Wartburg Castle, Eisenach
Almost a castle village, spread out on a high hill top overlooking Eisenach. Here's where Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Latin to German in a very short time.
I visited here in 2009 and made my Wartburg page here
First I like to mention that I didn't take a tour in/around the Wartburg Castle itself as I haven't felt attracted enough. I yet took the long HIKE UP to Wartburg Castle's, a most beautiful forested slope, I really enjoyed. To me this hike - very lonely path through fantastic woods - was the most worthy part of the visit at Wartburg Castle. Of course visitors don't need to hike up there (unless by choice) since shuttles are provided!
Wartburg Castle belonged to the landgraves of Thuringia, and once hosted the medieval Minnesinger poets, immortalized by Wagner's play of "Tannhaeuser". Wartburg Castle is most famous for sheltering Martin Luther while he translated the New Testament into German. He hid out as "Knight George" upon his return from the Diet of Worms in 1521. At Wartburg Castle he completed his translation of the Bible. During his stay there, he said he "fought the Devil with ink" and is said, he has experienced dark periods of depression.
Wartburg has two towers of which only the South Tower (erected in 1318) has been preserved from the medieval castle. It's possible to climb to its top (it costs 0.50 Euro) from where you can have beautiful views over the Thuringian landscape. Halfway to the top there's an entrance to the dungeons where prisoners were kept.
The other tower was finished in 1865. Its characteristic element is a four metre Latin cross at the top.
Approaching the castle you will see the best known postcard view of Wartburg - the long white wall with half-timbered tops, a dominating tower and the solid stone buildings. The whole structure looks so hard to access that you are bound to imagine how easily it could defend itself against the invaders. Surprisingly, the history of Wartburg is free of battles and bloodsheds. It was rather a cultural centre filled with music, poetry and literature.
The construction is like a picture handbook of architecture, being a mixture of several architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Historicism.
The only access to Wartburg leads over the drawbridge through the massive castle gate which hasn't changed its appearance for centuries.
Perched on a high hill and towering Eisenach, Wartburg is one of the oldest and most interesting castles in Germany. The castle was founded in 1067 by Duke Ludwig of Thuringia (aka Ludwik the Springer). As the legend goes the duke came upon the mount and cried: "Warte, Berg! Du sollst noch eine Burg bekommen" (Wait, mountain! You should become a castle). Soon after the castle (Burg) was ercted and called Wartburg. Today it belongs to the finest examples of Romanesque secular architecture and attracts crowds of tourists.
Visitors can go by car or a special bus which will take them from the foot of the hill to the stop a few hundred metres from the top. From here they have to walk to the castle. (Of course if you wish you can walk all way up).
Visiting the castle is possible only with a guided tour. There are English speaking guides but sometimes you have to wait until the English group gathers. In that case it is better to join the German group, but ask for the text-sheets in English.
The Wartburg castle is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Entrance fee: 8 Euro
Permission to take pictures inside: 1 Euro
Wartburg is the castle high above Eisenach, a place of german history and the place where Martin Luther was taken "into prison" or rather taken under the protection of the local hosts. You can walk freely and without any restrictions during the day around the Wartburg, step up the tower in the back of the castle, see the different courts and lovely buildings there, go to the hotel and restaurants and you can even take a look through the window into the "Ritterbad", all of that is free of charge and it will keep you busy for 1-2 hours maybe, when you are also searching for the best spots to take photographs.
The Wartburg Castle is located on a 1230-foot cliff overlooking Eisenach, a city formerly behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany. It was founded by Duke Ludwig of Thuringia in 1067 AD and is one of the best preserved Romansque castles in Germany. Wartburg Castle blends superbly into the forest of Thuringia and 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 power. It was during his exile during the Reformation at Wartburg Castle that Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German. Wartburg Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Wartburg is a large castle on a hill overlooking the city of Eisenach.
In 1521-1522 Martin Luther lived here and translated the New Testament from the original Greek text into German.
Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser takes place here in the castle, which is why the opera is performed here in concert from time to time, on location so to speak. The theaters of Eisenach and Meiningen join forces to put on these performances, which tend to be sold out well in advance.
(Although I have been to Eisenach three times now, I have still never managed to get up to the Wartburg, because I have always been here on business trips with limited free time. But it's definitely on my list for next time!)
Passionate and poetic, captured in hundreds and thousand of pictures and words - this is the Wartburg Castle, high above the Thuringia Forest, here above the town of Eisenach. This castle is the everlasting image of knights in shining armour, troubadors, and crusaders, and is the Mecca for the Protestant Church.
In the middle of the 19th century the Grand Duke of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach and the architect Hugo von Ritgen decided to raise the "most German castle of all castles" out of the ruins of rubble it lay in. Shortly after 500 German Student Cadets (Burschen) swore an oath to battle for the political unification of the Nation of Germany here, they started searching through the ruins from the middle ages for a new German identity.
40 years of restauration work - stopped intermittedly due to the lack of funds, political strife or strikes - with the unerring goal to make "the restoration of the Wartburg Castle one of the most wonderful epics in the self identification of the Nation of Germany.", with wonderous expectations that the restoration would be "sweeter than any battle victory".
The shear number of visitors that have visited this place, even during the period of the two Germanys, is probably the vindication that this dream has been realised. The visitors just aren't from Germany, but from the whole world who follow the footsteps of the father of Protestant religion, Martin Luther, and decade long guest and prisoner of the Wartburg Castle, and the pilgrims who do homage to St. Elizabeth, who also lived here. Whatever symbol a visitor expects to find here, he will not be disappointed, because the Wartburg Castle is not only a landmark to Germany, it is essentially the history of Germany in a nutshell.
If you would like to visit this castle, which is a real castle (as opposed to Neuschwanstein), it's open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs 6 € per person.