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:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.