2017 marks the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation and many tours to historical and cultural places influenced by the Reformation are designed in celebration of this event.
This is one of the best times to explore authentic sites in picturesque towns while walking in the footsteps of Martin Luther. It is an opportunity to learn how the Reformation changed not only theology but also history, art and culture.
Martin Luther once said: “God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”
Take a pilgrimage through the spectacular landscapes of Northern Luther Country on the Lutherweg. Legend has it that Martin Luther is said to have heard the voice of God speak to him here in the midst of a thunderstorm.
Go on a pilgrimage through Southern Luther Country on the Lutherweg to see sights like the “Lutherbrunnen”. The waters of this fountain are said to have healed Martin Luther’s diseased kidneys in 1537.
Enjoy a guided tour of the charming, half-timbered town of Schmalkalden and its Luther House. Many other exciting places along the path also played key roles in Reformation history.
Visit cities like Erfurt, where Luther dedicated his life to God. See artwork made by his friend, and Reformation-supporter Lucas Cranach the Elder, and his son, Cranach the Younger.
Martin Luther said: “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” Stop in Eisenach, former residence of Luther and birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Luther Country in Central Germany is home to composers whose music was influenced by the Protestant Reformation. Visit the places where great composers like Liszt, Wagner, Hummel, Cornelius, Humperdinck, and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy once worked and the beautiful cities George Frideric Handel called home.
Muehlhausen is where the Reformation activist whose views became too radical for Luther led his reforms. Thomas Muentzer was executed for his role in starting the German Peasant’s Revolt.
There are also tours that highlight the role of women like Luther’s wife, Katharina von Bora in the Reformation. Other tours feature German pastor Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the “Father of the North American Lutheran Church”. He was sent to North America in the mid-1700s as a Lutheran missionary.
Heidelberg and Augsburg are places to learn about the supportive and calming influence of Luther’s best friend, Philipp Melanchthon, who led the Reformation after Luther’s death. They are now buried side-by-side at the Castle Church in Wittenberg where tradition holds that in 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses against the abuse of the sale of indulgences on the main door.