For 300 days, Martin Luther hid out in the mountaintop
fortress of Wartburg while translating the Bible into German. You
can visit the rooms where he worked and slept.
ABOVE: A view of Wartburg Castle in Eisenach,
Wartburg is everything that a German castle should be:
It's old. Wartburg Castle
was founded in 1067, and its central structure dates back to the 12th
Century. By comparison, Neuschwanstein in Bavaria--which was inspired, in
part, by the Wartburg--is a modern fairy-tale confection from the late
It's imposing. Wartburg
Castle looks like a fortress, even though it was never used for military
It's perched on a mountaintop.
Or at least a hilltop: The castle is 410 meters or 1,230 feet above sea
level, which is 220 meters or 722 feet higher than the town which it
It's historic. Martin
Luther hid out in Wartburg Castle for 300 days in 1521-1522 after being
declared an outlaw and a heretic at the Diet of Worms, and he translated the
Bible into German during his stay. Another famous German, the poet Johann
Wolfgang von Goethe, spent five weeks at the Wartburg in 1777.
It's romantic. Parts of
the castle were transformed into a fantasy of mosaics, frescoes, and other
expressions of German Romanticism from 1838 to 1890, and Wagner set
"Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg"--in the castle and
It's on UNESCO's World Cultural
Heritage List. The castle received its blessing from UNESCO in
In light of these characteristics, it shouldn't be surprising
that Wartburg Castle draws many thousands of tourists and Protestant pilgrims
annually. It's 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.
A trip to Eisenach simply isn't complete without a visit to the
Wartburg. Fortunately, the castle is easy to reach from town (whether by public
transportation or car), and it's open to visitors year-round.
For practical advice, including tips on reaching Wartburg Castle
by car or public bus, read the
Wartburg Castle visitor information on page 2. Also see the captioned
pictures in our Wartburg Castle photo
Photo: Wartburg Stiftung Eisenach.
"Best of the Web"
- Forbes and The Washington Post
Need a car in Europe?
If you live outside the EU,
a tax-free Renault or Peugeot tourist car lease
can be cheaper than renting
for visits of 21+ days. Minimum driver
age is 18, there' s no upper age limit, and rates include insurance.
For car rentals under 21 days:
Traveling by train?
Get free schedules, maps, and guides for 50+ European railroads.
(Residents of North and Central America can buy tickets and rail passes
From Durant and Cheryl Imboden:
About Europe for Visitors