[ Martin Luther : Teacher of the Reformation era ]
My day trip with Andreas was already quite a full experience. I toured the incredible city of Weimar and witnessed some timeless buildings which housed some of the greatest minds in German art and literature. We ate some regional specialties in the city including Thüringen bratwurst and knödel. After this very unique experience in the middle of Germany, I also was introduced to another angle of German history, preserved now as a testament only to peace for mankind in the future.
On the drive back home - hovering in between discussing the events of the day, and having the thoughts of the KZ on the back of our minds, I couldn't help but notice a castle on the top of a large hill in the distance. And so it goes, we had an unplanned detour to explore.
Turns out, this castle was more important than I could have even anticipated. In fact, by name I knew what this castle was - I just never new what it looked like or where it was - but it was definitely part of my history books. Wartburg Castle, prominently located at the crest of the highest point of Eisenach, was the location where Martin Luther, the leader of the reformation movement in Germany, translated the Bible from Latin into German [ The first translation of the Bible into a modern language in over a millennium ].
Luther's integral role in German history, leading a movement from peasants to not pay "indulgences" to the Catholic Church to redeem their sins from God, prospered into a great shift in European culture and following of Protestantism. His efforts to translate the Bible into the vernacular of the region, German, made great progress in the language, and was even an influence on the King James Bible to be written in English.
Wartburg Castle was an incredible sight. Less of a castle and more of a micro-village atop this hill overlooking the city, it had an aura about it of being holy - and to think that this feeling transcends 500 years later. The Castle was complete with a church, living quarters, even a large bath. Seeing this building was unreal, and like many things in Europe to an American perspective, seemed more cartoon at first than several hundreds year old preserved history - It has a drawbridge...! - we just don't see this on a daily basis.
The history in one day was obviously a lot to take in. History in Germany spanning 500 years; three radically different era's of Germany's proudest and darkest moments. It was an excellent trip with Andreas, cruising around on the Autobahn to the center of Germany, taking detours, and then trudging up to the peak of Wartburg Castle. It was all worth it - and to make the evening complete, we were home in time to catch the Bayern-München soccer match before heading off for much needed sleep.