Eisleben & Erfurt

September 21

See pictures below the day's summary

This morning we checked out of our hotel in Leipzig and headed to the town of Eisleben. This is where Luther was born and died - and preached his last 4 sermons at St. Andrew's.

We met our local tour guide, Dorothy, at Luther's birth house. Had a 2 hour guided tour with her. She wasn't near as "confident" with her tour as the Wittenberg gal, but I think English was more difficult for her. She spoke good English, just had to think of words a lot. Anyway, it was a good tour.

In Luther's birth house, we saw some neat paintings of Eisleben that showed what it looked like before the fire (in 1604??). One was a funeral scene, but nothing about death in it. A child had died and was seen dressed in white kneeling with its family in the foreground of the painting. In the near background were biblical scenes - the only one I remember was Lazarus being raised from the dead. Then in the far background was the town of Eisleben, so they knew what it looked like back in Luther's time.

We also saw an original German Bible from when it was first translated into German. It was hand-written in Martin Luther's handwriting. And a few other people's too - I imagine Melanchthon was one of them.   

Then we went to St. Andrew's Church. This is where Luther preached his last 4 sermons. Apparently he couldn't even finish his last one because he was so sick and needed help getting out of the pulpit. The guide said he had problems with his heart, stomach, and quite a few other things - he was quite a sick man. He died the day after his last sermon.

Okay, so speaking of preaching a sermon at St. Andrew's, when the guide got done with her presentation, she said that St. Andrew's would let pastors go up and stand in the pulpit! I was so excited. So was everyone else. Dad went up there (he said it was roped off also) and everyone was taking pictures of him. Kinda neat - getting to stand in the actual pulpit that Martin Luther preached from! He said later that it was kind of embarrassing, but neat too.      The pulpit is still the one from Luther's time. The "canopy" over the pulpit was newer, but the pulpit was the original. Awesome.

Then we walked up to St. Anne's church. Our guided tour was over, so we were on our own. Well, with people from our tour, but Dorothy was no longer with us. St. Anne's was built for the miners. Eisleben had a big copper and salt mining industry. The church was up on a big hill. St Anne was the patron saint of miners, so the church was named after her. There are very few words inside - everything was done in pictures because the miners couldn't read. Around the altar, pictures of Bible scenes were carved out of stone. The pulpit also had pictures of Jesus' life, from Gabriel's announcement to Mary through his resurrection. Kind of neat. Another beautiful pipe organ too - all the churches have had big ones!

As we left St. Anne's we took some pictures of Eisleben - looking down on St. Andrew's and St. Peter & Paul's (more on that one soon). St. Anne's was definitely in a poorer part of town - lots of closed buildings that were abandoned.

Oh, in St. Anne's there was a lady named Anne (weird, huh?  ) who helped explain some of the things in the church. She was very conscientious about her English and we kept assuring her that "her English was better than our German"! She thought that was funny, and very nice of us.   

Okay, so after St. Anne's we stopped at a bakery for lunch. Dorothy had recommended it. I had a turkey sandwich. Dad had an egg-salad sandwich and a streusel roll. We ate with George & Sharman.

After lunch, the four of us walked down to St. Peter & Paul's church. This is where Luther was baptized the day after he was born. It took us a while to find the entrance - we ended up walking almost around the entire church before we found the door. If only we had turned right instead of left!      As we were walking around the church, we were joking that maybe this was why church attendance was down so low - because no one could find the door!

Dorothy and Anne both mentioned about the church attendance. St. Anne's has a membership just over 200 people. And Eisleben has only about 1200 Lutherans. And about 600 (or maybe it was 800?) Catholics. So let's just say 2000 all together that go to church. And that's in a town of 20,000. I think that number is probably reflected over most of Europe. Kind of sad.

Okay, so back to St. Peter & Paul's church. There was a big baptismal font, but I don't think it was the one from Luther's time. And another beautiful pipe organ. The ceiling had a big Luther Rose that was neat. And speaking of ceilings - St. Anne's had a big painting on the ceiling, but I didn't get a chance to look at it or take any pictures. Dad did though - he said it was of the Apostles.

Back to the bus at 3pm and off to Erfurt. We are staying at the Radisson. Dad & I and Sharon went for a walk before dinner. We ended up hooking up with George too. We found a shopping area and Dad got an ice cream cone. He said he'd been craving one since he got here and wanted it.      Then we stopped at a chocolate store and all got some candy.

Dinner was another buffet. Good though. We ate with Jim & Jenny and Mary Jo. Fun dinner. Then back up to the quite small room, getting our clothes out for tomorrow, shower stuff ready, and these books written in.

Tomorrow we leave at 8:50 for Eisenach, Wartburg Castle, Coburg Fortress, and overnight in Wurzburg. I think it's gonna be a long day!

One more thing about the hotel - the bathroom was interesting. There was a single door used for both the toilet room and the shower room! If it was opened to the right, it was the shower door. If it was opened to the left, it was the bathroom door. Very efficient use of space.   


We're on our way to Eisleben today Heading in to Eisleben This is the house where Luther died. Notice the doorway is modeled after his house in Wittenberg.
The entrance to Luther's Birth House in Eisleben Sign for Martin Luther's Birth House A German butterfly   
A Luther book (but I don't remember the exact significance) Martin Luther statue in the Town Square of Eisleben St. Andreas Church in Eisleben - This is where Luther preached his last 4 sermons
The pipe organ at St. Andreas Church The pulpit at St. Andreas Church. This is the actual pulpit where Luther preached his last 4 sermons! Dad standing in the same pulpit that Luther preached from in 1546, just days before he died
Another picture of Dad in Luther's pulpit. I'm SO glad he got to go up in it! Altar at St. Andreas in Eisleben Closer view of the altar
Close-up of the altar cross Busts of Luther and Melanchthon Crucifix at St. Andreas Church
View of Eisleben from St. Anne's Church, up on a hill The ceiling of St. Anne's View of St. Anne's from the choir loft
The pulpit at St. Anne's St. Anne's was a church for the miners in Erfurt (Luther's dad was a miner). Most of the miners were illiterate, so the church was done in lots of pictures to show scenes from the Bible. This is one of them. St. Anne's altar piece
More of the pictures at St. Anne's. These pictures surrounded the altar. More of the pictures near the altar  
Baptismal Font at St. Anne's View of the pulpit of St. Anne's. This picture was taken from the altar, so we're seeing the back side of the pulpit. Close-up of the pulpit pictures. This one shows the announcement and birth of Jesus.
More pulpit pictures - the crucifixion. Notice how they tie the Old & New Testament together with the snake from Moses and Jonoh & the whale. The pipe organ at St. Anne's Altar, baptismal font, and pulpit at St. Anne's. You can see all the white picture carvings around the altar.
Martin Luther statue in the Eisleben town square. The tower in the background is St. Andreas Church. Bruce & Angie with Martin Luther  
Near Luther's Birth House, these Luther Rose markers were laid in the sidewalk every 6 feet (2 meters) or so. I think this sign announces that Luther was baptized here at St. Peter & St. Paul Church Entrance to St. Peter & St. Paul Church. This is where Luther was baptized the day after he was born. I think he also baptized his children here, if I remember right.
The organ at St. Peter & St. Paul The altar and baptismal font at St. Peter & St. Paul Close-up of the altar
Another view of the altar at St. Peter & St. Paul church Crucifix at St. Peter & St. Paul Baptismal font at St. Peter & St. Paul. This is not the one Luther was baptized in. You'll see that a little further down.
Ceiling of St. Peter & St. Paul Lutheran Church/b> Close-up of the Luther Rose in the ceiling This is another altar in St. Peter & St. Paul church - it is in choir area, near Luther's baptismal font
This is the font where Luther was baptized An area near one of the altars in St. Peter & St. Paul church View to the front of St. Peter & St. Paul church in Eisleben
Our bus at the hotel in Erfurt Statue of Martin Luther in front of a church in Erfurt. I think the church is called Kaufmannskirche (Merchant's Church). We didn't go inside it, so I don't know for sure. Bruce & Angie in front of the Luther statue in Erfurt
Inscription under the Martin Luther statue in Erfurt Canal in Erfurt. The buildings over the canal are shops. View from our hotel room in Erfurt