alabaster statues of Electors Frederick the Wise and John the Constant of Saxony-Wittenberg, the tombs of Luther and Melanchthon, and the Early Renaissance monument of Elector Frederick III from 1527. On the columns of the nave are life-size figures of Luther, Melanchthon, and other Reformers. Be sure to visit the church's unusual rounded tower with its extensive views over the town. Admission is via guided tours only, available from the Info Center.
Address: Wilhelm-Weber-Straße 1a, 06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg
5 Melanchthon House
Not far from Lutherhaus is Melanchthon House. Built in 1536, this three-story building with its Late Gothic windows and Renaissance gables was the home of Philip Melanchthon, also a Reformer. Melanchthon lived, worked, and died here (1560), and the home is now a memorial museum. A highlight of a visit is its lovely 16th-century garden with its pump, stone table, a herb garden, and old yew-trees, all surrounded by a stretch of the old town walls. Other highlights include documents and artifacts once owned by Melanchthon, as well as a large portrait of him by Lucas Cranach the Younger.
Address: Collegienstrasse 60, 06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg
6 Cranach House
Cranach House was the home of the famous German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, who lived in Wittenberg from 1505 to 1547. Court painter to the Elector of Saxony, he also became burgomaster of Wittenberg and owner of a pharmacy in the town. Widely considered one of the most accomplished 16th-century artists, he was responsible for painting portraits of many figures connected to the Reformation, as well as local aristocrats. Now a museum, this finely preserved medieval house and its studio boast numerous artifacts relating to Cranach's career. The courtyards around the home are also worth exploring and include quaint shops and a café.
Address: Marktplatz 4, 06886 Lutherstadt, Wittenberg
7 Piesteritz Workers' Estate
Wittenberg is home to a variety of interesting more recent architectural styles, in particular, fine examples from the 20th century. One of the highlights of a walking tour of the town's architecture is Piesteritz, a residential area constructed in 1916 to house workers from its industrial areas. Another notable piece of architecture is the brightly colored Dr. Seuss-like Hundertwasserschule, redesigned and renovated by the famous artist from Austria, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, in 1999. The school has an interesting visitor center with details of the building's history, along with information relating to the artist.
Address: Schillerstraße 22a, 06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg
8 Museum of Town History
To the south of the Schlosskirche stands the Schloss, the old Electoral residence dating from 1525 and now home to the Museum of Town History. Highlights include exhibits detailing the development of the town, as well as historical archives and an impressive collection of natural history and ethnographic artifacts from prehistoric times to the middle ages.
Address: Schlossplatz 1d 06886 Lutherstadt Wittenberg