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.

History

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 museum

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.

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Details

Founded: 1504
Category: Museums in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gaius Ting (14 months ago)
This was truly eye opening visitation to me. Martin Luther was indeed a vessel used by God during that age. Staffs were super friendly and the tour guide was informative as well. A must place to visit if happen to be around nearby.
Myeongcheol Oh (15 months ago)
A very important historical place for the reformation and Luter study.
Rajaee zoughbi (15 months ago)
good experience to understand life and culture back in the middle ages
Joshua Withee (16 months ago)
The layout does a great job of telling the story of Luther’s life. Great information and TONS of amazing historical artifacts
Seokho Jeong (2 years ago)
Very historical and must visit place for all Christians and anyone who wishes to learn more about Martin Luther and the reformation. I only hope they have better offers for group tours.
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