Wittenberg & Leipzig

September 20

See pictures below the day's summary

Had a good buffet breakfast this morning - ham & eggs, cheese, sausage link, and yogurt. I love the yogurt in Europe!   

Okay, before breakfast though, when I slept last night, I slept great! But I kept waking up every 1.5 to 2 hours. Probably went to bed about 10:15 or 10:30 - we were so tired from the flight! Fell right asleep, but then woke up at 12:30. It felt like I had been asleep for quite a while so I was surprised how early it was! Got up and went to the bathroom, then right back to sleep. About 2:00 or 2:30, I woke up again and Dad was fumbling around. I thought I had been asleep for several more hours and it was time to get up. Turns out he had woke up because it was SO hot and was trying to get the air conditioner to work. It was really hot and was probably what woke me up too. Anyway, we never did get the air conditioning to start blowing, so ended up opening a window instead. Kinda bad though because of the light & noise. I went back to sleep but I think Dad got up around 4:00 because he just couldn't sleep. Of course, he checked his e-mail and went for a walk.   

So we had breakfast at 8am and we loaded up the bus at 9am for our trip to Wittenberg. I think it was about an hour and a half drive. It's very green here - and lots of corn fields! Huge ones.

We got to Wittenberg about 10:30am and had a guided tour with a gal named Bettina. She was excellent! Really knew her stuff.

We started at The Castle Church - where Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door. The old wooden door is no longer there. I think it burned down in 1490, but I could be remembering wrong. The new door is a Memorial - it is bronze cast and made in Berlin about 150 years ago. It has the 95 Theses written on them, in Latin, I think.

Luther's grave is inside The Castle Church - right underneath the raised pulpit. Perfect place, we thought.

We saw Lucas Cranach's square - he was darn near the richest man in Wittenberg, and a friend of Luther's. I don't remember all the businesses he owned, but there were at least a dozen! His main profession (I think) was as an artist - he's the one who painted the famous pictures of Luther. Our guide said that the fact that we know what Luther looked like was thanks to Cranach.

We also saw Wittenberg University - the university isn't there anymore, but they will hold sessions and conference there still. Luther and Phillip Melanchthon both taught there. Melanchthon was a "language guy" and helped Luther translate the Bible.

Then we walked to St. Mary's Church. It is a Protestant church, even though it's named after a saint. Our guide said that's very common in Germany because before the Reformation, everything was Catholic. They must not have wanted to change names.      Anyway, St. Mary's is also called The Town Church.

It has some artwork (by Cranach and his son) above the altar that is apparently quite famous. I hadn't heard of it before, but it was interesting. It was scenes of biblical people, with Martin Luther in them. Like all the disciples sitting around a table and Luther was with them. Or Luther preaching from a pulpit to a congregation of people and Jesus on the cross is between them. Interesting, and deep, if you had the time to really study them. We couldn't get too close.

Luther & Katie were married at St. Mary's and their kids were baptized in the baptismal font that is still there. Cranach's kids were also baptized there.

We also went to the Luther House - a museum dedicated to all things "Luther". The stove in the dining room, the table, and some benches there too, were all original. The stove had been re-tiled, but was the original stove. They had books by Luther, drawings and paintings of Luther, lots of stuff. We didn't have much time there, but at least we got to see it.

We got back to the bus about 3pm and headed to downtown Leipzig to visit St. Thomas Church. This is where Bach as the choir director (and maybe the organist too??) His gave is up near the altar. Both St. Mary's and St Thomas had beautiful pipe organs. I bet they sounded beautiful too, although we didn't get to hear them.

In all the churches today, I tried to get Dad to stand in one of the raised pulpits - but they were always roped off! Bummer! But, I'm sure we'll be seeing a few more churches, so hopefully one of them will be free.   

Speaking of free - in the Castle Church, you had to pay 1€ for the privilege of taking pictures. So, we paid 1€ and then had Dad take the pictures.   


Early morning bus ride On our way to Wittenberg A church we saw on the way
Arriving in Wittenberg - it's a cute little town These are the doors of the Castle Church where Luther nailed the 95 Theses. The original wooden doors have been replaced by these bronze doors. Bruce & Angie in front of the 95 Theses doors
A closer view of the 95 Theses doors And an even closer view The carving at the top of the 95 Theses doors
Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon (and Jesus, of course!!) on the top of the 95 Theses doors Looking down the street in Wittenberg The towers of the Castle Church - the words of A Mighty Fortress are carved around the tower on the right
The town square in Wittenberg. The towers are the City Church.   Inside the City Church in Wittenberg. I think the church might also be called St. Mary's (but yes, it's a Lutheran church, not Catholic)
Altar piece painted by Lucas Cranach, inside the City Church The bottom portion of the altar piece Baptismal font in the City Church
The pipe organ at the City Church in Wittenberg The pulpit (or lectern??) was on display somewhere else (we'll see it later), but they put up this sign to let us know where it belonged The pulpit at the City Church
Crucifix at the City Church The back side of the Altar piece by Lucas Cranach The City Church in Wittenberg
Angie in downtown Wittenberg A sign at the entrance of Wittenberg University. Martin Luther taught here.  
Sign announcing Philip Melanchthon's house Our guide, Bettina - she was great! Really knew her stuff. Philip Melanchthon's house in Wittenberg
Martin Luther's house in Wittenberg A statue of Martin Luther's wife, Katie, in the courtyard of Martin Luther's house I think this was a painting by the students of Lucas Cranach - it shows the 10 commandments
Martin Luther's Bible Imagine carrying that around to class with you! Hymnal with A Mighty Fortress, one of Luther's most famous songs
Portrait of Martin Luther, by Lucas Cranach The table in Martin Luther's house The stove at Martin Luther's house
I don't remember the function of this piece, but it was inside Luther's house in Wittenberg A unique door at one of the entrances to Luther's house - notice the "seats" on each side of the door This is a picture on the "cap" of the seat on the left side of the door - I think it's a picture of Luther
This is a picture on the "cap" of the seat on the right side of the door - the Luther Rose Dad & I resting at the door to Luther's house "Sign" announcing that this is Martin Luther's house
Close-up of the Martin Luther's house sign Bruce & Angie in front of the Castle Church Inside the Castle Church
Paintings of Luther and Melanchthon in the Castle Church   The pulpit in the Castle Church - it's beautiful
Philip Melanchthon's tomb. The inscription translates to: "Here rests the body of the most commendable Philipp Melanchthon, who died on 19 April 1560, in this town after he had lived for 63 years 2 months and 2 days." Martin Luther's tomb is under the pulpit in the Castle Church. The inscription translates to: "Here lies the body of Martin Luther, Doctor of Divinity, who died at Eisleben, his birthplace, on the 12th of the Calends of March, in the year 1546, when he had lived 63 years, 3 months, and 10 days." The baptismal font at the Castle Church
The altar at the Castle Church The altar and stained glass at the Castle Church St. Thomas Church in Leipzig - Bach was the choir director here (and I'm guessing he played the organ too!)
St. Thomas Church in Leipzig - This is a Lutheran Church Statue of Bach at St. Thomas Church Bruce & Angie with Johann
A sign describing St. Thomas Church and the renovations inside Stained glass inside St. Thomas Church - I think that's Luther in the middle Another stained glass
Looking towards the organ in the back of St. Thomas Church The altar at St. Thomas The pulpit
Johann Sebastian Bach's grave - it's in the front of the church, near the baptismal font (which you can see in the background) Crucifix at St. Thomas Another crucifix
The ceiling of St. Thomas church in Leipzig This is another altar in St. Thomas. I think it is in honor of Bach. Communion implements in the Bach Museum at St. Thomas
Music by JS Bach Another view of the Bach altar Violins at the Bach museum in St. Thomas - I'm not sure if they are from his time, or if they are replicas
Dad next to the statue of Felix Mendelssohn - also at St. Thomas church in Leipzig A nice shot of the front of St. Thomas church Our hotel in Leipzig