The Lutherhaus is a writer's house museum in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Originally built 1504 as part of the University of Wittenberg, the building was the home of Martin Luther for most of his adult life and a significant location in the history of the Protestant Reformation. Luther was living here when he wrote his 95 Theses.
The Augusteum is an expansion to the original building that was constructed after Luther's death to house a Protestant seminary and library which still exist today. Since 1996, both buildings have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
When the University was opened in 1503, the monks of the Order of Saint Augustine were given land previously belonging to the Heiligegeisthospital (Hospital of the Holy Spirit) located near the Elster Gate. There, they began building a cloister, known as the Black Monastery because of the color of the monks' habits, which was to be a residence hall and academy for the Augustinians studying in Wittenberg. In 1507, after his ordination as a priest, Martin Luther was sent by Johann von Staupitz to continue his study, and he took up residence in a cell in the southwest corner of the new monastery. By 1512, he had graduated as a Doctor of Theology and was part of the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg, having the official position of Doctor of Bible. He began developing and preaching the basic tenets of the Protestant Reformation and published his 95 Theses while teaching here.
Luther lived with the Augustinians in the Black Monastery until 1521, when he was forced to hide at Wartburg Castle due to political tensions surrounding the Protestant Reformation. As the Peasants' War gained strength, parts of the Wittenberg University, including the monastery, were abandoned. In 1524, after Luther had returned to Wittenberg, the Electorate of Saxony gave the empty residence halls of the Black Monastery to the Luther family, where he lived until his death in 1546. It was here that, beginning in 1531, Martin Luther held his influential Table Talks with his students. Luther taught and wrote throughout his time there, including many revisions of his translation of the Bible. He also expanded and added to the Lutherhaus, most notably building the Katharinenportal, a carved entryway that was a birthday present to his wife.
After Luther's death in Eisleben, the Lutherhaus was sold back to the university in 1564 by his heirs. Within a year, major remodeling was begun to turn the Lutherhaus into a boarding school. The imposing exterior spiral staircase was added, the refectory was given a new vaulted ceiling, and the great hall, which had been Luther's lecture hall, was redecorated and modernized. The Lutherstube, Martin Luther's living room, was left as it was, although it was frequently used to host important guests.
In 1760, Wittenberg was attacked by Austria during the Seven Years' War, and many important buildings were severely damaged. Although the Lutherhaus survived with only minimal damage, it was the beginning of a period of decay. Between 1761 and 1813, it was used as a military hospital, particularly due to the Napoleonic Wars. Afterwards, it was given to the Royal Seminary, as the Wittenberg University was dissolved to become part of the University of Halle-Wittenberg. However, the crown was not able to use the building, and it became a free school for the poor and continued to deteriorate. Finally, the dreadful state of the building became too much to ignore, and Friedrich August Stüler was hired to restore and rebuild the Lutherhaus between the years of 1853 and 1856.
The Lutherhaus is currently the world's largest museum relating to the Reformation. It contains many original objects from Luther's life, including his pulpit from the Stadtkirche, his monk's habit, several paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, and numerous bibles, pamphlets, and manuscripts.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.