Come Explore Eisenach, in the state of Thüringen, Germany

Our assignment in German class this week was to research a city in Germany. I cannot ignore my fascination with one German man who changed the world. A stay in Germany would not be complete for me without visiting the stomping grounds of Martin Luther.

“On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses against papal indulgences, or the atonement of sins through monetary payment, on the door of the church at Wittenberg, Germany.”[1]

Martin Luther’s act in Wittenberg cast him into the spotlight and paved the way for the Reformation, but this is not the city I chose. I chose a different city associated with one of the most influential humans in the Common Era. I chose Eisenach, in the state of Thüringen. I chose Eisenach because it is there that Martin Luther conducted arguably his most significant work. If his 95 Thesis paved the way, his work at Wartburg Castle in Eisenach solidified the movement. Wartburg castle is about three miles from downtown Eisenach.

Eisenach is on the west side of the state of Thüringen, midway between north and south (see map).  Thüringen is in about the center of Germany.

Martin Luther was a monk and a scholar. He was a dichotomy. He was educated and intelligent, but he was prone to drink. He was superstitious. He risked his life for his faith, and was steadfast, stubbornly committed to correcting the wrongs he saw in the Church. Yet he wasn’t the most ethical creature himself. Depending on who is asked, he wasn’t even necessarily a good man by definition. He was anti-Semitic. He also gave some really bad advice such as offering polygamy as a solution to adultery and recommending tactics that led to an outright slaughtering of the poor. And yet this unwitting human being did in fact change the entire planet. In spite of himself, by tacking 95 points of contention with the Church in Latin intended for his academic peers, he provided the opportunity for these shared grievances to be translated into German and dispersed throughout the countryside literally overnight while he slept. Luther’s subsequent writings and downright hilarious capping contest in correspondences between him and the pope were nothing short of miraculous.  That he survived can be attributed to his god, or it could also have been the popularity he gained via the recently invented printing press. Truly, the printing press technologically, and Martin Luther philosophically ushered in the Modern Era, and changed Medieval Europe forever.[2] But it was not without great cost to him. While dealing with the consequences of his actions and unwavering commitment to his beliefs, he stayed in hiding for 300 days, just outside of town, here at Wartburg Castle, shown below.[3]

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This is significant to German history because while he was on the lamb hiding as nobility at Wartburg Castle (founded in 1067), Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Latin to German – the German he writes becomes the “it” German because of the popularity of the subject matter.[4] This catapults the unification of the German language.

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It is also significant to the rest of the planet because this translation, and Martin Luther’s entire life’s work help solidify the “Reformation” movement from a desire to change the Church from within to a full-blown Schism that would lead to generations of blood, war, and feuds. The consequences of the Protestant Catholic Wars would include a great exodus of Protestants from Germany and many other places in northern Europe, to the United States. The USA was founded in principles held by these migrants. Political and religious refugees with zealous belief systems founded a new government that became a world influencing nation. Evidence of this influence includes a tax benefit for married couples that exceeds that of head of household with more dependents, the right to discard Christmas trees on city streets (as this is written on the eve of Good Friday, a brown Christmas tree sits on the corner filled with trash and dog feces), the right to double park around churches in San Francisco, religious tax exemption, along with a plethora of discriminatory societal practices. See one example here of the first posting listed under Adjunct job offerings at a Christian university.


“Liberty University’s hiring practices and EEO Statement are fully in compliance with both federal and state law. Federal law creates an exception to the “religion” component of the employment discrimination laws for religious organizations (including educational institutions), and permits them to give employment preference to members of their own religion. Liberty University is in that category.”

We don’t think anything of this. And maybe we shouldn’t. Unless it matters that this same religious industry is more lucrative than oil.

The ramifications of Martin Luther’s writings, choices, and beliefs still impact us today. Martin Luther is prime example of one human changing the world. It is likely that many of my ancestors would have migrated to the new land regardless, but what new land they did come to, when, and why, was directly related to Martin Luther, and  his work at Eisenach. Who will be the next great catalyst for change? What words will they speak? Will it be you? Maybe you’ll find inspiration in Martin Luther’s old muse city.

What can you do today while visiting this historically significant town?

Besides retracing the footsteps of Martin Luther, you might be thrilled to know that Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach. There is a museum dedicated to him as well, called the Bachhaus.

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Of course there are scenic activities in nature in Eisenach as well. Click on the image of Drachenschlucht  for scenic tours.

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“The castle is also a musical and preaching venue, with operatic performances, chamber music, blues, jazz, Christmas music, and religious services in the Festival Hall or Castle Chapel during the course of the year. There’s even a Weihnachtsmarkt on the weekends before Christmas.”[5]

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[1] “Martin Luther as Priest, Heretic, and Outlaw: The Reformation at 500 (European Reading Room, Library of Congress),” accessed April 6, 2023,

[2] “Martin Luther as Priest, Heretic, and Outlaw: The Reformation at 500 (European Reading Room, Library of Congress).”

[3] “Eisenach Travel & Tourist Information | Germany for Visitors,” accessed April 6, 2023,

[4] “Wartburg Castle | Germany for Visitors,” accessed April 7, 2023,

[5] “Eisenach Travel & Tourist Information | Germany for Visitors.”

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