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Wartburg Castle

Listed under Castles & Palaces in Thuringia, Germany.

Photo of Wartburg Castle
Photo by flickr user Robert Scarth
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On seeing this bare hill the Count of Schauenburg, Ludwig der Springer, is said to have exclaimed, ‘Warte, Berg -- du sollst mir eine Burg werden!" or "Wait, mountain -- thou shalt become a castle for me!" in 1067. The castle was to be called Wartburg Castle, and later it would become an important building in German history.

Through restored and added to since its first incarnation, Wartburg Castle is a picturebook of German architecture. The oldest part is the late 12th century Palas, one of Europe’s few remaining Romanesque palaces. This section also contains the Sangersaal (Hall of Minstrels - Wagner’s setting for Act II of the Tannhauser). Several Romantic-style additions were made in the 19th century, while the 1950s saw the East German government restore the Castle’s most famous rooms to their original state.

One of the most famous is the Luther room. This is where, after his excommunication from Pope Leo X, for refusing to recant at the Diet of Worms, Martin Luther stayed and tranlated the New testament into German. It is also the meeting place of the 1817 meeting of the Burschenschaft, students who protested at the division of Germany into principalities, making it an important site in the history of German unification.

Wartburg Castle is now a pilgrimage site for people from within and outside of Germany due to its significance in German history and in the development of Christianity. There is a museum that houses mainly Reformation artifacts and in 1999 it was made a UNESCO world heritage site for its association with Luther and for its role as a ‘powerful symbol of German integration and unity’.

Written by  John Johnston.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle blends superbly into its forest surroundings and is in many ways 'the ideal castle'. Although it has retained some original sections from the feudal period, the form it acquired during the 19th-century reconstitution gives a good idea of what this fortress might have been at the height of its military and seigneurial power. It was during his exile at Wartburg Castle that Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German.

Copyright © UNESCO/World Heritage Centre. All rights reserved.

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