Wartburg Castle, Germany – The birthplace of religious resistance

Eisenach is a town in western Thüringen (Thuringia). It is well known for its UNESCO World Heritage site, Wartburg Castle. This town has a surprisingly star-studded history: Martin Luther translated the Bible from Latin to German in Eisenach, Johann Sebastian Bach was born here in 1865, and hosted the famous writer/statesman Johann Wolfgang Goethe, all in Wartburg Castle.

The Castle has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 due to ‘Outstanding Monument of the Feudal Period in Central Europe’.

Today, Wartburg Castle is the second most visited attraction in Thüringen (after Weimar) and it is easy to see why. In addition to its links to the foundation of the Lutheranism movement, the castle was also an inspiration for the famous Neuschwanstein Castle (which the Disney Castle is based on) in Bavaria. Warburg Castle sits on top of a hill that is part of the Thuringian Forest (Thüringer Wald).

The first iteration of the castle was built at the end of the 11th Century. Over the years it has changed, leading to a mix of architectural styles as well as conversions from one style to another. The oldest parts of the castle, the Palas and the Südturm (South Tower) are in the Romanesque style. The Castle is still only accessible by a drawbridge and a barbican, both of which have remained relatively unchanged since the Middle Ages. Other additions came over the intervening centuries (especially the half-timbered buildings in the 14th/15th centuries) until the 1860s. The Neue Kemenate (New Bower) was the final addition to show off artwork.

Visiting

Eisenach is well connected to public transport. You can get there by coach, train, or car. The castle has parking if you decide to go by car and there is a bus stop for local buses. If you are travelling long distance to get to Eisenach, Wartburg Castle is slightly outside of the city. You will still need to get the local bus or walk, which can be somewhat far.

Wartburg Castle is open everyday from 0930 to 1630, although you can visit the grounds until 1800. It costs €12 for an adult to get in to the buildings, which includes the Palas, museum and Luther room.

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