Augusteum and Lutherhaus Wittenberg

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The Luther House in Wittenberg
Luther picture at the Luther House

The Augusteum was built as an extension of the University of Wittenberg Leucorea . The representative building facade housed the evangelical seminary until 2012. The entrance portal of the Augusteum leads to the inner courtyard, where the university's botanical garden used to be, and sees the former home of Martin Luther . Today the building houses the Reformation History Museum and its extensive collections of pictures, writings and exhibits from the Reformation period . Since 1996, the Luther House, which until then was officially called Luther Hall, part of the Reformation sites of Wittenberg World Heritage of UNESCO .

Luther House

In 1503 the Augustinian monks who had arrived at the university in Wittenberg for the first semester were assigned the property of the Heiliggeisthospital at Elstertor and in 1504 they began building the Augustinian monastery . This so-called black monastery was intended as a place of education and sleeping quarters for the Saxon Augustinian monks for religious studies established in connection with the university . After his ordination in the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt , Martin Luther was assigned to the newly founded Wittenberg convent by the order general Johann von Staupitz in 1507 and lived in the Augustinian monastery. He received his doctorate from the university and took over the professorship for Bible Explanation in 1512. In the following years, which brought about the breakthrough of his new theology, he lived in a cell in the southwest of the convent house, which was demolished in the 18th century. After the breakthrough of the Reformation , the elector left the orphaned monastery to Martin Luther and his family in 1524, who lived there until Luther's death.

In 1564, Luther's heirs sold the building to the university, which set up an alumni for scholarship holders in the building. Construction work began in 1565, particularly on the new Wendelstein in front of the house's courtyard front. The old refectory on the ground floor, the Communis cafeteria, was newly vaulted and the large hall on the first floor was renewed, as was done again in 1697. It served as the Auditorium Theologicum for lectures and disputations and enjoyed special respect as Luther's lecture hall. For the large university celebrations that regularly begin in the Lutherstube, guests of honor as well as doctors , licentiates and adjuncts who did not belong to the actual teaching body gathered in the hall .

In the early 18th century the apartment of the minister publicus natu major was on the ground floor next to the Konvikt and the dining room of the cafeteria under the Luther room. In addition to the large lecture hall, there were other living rooms for the Minister publicus on the first floor and eleven boys' rooms on the top floor. The Luther room remained uninhabited. During the siege of 1760, the house got away with minor damage. From 1761 to 1813 it served as a military hospital after a poor repair. After the dissolution of the Wittenberg University in 1815, the newly founded Royal Preachers' Seminar in the Augusteum received the vacant house. Since it could not use this, however, the Luther school was set up here in 1834 as a free school for the poor. The sad state of the building caused offense in 1842, so that reconstruction took place from 1853 to 1856 under the direction of Friedrich August Stüler . On the initiative of Wittenberg's mayor Schild, a Reformation history museum was set up in the Lutherhaus from 1877–1883. Since then, ongoing repair work has taken place. In 2004 an old vault was discovered and uncovered during excavation work. This is now to be integrated into the museum tour of the memorial.



The expansion of the university under Elector August , after the conversion of the Lutherhaus acquired in 1564 into a college, resulted in an extension. The almost undeveloped area on Collegienstraße was ideal for this. In 1579 the electoral builder Hans Irmisch was commissioned with the extension, which was built under his direction from 1580 to 1582. However, renewed expansion work had to take place in 1597, as a bay window had already collapsed and the inner ones were too high so that they could not be heated properly in winter.

In 1598 the university library was moved from the castle to the new Augusteum building and set up in the eastern half of the ground floor. The university library, which has since been referred to as the lower library, already owned 1,300 books in 1678, which by the middle of the 18th century comprised around 16,000 volumes. In the western part, next to the former printing works and later apartment of the lictor Academicus, the anatomical theater has been located since 1686, above the door outside the inscription made by Johann Thiele: “Qui vivi noscere mali, post funera prosunt, / Et petit ex ipsa commoda morte salus. / Theatr. Anat. Extruct. a. 1686. / J (oanne). T (hiele). M (edicinae). D (octore). A (nat.). e (t). Offered.). P (rofessors). P (ublico). ”In the neighboring rooms there has been the“ anatomicum ”museum since 1736 with the important Ruisch specimen collection, which King August III in 1733. had given to the university.

The Fürstensaal is on the first floor; here were the picture galleries of the Saxon electors and patrons of the university. Furthermore, this room contains the tables of the genealogical registers of the kings of Denmark , Braunschweig and Brandenburg including their family tables, where the representative anniversary celebrations for the court table or the doctor's feast took place. In 1781 the Fürstensaal, which had served as a hospital during the Seven Years' War, was used as a corn floor. In 1789 the Fürstensaal had taken on the Ponickausche Library Foundation, which comprises 11,000 books and an even larger number of smaller pieces. As a result, around 1796, the library as well as the prince's hall were secured by the installation of additional columns, which were spoiled by edging in the 19th century.

There were 14 student rooms on the second floor. In the side wing of the Augusteum there were living and utility rooms on the third and fourth floors around 1725 and the holdings of the Hungarian library donated by GM Cassai on the second floor around 1756. After the University of Wittenberg was merged with the University of Halle in 1817, the preachers' seminar founded in that year moved into the orphaned Augusteum. At the same time, the university archives were transferred here from the war-damaged castle church and kept until they were handed in in 1825, 1835 and 1838. The lower library with the departments Theologica and Philosophica of the former university library that remained in Wittenberg now took up the Hungarian library from the side wing. In 1900, after the fortifications had been razed, the east wall of the street wing was given the elaborate gable according to a design by Franz Schwechten . Until moving out in 2012, the Evangelical Preachers' Seminary used the street and side wing, with part of the former university library in its original premises.

Change of ownership

Hardly noticed by the public, there was a change of ownership for the Wittenberg Castle Church from state to church in 2016/2017 : The state of Saxony-Anhalt , represented by the state government with Prime Minister Haseloff, sold the Castle Church after all renovation work was completed (cost: 8.1 million Euro) to the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) - the symbolic purchase price was 1  Euro . In return, the EKD transferred the Augusteum to the state of Saxony-Anhalt. - In the church newspaper Glaube und Heimat, the EKD put the annual maintenance costs it now has to pay for the Wittenberg Castle Church at around 500,000 euros.

Botanical Garden

Between 1615 and 1668 the inner courtyard (atrium) of the Augusteum was designed as a botanical garden. However, this became so neglected that it had to be rebuilt repeatedly in 1680 and 1688 under the medical professors Lessius and Thiele and, after repeated neglect by Johann Heinrich von Heucher, had to be rebuilt after 1706. The 1711 publish his bird's eye view of the Horti (Medici) Academie Vitembergensis shows a discount system in strict, geometric pattern, three-story shelves for potted plants and glass greenhouses at the front building of the Augusteum, to a small timber-frame building, probably as a coach house , on the eastern courtyard wall. After the university was dissolved in 1813, the courtyard was used as the garden of the seminary. In the course of construction work, the western part was later separated and laid out as a courtyard with a semicircular green area around the newly built fountain of the Altjungfernröhrwasser.

Web links

Commons : Lutherhaus Wittenberg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Lutherstadt Wittenberg UNESCO World Heritage
  2. Haseloff mentioned the intention to change ownership in autumn 2016 in a speech in the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt. This was negotiated in the committee for finance, which approved the sale (committee printed matter 7 / FIN / 24, 03.11.2016): “The committee for finance held a consultation and approved the transfer of ownership of the Wittenberg Castle Church to the Evangelical Church in Germany. “Source: PDF; 485 kB - p. 2, point 5.
  3. ( epd ): Positive assessment of the Reformation Decade. EKD, Saxony-Anhalt and the city of Wittenberg celebrate the conclusion of their framework agreement - EKD takes over the castle church. In: April 11, 2018, accessed October 4, 2018 .
  4. Katja Schmidtke: Prussia's splendor - the Wittenberg Castle Church is the ultimate memorial of the Reformation. After four years of construction, it will reopen on October 2nd with great glory. Denmark's queen is making an altar cloth, and the EKD is getting a new, third church building. In: Glaube und Heimat , print edition, September 25, 2016, p. 13 (4-column article).

Coordinates: 51 ° 51 ′ 51 ″  N , 12 ° 39 ′ 9 ″  E