Nature Park Travel - Europe off the beaten track
Castle Tour: Wartburg near Eisenach
In a visit to the Wartburg Castle you get a vivid impression of
medieval history and
the Romantic perception of the Middle Ages in Germany during the 19th century.
As Martin Luther's hiding-place, the castle is a symbol of the Reformation.
The Wartburg Castle is part of the Unesco's World Heritage.
From here, in summer, children can ride the last part of the way on a donkey. There is a shuttle-bus for older or disabled people.
In 1080, the castle was mentioned in a document for the first time. The oldest remaining part of the building is from the last third of the 12th century.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the Wartburg Castle was a cultural, religious and political center.
Here, Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote parts of his 'Parzival', featuring King Arthur's Round Table and the Holy Grail, and Walter von der Vogelweide described in his verses the landgrave of the Wartburg Castle and his court. An anonymous poem in Middle High German reports on a song contest at the Wartburg.
Elisabeth from Hungary, wife of the landgrave of the Wartburg, insisted on working for charities - being the first in the history of First Ladies in doing so. Saint Elisabeth was also the only First Lady who succeeded in being canonized for her activities shortly after her death.
In 1521, Martin Luther found protection on the Wartburg, where he translated the New Testament into German.
You can visit the room, where Luther hid. Here you see the place where once a stain was carefully preserved, supposed to be caused by the ink jar which Luther threw at the devil.
Martin Luther had more luck at the Wartburg Castle than the Anabaptist Fritz Erbe, a simple farmer, who steadfastly refused to abjure his belief.
Fritz Erbe spent his time from 1540, until his death in 1548, in the dungeon of the south tower. He made sure that people would not forget him: He carved his signature into the wall with his fingers.
In 1777 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spent five weeks in the Wartburg Castle. His drawings give an impression of the Wartburg during this time.
In 1817, in the run up to the revolution of 1848, Jena students chose the Wartburg Castle as a meeting place for the fraternities.
In 1838 the castle was renovated, in the style of a Romantic transfiguration of the Middle Ages.
Richard Wagner used the legend of the medieval song contest on the Wartburg Castle for his opera Tannhaeuser, first performed in Dresden in 1845.
From 1853 onwards the painter Moritz von Schwind decorated the rooms of the Wartburg Castle: His frescos illustrate the singers' war, the life of the Thuringian landgraves and charitable work of holy Elisabeth.
Take part in a guided tour of the castle, so you can see the interior rooms!
The collection in the Wartburg contains medieval objects and works of art, pieces of furniture and pictures, among others from Lucas Cranach the Elder, first editions of Luther's works and Reformation leaflets.
With nice weather, it is worthwile to climb to the top of the tower: You enjoy a marvelous look over the Thuringian Forest from there.
In the evening, on the weekends during the summer months, concerts take place in the hall, in the castle courts and in the chapel of the Wartburg.
From the Wartburg, romantic paths lead to the narrow rock valley of the "Drachenschlucht", to the "Saengerwiese" and to the "Eliashoehle".
The dragon killer St. George is on the Eisenach coat of arms, and it is reported that once a dangerous dragon lived in the "Drachenschlucht".
It is claimed that the famous song contest between Walter von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Reinmar von Zweter and Heinrich von Ofterdingen took place on the Saengerwiese.
For Children & Parents