UNESCO World Heritage Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle – History Galore

Wartburg Castle was built around 1067 and is "an outstanding monument of the feudal period in central Europe". It is "rich in cultural associations, most notably its role as the place of exile of Martin Luther, who composed his German translation of the New Testament there. It is also a powerful symbol of German integration and unity." These are the criterions of its outstanding universal value as stated by the World Heritage Commission. The Wartburg Castle you see today acquired most of its form during the 19th century reconstitution whilst retaining some original sections. Wartburg Castle is connected with German history and culture more than almost any other castle.

Sängerkrieg (Minstrels' Contest)
Wartburg Castle had its cultural heyday around 1200, during the regency of the art-interested Landgrave Hermann I. He made the castle a magnet for poets and minstrels like Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Minstrels' Contest on Wartburg Castle made famous in Richard Wagner's opera "Tannhäuser", however, has never taken place; the "Sängerkrieg" is a collection of song poems about an alleged minstrel's contest from the 13th century.

Saint Elisabeth
From about 1211 to 1227, the Hungarian princess and later canonised Elisabeth of Thuringia spent more than two thirds of her life on Wartburg Caste as the bride and wife of Landgrave Louis IV.

Martin Luther
In 1521/22, the reformer was in hiding on the castle for ten months under the name of "Junker Jörg" (Knight George). During this time, he translated the New Testament from Greek into German in only eleven weeks.

Burschenschaften (Fraternities)
In 1817, the first Wartburgfest (Wartburg Festival) of the German Burschenschaften took place at the castle on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of his Ninety-five Theses (31 October 1517) and in memory of the Völkerschlacht (Battle of Leipzig), which took place in October 1813. The second Wartburgfest was held in the revolution year of 1848. Ever since then, Wartburg Castle is seen as a national monument, in the second half of the 20th century also because of its proximity to the inner-German border.

For more information go to the website of Wartburg Castle.



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