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The Wartburg in Eisenach

The Wartburg in Eisenach

Creation time : 1067
Conservation status: World Heritage Site since 1999
Standing position : Nobles, counts
Place: Eisenach
Geographical location: 50 ° 57 '58 "  N , 10 ° 18' 23.1"  E Coordinates: 50 ° 57 '58 "  N , 10 ° 18' 23.1"  E
Height: 411  m above sea level NHN
Wartburg (Thuringia)

The Wartburg is a castle in Thuringia , above the city of Eisenach at the north-western end of the Thuringian Forest 411  m above sea level. NHN located. It was founded by Ludwig the Springer around 1067 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 .

The name means waiting , so guard, guard castle . The district of Eisenach called Wartha , however, has no relation to the Wartburg.

Today's Wartburg was largely rebuilt in the 19th century using less preserved parts. The current appearance of the Wartburg and its landscape park goes back to the Grand Duke Carl Alexander von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach .


Significance in German history

The Wartburg is connected to the history of Germany like hardly any other castle in Germany . From 1211 to 1227 Elisabeth of Thuringia , who was later canonized, lived in the castle. In 1521/22 the reformer Martin Luther hid here as “Junker Jörg” and during this time he translated the New Testament of the Bible (“ September Testament ”) into German in just eleven weeks. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stayed here several times, the first time in 1777. On October 18, 1817 Jena was hosted Urburschenschaft of his theses of Martin Luther on the occasion of the 300th anniversary (31 October 1517) and in memory of the Battle of Leipzig (16th until October 19, 1813) the first Wartburg Festival took place at the castle . The second Wartburg Festival was held in the revolutionary year of 1848 . So it is not surprising that the castle was already a national monument in the 19th century.

Grave slab (by Ludwig the Springer) (2008)
Distant view of the Wartburg from the east
Double capital
Panorama of the east side
The Singers' War ( Moritz von Schwind fresco on the Wartburg 1854)
Wartburg Palace
The Wartburg - Palas (right)
Gatehouse and battlements
Wartburg around 1900
Wartburg, monk and nun (sketched by Goethe in 1807)
Student procession to the Wartburg Festival 1817 (artist unknown)
Illustration from Die Gartenlaube 1873
Wartburg, 1954
A "gray veil", clearly recognizable in the lower half of the picture, has been covering the colorful frescoes since the 1920s
First castle courtyard around 1900 ...
... and 2010
In the ballroom
Plan: (1) driveway, (2) ski jump, (3) drawbridge, (4) gatehouse, (5) knight's house, (6) bailiwick and first castle courtyard, (7) Margarethengang, (8) Dirnitz, (9) (inner ) Gatehouse, (10) New Kemenate, (11) Staircase, (12) Keep, (13) Palas, (14) Knight's Bath, (15) Gadem, (16) Second Castle Courtyard with Cistern, (17) South Tower, (18) southern defensive wall, (19) kitchen garden, (20) commanders garden, (21) Elisabethengang, (22) hotel on the Wartburg
Building in the first courtyard
The keep
Luther Room (2008)
Cistern in the courtyard (2008)


The Wartburg is the most famous castle of the noble Ludowinger family . Their ancestor Ludwig the Bearded († 1080), the father of Ludwig the Springer, came from the family of the Counts of Rieneck from Lower Franconia , who provided the burgraves of the Archbishop of Mainz . With his support he founded a small clearing lordship in the Eisenach area and built the (now dilapidated) Schauenburg near Friedrichroda .

Ludwig the Springer († 1123) moved the headquarters of his house to the Wartburg. The dominant position of the castle hill and the name suggest that there was a fortification or an observation point on the mountain before the feudal castle was founded. The founding legend mentions the oath swords of the Wartburg . According to this legend, Ludwig the Springer was said to be with the words “Wait! Berg, you should become a castle for me! ”Announced the founding of the Wartburg. The plan threatened to fail because the mountain did not belong to him. He could not have conquered it with his only twelve knights. So he came up with the idea of ​​bringing earth from his own territory and spreading it on the mountain. The knights testified for him in court, rammed their swords into the ground and swore that these swords were completely stuck in Ludwig's earth. The trick was successful and the construction of the Wartburg could begin, according to the legend.

No remains of the oldest castle have yet been found. The castle was first mentioned in a document in 1080 on the occasion of an attack by the castle crew on a royal army division of Henry IV .

Later, Ludwig the Springer, who was involved in an uprising against Emperor Heinrich V , had to surrender the Wartburg to the Emperor in order to regain his freedom. This documents the importance of the castle complex at this early stage.

As partisans of the Archbishop of Mainz , the Ludowingers quickly gained power and importance. In 1131 the son of Ludwig the Springer, Ludwig I , was taken over by King Lothar III. raised to the status of landgrave and thus placed on an equal footing with the dukes. The rapprochement with the German imperial family of the Staufers led to the departure from the Archbishop of Mainz. In the period that followed, the landgraves in Thuringia expanded at the expense of the archbishops. Only minimal structural remains of the castle from that time have survived. Most of the buildings were probably made of wood.

All the information listed above is ultimately based on the unbelievable Reinhardsbrunn chronicle and conjectures to it. The Ludowingers have only been really proven as masters of the Wartburg since the 1150s. Before that, it was apparently owned (as an allod or as a fief , but not the Ludowinger) of a high aristocratic family, which also included the Archbishop of Mainz, Heinrich , and which, in close association with King Konrad III. stood, but was ousted by Friedrich Barbarossa .

Landgrave Ludwig II (r. 1140–1172) was the most important builder of the Ludowingers. His influence on the castle building of that time was very significant. Under his leadership, the Palas , which is extremely valuable from a cultural and historical point of view, was built around 1156–1162 , a separate, separately standing representative building with a residential function. In addition to the palace, the eastern curtain wall and parts of the gatehouse also date from the 12th century. A keep , which stood at a different location from today's tower and was much larger in size, did not survive the centuries. The Landgrave House was built in 1172 .

The last Ludowinger, Heinrich Raspe IV , ruled from 1227 to 1247. He used the castle as his sole residence and thus anticipated the historical development. Up until now it had been customary to exercise wandering rule, that is, to move from castle to castle until the court had exhausted the local resources .

Burgraves of the Wartburg

The progressive expansion of the Ludowinger territory over parts of what is now the federal states of Thuringia and Hesse, which are often spatially far away, led to a frequent absence of the ruling landgraves from the respective castles with residence functions. This also affected the Wartburg, which is located roughly in the center of the Landgraviate. It was therefore necessary to entrust all tasks for the administration of the castle, in particular also the permanent security and defense-technical improvement of the fortress system, to an authorized representative and deputy; he held the office of burgrave of the Wartburg . With the family of the Counts of Wartburg , who also appeared as burgraves of the neighboring Brandenburg in the early 13th century , a sideline of the Counts of Bielstein , who was not related by blood to the Ludowinger family, was given high honors.

Singers' War

The Wartburg experienced its heyday under Hermann I (1190–1216). As a wealthy patron of art and culture, he made the castle a magnet for artists and the main center of German poetry. Against this real background, it becomes the alleged scene of the fabulous Singers' War . But the story so vividly and dramatically portrayed is a fiction. Thuringian historians such as Dietrich von Apolda (after 1298) and the Eisenach legal scholar and chronicler Johannes Rothe (15th century) devised a historical event from the literature that was still abundantly accessible to them . With precise expertise, Rothe was even able to "incorporate" this event into the Thuringian chronicle he wrote or added.

Landgravine Elisabeth

Until 1228, the Hungarian king's daughter Elisabeth lived as the wife (from 1227 as a widow) of Landgrave Ludwig IV of Thuringia on the Wartburg. From when she lived there is not certain. When her husband was killed on a crusade , Elizabeth devoted herself entirely to a life of poverty and service to the poor and sick.


After Heinrich Raspe's death in 1247 and the subsequent War of the Thuringian Succession, the castle came into the hands of the Wettins . In 1250 the Landgrave House was extended. After Thuringia fell to the Margraves of Meißen, Albrecht the Degenerate , who received the newly acquired land from his father Heinrich the Illustrious , took his seat again at the Wartburg. In the 13th century the south tower was built in the rear courtyard.

The castle was badly damaged by a fire caused by a lightning strike in 1318. Margrave Friedrich der Freidige had repairs carried out on the palace and the keep in 1319 and a large heated building was built in the core of the castle. Among other things, the installation of the church in the Landgrave's house (1320) also dates from this era.

After the death of Landgrave Balthasar of Thuringia in 1406, the castle was only a secondary residence in the 15th century. This was also expressed in the more modest construction. The cheaper half-timbering was used instead of natural stone blocks. The gatehouse (end of the 15th century using older parts), the knight's house, the bailiwick (started in 1480) and the two battlements of the outer bailey (after 1477) have been preserved from this time.

Martin Luther

Luther was after the Diet of Worms in 1521 with the imperial ban shows the design for this purpose have the Papal Nuncio Girolamo Aleandro written. On May 26, 1521, the Reichstag imposed the Edict of Worms on him , backdated to May 8 and drawn by the Emperor . With the imperial ban an outlaw (declaration of peace and lawlessness) was issued, which extended to the entire area of ​​the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and which went hand in hand with the prohibition of his works and the distribution of his writings. He was now " outlawed ". In accordance with the promise made to his elector, he was given safe conduct . Charles V later regretted this promise because the ensuing Reformation destroyed the unity of his empire.

The outlaw was taken prisoner on the evening of May 4, 1521 on the way home near Altenstein Castle near Bad Liebenstein by Friedrich's people, led by the knights Burkhard Hund von Wenkheim and Hans Sittich von Berlepsch , kidnapped and arrested at the Eisenacher Wartburg, to keep him out of the danger of persecution. Martin Luther stayed at the Wartburg from May 4, 1521 to March 1, 1522 . His stay should remain a secret, which is why he became "Junker Jörg" during this time. Luther's spartan quarters were a small room above the first courtyard, which was intended as a cavalier prison. Here he used the forced rest to arm himself for future theological arguments and to realize the project of a Bible translation of the New Testament into German.

Fritz Erbe

In 1540 the Anabaptist Fritz Erbe , who had already been imprisoned in Eisenach, was transferred to the Wartburg and locked in a cellar dungeon in the south tower. The only access to the dungeon was an opening in the floor of the tower's middle story. After several years of imprisonment, Fritz Erbe died in 1548. During clean-up work in 1925, the castle warden at the time, Hermann Nebe, discovered the name Erbes above the rock, which Erbe himself had carved into the rock. The presumed grave inheritance was found below the castle in 2006. Today a plaque on the south tower of the Wartburg reminds of Erbe's fate.

Goethe and the Wartburg

During his visits to Eisenach and Wilhelmsthal Castle , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe found several opportunities to familiarize himself with the history of the Wartburg on site; Some sketchy drawings of the castle were also made on such occasions. In 1793 he arranged for weather observations and records at the castle. From 1815, Goethe had been thinking about setting up an art museum in the Wartburg. In this context, the Grand Ducal Minister of State Christian Gottlob von Voigt was consulted in Weimar to enable the procurement of mostly sacred art objects. These later formed the basis of the carved sculpture collections of the Thuringian Museum .

“These objects would be all the more desirable because they could be used to decorate the chapel on the Wartburg and that knight's castle could be given an analogous decoration. Given the current love and passion for the remnants of old German art, this acquisition is important and the Wartburg will still count many pilgrims in the future. "

- JW Goethe : on plans for a Wartburg museum

Goethe was impressed by the landscape, the mineralogy, the weather and many building details; he was aware of the historical value of the castle as the home of the landgraves and Martin Luther. Goethe's involvement and interest in the castle later declined noticeably , also as a result of the Wartburg Festival organized by the Jena Urburschenschaft in October 1817 .

Wartburg festivals

This Wartburg festivals were mostly student gatherings that took place respectively on the Wartburg. The best known is the first Wartburg Festival on October 18, 1817, to which all later referred: On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation and the 4th anniversary of the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig , students from various German universities met. The gathering of around 500 students and some professors was a protest against reactionary politics and small states and for a nation state with its own constitution.

Since then, the Wartburg has been used as a meeting point by German student associations . The Wingolfsbund has organized a Wartburg Festival every two years since 1850, and the German Burschenschaft held its annual ceremony there until the 2013 Burschentag .

Reconstruction since the 19th century

Johann Wilhelm Sältzer: Draft for the restoration of the Wartburg , 1846
On the south wall
From the time of the fortress
Castle gate with wicket door
Wartburg inn

In 1838, the Grand Ducal Saxony-Weimar-Eisenachian building officer Johann Wilhelm Sältzer was commissioned to investigate the remains of the Wartburg. His discoveries gave the impetus to restore the old castle ruins. He had the palace arcades on the courtyard side opened and supplemented, carefully measured the ruins and presented very original and imaginative new building plans for the castle, characterized by a castle romance.

After extensive discussion, the castle was rebuilt in the historicizing style from 1853 onwards by the architect Hugo von Ritgen . In addition to the local red rock , from which the majority of the new buildings were built, Seeberger sandstone from the Großer Seeberg near Gotha was also used. Several new buildings were erected, which today have a major impact on the image of the castle. In place of the court room, which was demolished in 1778, the Dirnitz with gate hall was built in 1867 , dividing the castle roughly in the middle. The keep was built between 1853 and 1859. When the foundations were being built, the first remains of the foundations of the previous building were discovered, which had been offset slightly north. This tower was already in a desolate condition in 1568, it was gradually demolished, in 1774 one spoke of the "fallen castle tower".

A separate area was required for the private rooms of the ruling house. For this purpose, the new bower and the new staircase were added to the keep; these at the same time close the gap between the hall and the battlement of the outer bailey. Gaden took the place of the brewery ; the basement of the previous building was retained. To the south of the restored palas, the Knight's Bath was added after the Wartburg water pipe had been completed . The so-called bear kennel located there was only built in the early 19th century as a popular amusement. Further buildings (castle kitchen, brewery, house of hand mills ) on the west side were deliberately avoided; The space available here is taken up by the commandant's garden with a balcony-like arbor. Another building measure at the end of the 19th century was the construction of the Wartburg Hotel on the Gaisköpfchen . On June 11, 1859, at the end of the construction work, the tower cross of the Wartburg was inaugurated on the keep. The painter and mosaic artist August Oetken created the colorful mosaics in the Elisabethkemenate from 1902 to 1906.

In addition, due to its historical reconstruction , the building contains numerous imaginative paintings of people and scenes from the German Middle Ages.

One of the almost forgotten facts is that the reconstruction of the Wartburg was made possible not least thanks to Grand Duchess Sophie , who as a patroness supported the project with significant financial resources.

The interwar period

Eisenach had become an important conference and congress city around 1900. The Kurbad-Eisenach-Gesellschaft was founded in 1905, which resulted in numerous hotels and guest houses, a casino, baths, parks and sanatoriums. The Wartburg administration looked at this building boom with concern, because it permanently changed the previous appearance of the Wartburg. In tough struggles with the city administration and the state government, the “Blue Line” was issued as the limit of permissible development as well as regulations for the protection of the landscape around the Wartburg, which are still in force today. Thanks to the burgeoning tourism in the city, the Wartburg experienced a hitherto unknown influx of tourists. In order to improve the accessibility of the castle, plans for the tram connection and a modern access road for powerhouses and automobiles were commissioned. The construction of the Wartburgallee was realized and forms the basis for the " mass tourism " which continues to this day .

The unintended consequences of the annual visitor records were recognized from the early 1920s. The frescoes created by Moritz von Schwindt began to fade, fungal infestation and chemical processes in the painting grounds were diagnosed during the first damage image analyzes. A scientific committee of experts was commissioned to give the restorers assistance in preserving the works of art.

The members of the grand ducal family renounced their political power after the November Revolution in Thuringia. After the dethronement , however, the dispute over the private assets, forest ownership, lands and art treasures of the abdicated princes broke out in all German states. The Wartburg was "defended" with particular interest by the grand ducal family - the dispute with the repeatedly changing bourgeois governments in Weimar dragged on until 1921 and was amicably settled with the signing of the dispute agreement by Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst and the Weimar Minister of State. The "Wartburg question" was seen as resolved with the establishment of the Wartburg Foundation ; However, the foundation members who were initially active were closely related to the Princely House and also prevented the Thuringian regional church, formed in 1918, from being included in the foundation council. All foundation members were confirmed by the respective Minister of Culture of the Free State of Thuringia. In the 1930s, Wilhelm Frick and the Thuringian Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel received influence on the Wartburg Foundation as committee members. In 1930 Hans von der Gabelentz became the castle captain of the Wartburg. He founded the Wartburg Museum and the Castle Archive.

1933 to 1945 (National Socialism and World War II)

During the time of National Socialism , the Thuringian Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel planned to make the Wartburg a “cultural center of the empire ”. Numerous propaganda events and celebrations took place here, such as the 1934 Luther celebrations of the Nazi-affiliated " German Christians ". In 1938 Sauckel had the cross on the castle tower replaced by a swastika . However, protests from the population meant that it was removed again after a month and the Christian cross was put back in its place.

In the spring of 1939, 13 Protestant regional churches on the Wartburg founded the " Institute for Research and Elimination of the Jewish Influence on German Church Life "; It was inaugurated here on May 8th of that year, and was headed by the theologian Walter Grundmann . The files of the "Entjudungsinstitut" which disappeared after 1945 did not become known to the public until 1990 after the relocation of the regional church archive.

After the Second World War

American artillery bombardment from April 1 to 5, 1945 caused damage to the gate and knight house, Dirnitz, keep, Neuer Kemenate, Palas and Gadem. These were largely remedied by 1946. Outsourced works of art and valuable holdings of the Wartburg Foundation remained in secret depots until mid-1946 for security reasons in order to protect them from destruction or looting. The weapons collection, known as the armory of the Wartburg , was still a victim of the post-war occupation of Thuringia by the Red Army . This collection, which is both materially and art-historically valuable, was confiscated in 1946 and transferred to the Soviet Union, where its traces are lost.

Extensive restoration work has been carried out in the run-up to important anniversaries (Reformation year, Luther anniversary, Elisabeth anniversary) since the 1950s. In accordance with the preservation of historical monuments, many of the 19th century fixtures were removed in order to better accentuate the Romanesque components. Buildings of historicism are not generally sacrificed but, where possible, preserved as evidence of the castle's history.

Modern times and world heritage

UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Thuringia Eisenach asv2020-07 img23 Wartburg Castle.jpg
Contracting State (s): GermanyGermany Germany
Type: Culture
Criteria : (iii) (vi)
Reference No .: 897
UNESCO region : Europe and North America
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1999  (session 23)

Building research has made significant progress since 1990. This applies to both the architectural archaeological investigation of the castle and the restoration of the works of art. The technical equipment of the castle was also renewed step by step, water and sewage pipes, access roads and paths around the castle were renewed.

In 1999 the Wartburg became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Since 2008, the Wartburg has been part of the Street of Monuments , a network of German monuments and places of remembrance founded on the initiative of the Leipzig City History Museum . The aim of the network is "to network the places of remembrance as former focal points of the past more closely and to make them more tangible as a whole through joint marketing measures".

On May 17, 2010, the urn burial of Elisabeth von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, who died at the age of 99, took place in the Elisabeth Chapel. It was the first burial at the Wartburg.

Since two large wind turbines were to be built within sight of the Wartburg on the 461 meter high Milmesberg near Marksuhl , the Wartburg was in danger of losing its UNESCO World Heritage title. The dispute ended in November 2013 with a settlement. In addition, the area in question was protected from similar projects by revised planning regulations of the Free State of Thuringia.

In 2015, the “ Arraiolos Group ” met with the incumbent German President Joachim Gauck as host at the Wartburg.

In 2017 the Wartburg played an important role in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.


Location and general description

The Wartburg rises on a narrow, rugged rock ridge about 220 m above the city of Eisenach; it is a typical section castle, which originally consisted of four sections, of which only the outer and main castle are preserved today. The Wartburg underwent the greatest changes that were not always beneficial to the structure in the 19th century , when the castle was restored on Goethe's initiative in line with the ideas of historicism and the re-established nationalism of the German Empire.

The castle was besieged several times in its history, but never conquered, and in its heyday was divided as follows:

1st section

The first section of the castle was where the hill marks the entrance to the castle today . There were fortifications here, which gave this section its current name. The foundations of a tower ( fishing tower ) were exposed again in the 1990s and are visible today as a square hole. The buildings in this section, which were visible as covered battlements until Goethe's time , no longer exist. In its place is the place in front of the drawbridge today.

Outer bailey

The outer bailey is entered via the drawbridge through a gate building, which was originally a gate tower from the time it was converted into a residence and was later reduced in height and rebuilt. The buildings adjoining the gatehouse on the right ( Ritterhaus , Vogtei ) date from the late Middle Ages . However, indications of the presence of older building fabric were found. The fountain in the first courtyard of the Wartburg does not date from the Middle Ages, as the water was then supplied by pack animals and a cistern (in the main courtyard). The curtain wall, which partly dates from the 12th century, was provided with the protruding half-timbered structure and roofed over in the 15th century. The western part is called Margaretengang and the eastern part Elisabethgang . The outer bailey was probably closed off by a ditch towards the main castle.

Main castle

The main castle is bounded by the building line Neue Kemenate , Torhalle and Dirnitz , all buildings from the second half of the 19th century. The medieval buildings at this point had already fallen into disrepair in Goethe's time, so that the medieval state of the courtyard had to be reconstructed through excavations. The main castle is dominated by the late Romanesque palace, the landgrave house , next to the south tower the only medieval building of the main castle, as well as the current main tower built near the original keep, which contains a water reservoir to supply the city of Eisenach. Nothing of the rest of the medieval buildings has survived. The Gadem , which is now used as a restaurant, was renovated from 1874 to 1877; the basement with barrel cellar was retained. The building previously served as a warehouse, armory and court kitchen. Immediately to the south of it was the brewery.

Southern section

The southernmost section of today's main castle could have been separated from the main courtyard by a wall at the height of the escape Palas-Gadem due to the topographical conditions in the Middle Ages. At the southernmost end of this section is the south tower , the last originally preserved tower from the history of the castle. It covered the southern slope in the direction of Eisenach Castle . The part used today as the castle garden is already three meters lower than the Gadem. For centuries the area was used as a rubble dump to gradually enlarge the area of ​​the castle courtyard. During the renovation of the south wall, which was still ongoing in 2012, foundations and remains of a group of supporting pillars were documented on the inside of the curtain wall.


In the years 1912 to 1914, the Wartburg-Gasthof was built according to a design by the architect Bodo Ebhardt .

Concert hall

The Wartburg holds one of the most famous concert halls in Thuringia. The building's acoustics played a major role in its success . It is also the work of Franz Liszt , who brought his musical skills and expertise to the design of the ballroom when the Palas was converted into a concert hall on behalf of the Weimar Ducal House.

In its entirety, the Wartburg is a typical example of the preservation of monuments of the 19th century: the existing architecture was supplemented with buildings in a historicizing, sometimes romanticizing form, to reflect the historical significance of the Wartburg, which was given a national aspect at the time of the establishment of the German Empire to meet. Comparable sites in German history are the Reichsburg Kyffhausen , Hohenzollern Castle , the Hohkönigsburg and the Marienburg Order Castle .

The Wartburg concerts have been broadcast on the radio since 1958 . A studio was set up on the Wartburg for this purpose.


A guided walk through the castle touches the following exposed buildings:

The main building (the Palas or the Landgrave's House) originally dates from the middle of the 12th century. Dendrochronological studies date the beams of the basement to 1157/1158. Borrowings from Roman palace buildings can be seen in the exterior. The Palas is the only princely palace that has been preserved from that period of architecture. From 1847 to 1870 it was extensively restored by the Giessen architect Hugo von Ritgen at the instigation of Grand Duke Carl Alexander (Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach) .

The entrance to the lowest of the three floors, the partial basement in the south of the castle, initially leads into the former armory and the former horse stables. A stone staircase in the middle of the building leads to the actual ground floor of the hall. The so-called knight's hall is a square room with a fireplace, the use of which remains largely unknown to this day. This is followed by the so-called dining room, which was assigned as the living room of the old landgraves with the renovation in the 19th century. The bower of St. Elisabeth, who, at the instigation and expense of the last emperor of the German Empire, Kaiser Wilhelm II , was completely re-clad from 1902 to 1906 with glass mosaics in the neo-Byzantine style by the Oldenburg church painter and mosaic artist August Oetken (1868–1951). It has been proven to have had her name since 1669. The center of the mosaic of the Elisabeth bower is an Elisabeth cycle with nine depictions from the life of St. Elisabeth, Landgrave of Thuringia and Princess of Hungary. The representations refer to the descent of the House of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach from the family of the Landgraves of Thuringia. On the second floor the visitor arrives in the chapel of the Wartburg. Legend has it that Martin Luther preached here. Historical facts do not confirm this. In the adjoining singers 'hall, Moritz von Schwind's frescoes, which take up the architecture of the room, illustrate the saga of the singers' war. The Elisabeth Gallery, decorated with 13 romantic depictions of Moritz von Schwind (pictures of the works of the Mercy of St. Elisabeth, i.e. the fairytale legends and wonders of the saints) from 1855 was restored from 2015 to 2017. The Landgrafenzimmer shows visitors the founding and other legends of the Wartburg. The third floor is occupied by the 40-meter-long ballroom, which was placed on the original structure after the Wartburg became the residence of the Ludowingers.

The castle museum with large parts of the art collection is located in the gate hall, new bower and dirnitz from the 19th century. The Dirnitz , built in 1867, once contained the Grand Ducal Armory with a very important historical weapon collection "of European rank". The most valuable items were 70 pieces of armor from well-known historical figures. This collection was transferred to the USSR in February 1946 . In the three buildings, a permanent exhibition presents the life of the famous guests, residents and landgraves at the castle. Numerous exhibits and pictures, among others. by Lucas Cranach show the eventful history of the establishment in the 12th century, the stay of St. Elisabeth and Martin Luthers, the decay and reconstruction in the 19th century.

The tour ends with the path through the so-called Margarethengang (western parapet walk) to the Vogtei, where the Luther room is located, which was used by the reformer Martin Luther from May 4, 1521 to March 1, 1522 as a shelter and location of a part ( New Testament or September Testament) served to translate the Bible . The Gothic so-called Nuremberg bay window in the neighboring Vogteistube comes from a Nuremberg patrician house, originally served as a chapel bay window for the Harsdörfer house in Nuremberg and was only added to the south facade of the bailiwick in the 1870s. In the upper Vogteistube there is also the so-called Pirckheimer Stübchen, which was acquired in 1863 by Grand Duchess Sophie von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach for her husband Carl Alexander in Nuremberg and brought to the Wartburg in 1867. The cabinet room, which was unique in terms of construction and was built around 1490, was long attributed to the humanist Willibald Pirckheimer (1470–1530), but was probably commissioned by the printer and publisher Anton Koberger (1440–1513).


The Wartburg Festival has been held annually since 2004.

From May 4 to November 5, 2017, one of three national special exhibitions was shown at the Wartburg on the occasion of the Reformation anniversary in 2017 . The exhibition “Luther and the Germans” focused on Luther's stay at the Wartburg and the developments that led to the rebuilding of the Wartburg and its transformation into a “national monument” in the 19th century. It also contained a reception of Luther from the 16th century to the present day.

Since the turn of the year 2018, a newly designed permanent exhibition can be seen in the rooms of the castle.

Transport links

Logo of the traffic association Wartburg region VGW

The Wartburg can be easily reached with the bus routes operated by the Wartburgmobil transport company :

  • Line 3 from the train station and city center
  • Line 23 from the P + R car parks in Mariental


Ludwig II. Of Bavaria took the Wartburg as a model for his in Allgäu located Neuschwanstein Castle . The palace and the castle are not only similar in silhouette from a few angles, the ballroom was also imitated for the palace of the Bavarian king.

The Wartburg has become a literary setting in many ways, best known through Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser . Before the First World War , the literary magazine Wartburgstimmen also appeared in Eisenach under the editorship of the novelist Ernst Clausen .

In 1962 the Evangelical Wartburg Church in Frankfurt (Main) was named after her.

Castle model as a tactile relief in front of the Palas

In July 2013, a tactile castle model with inscriptions in Braille , created by students from the Bauhaus University Weimar , was set up in front of the Wartburg palace . The lettering enables the blind and visually impaired to get to know the main buildings of the Wartburg in their cubature and with many facade details by touch.

The Wartburg was included in the Blue Book published in 2001. The Blue Book is a list of nationally important cultural institutions in East Germany and currently includes 20 so-called cultural lighthouses .

The district of Wartburgkreis is named after the Wartburg . However, the Wartburg is not in the Wartburg district. This is because when the district was formed in 1994, the city of Eisenach, in whose area the castle is located, also belonged to this district. In 1998 Eisenach became an independent city and thus left the district.

In mini-a-thür ( Ruhla near Eisenach), in the Miniwelt ( Lichtenstein / Sa. ) And in Clingen in the Kyffhäuserkreis there are miniature replicas of the Wartburg.

The geographical center of Germany depends on the calculation method. A calculation of the center of gravity of the area of ​​Germany (excluding the twelve-mile zone) determined a point on the Landstreit estate near Eisenach as the center point (51 ° 0 'N, 10 ° 20' E) . As a representative, the Wartburg, about 10 km away, was declared the center of Germany.

The donkey station is located at the foot of the Wartburg .

The castle complex surrounds a forest area of ​​around 27 hectares. The Thuringian Forestry Office recommended that this so-called foundation forest be forbidden.

For security reasons, the Wartburg is located in a restricted flight area (ED - R 90). Around the Wartburg, the so-called blue line marks a construction ban within a radius of 500 meters. It goes back to the Eisenach city planning director and castle building officer Karl Hofferbert , who wanted to prevent the rapid expansion of the southern quarter and thus the building of the castle in the 1930s .

The Pummpälzweg hiking trail leads from Eisenach via the Wartburg, Ruhla and the Kissel for 28 kilometers to Bad Salzungen .

During the art project “Daily Painting” (World Heritage in Germany) in June 2011 almost 50 graphics and photos of the Wartburg were created by art students at the University of Paderborn , which were published on the web for 50 consecutive days.

In the facade of the Tribune Tower in Chicago , an original stone from the Wartburg is inserted and provided with information about the origin of Luther's Wartburg - Eisenach, Germany .


  • Luther himself reports that he was molested by the devil in the Wartburg . With his statement that he then "drove out the devil with ink", he referred to his translation of the Bible. This quote from Luther was later interpreted to mean that he had thrown an inkwell at the devil. The local geographer and historian Melissantes alias Johann Gottfried Gregorii mentioned in 1713 that visitors to the Wartburg were shown an ink stain in Luther's room. This stain, which had to be renewed and re-colored on a regular basis after visitors had repeatedly taken small pieces of plaster home as souvenirs, could be seen in the Luther room well into the past century.


Castle captains were used to manage the Wartburg. The most important were Bernhard von Arnswald (1807–1877) and Hans Lucas von Cranach , whose portrait of Adolf Brütt has been preserved on the Wartburg. The castle is currently managed by the castle captain Günter Schuchardt on behalf of the Wartburg Foundation .

Annual number of visitors to the Wartburg since 1992
year Visitor year Visitor year Visitor year Visitor year Visitor year Visitor year Visitor
1992 554.326 1996 493.978 2000 462.005 2004 433,789 2008 398.701 2012 337.258 2016 366,445
1993 513.766 1997 443.121 2001 435.941 2005 404.858 2009 389,597 2013 341.451 2017 459,000
1994 496,442 1998 450,838 2002 430,769 2006 403.818 2010 363.129 2014 350,772 2018 315,000
1995 493,895 1999 442.227 2003 406.092 2007 462,390 2011 362,759 2015 346,617 2019

The visitor statistics of the Wartburg have been kept since July 1, 1894 and since then have recorded all tickets sold for a tour of the interior. On September 18, 2009, the castle captain Schuchardt welcomed the 30 millionth visitor. In 2017 the number of visitors rose to around 000000000459000.0000000000459,000, the increase is due to the 000000000310233.0000000000anniversary of the Reformation, and 310,233 visitors were counted to the special exhibition "Luther and the Germans" at the Wartburg . In the following year, 2018, the number of visitors to all Eisenach museums fell by up to 30 percent.



  • Sigfried Asche : Saint Elisabeth and Martin Luther on the Wartburg . In: The Christian Monument . Union-Verlag, Berlin 1955, p. 31 .
  • Gunter Schäfer: The Wartburg and its history . Sachsenbuch-Verlag, Leipzig 1991, p. 96 .
  • Gerd Strickhausen: Ludowinger castles in Thuringia, Hesse and the Rhineland. Studies on architecture and sovereignty in the High Middle Ages (= sources and research on Hessian history; 109) . Self-published by the Hessian Historical Commission in Darmstadt and the Historical Commission for Hesse, Darmstadt and Marburg in 1998.

Building research

  • Ernst Badstübner : The "restoration" of the Wartburg. Aspects of historicism and the preservation of monuments . In: Castles and Palaces . tape 45 , 2004, ISSN  0007-6201 , p. 18-27 .
  • Gerd Braun: Early and High Middle Ages: From Bît Hilani to the hall of the Wartburg. An architectural-historical study on design methodology and type formation from antiquity to the high Middle Ages, Volume I-III, here: Volume III, Mainz 2018. ISBN 978-3-96176-026-8 .
  • Dieter Eckstein, Thomas Eißing, Peter Klein: Dendrochronological dating of the Wartburg and establishment of a local chronology for Eisenach / Thuringia . In: Günther Binding (Ed.): Publication of the Department of Architectural History of the Art History Institute of the University of Cologne . tape 46 , 1992, ISSN  0940-7812 , pp. 1-57 .
  • Grit Jacobs: A true picture from an early age, the work of the architect Hugo von Ritgen on the Wartburg . Dissertation. Thuringian University and State Library Jena. Jena 2017. Also online: DB Thuringia , accessed on August 4, 2020
  • Hugo von Ritgen : Thoughts on the restoration of the Wartburg (handwritten manuscript) . Ed .: Wartburg Foundation. Eisenach 1847, p. 140 .
  • Johann Wilhelm Sältzer : Construction of the Wartburg. Floor plan with elevations . Eisenach 1840 (Wartburg Foundation Eisenach, archive, BE 36 / GK)
  • Johann Wilhelm Sältzer : The Wartburg. An archaeological-architectural sketch , Eisenach 1846 (Wartburg Foundation Eisenach, archive, Hs. 3501)
  • Oskar Schmolitzky: The timber frame of the Wartburg (part 1) . In: German Yearbook for Folklore . tape 10 . Berlin 1964, p. 1-24 .
  • Günther Schuchardt: The Romanesque palace of the Wartburg. Building research on a world heritage site . Ed .: Wartburg Foundation. tape 1 . Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 2001, ISBN 3-7954-1457-1 .
  • Gerd Strickhausen: The building policy of Landgrave Ludwig II of Thuringia and the importance of the Wartburg palace. In: Research on castles and palaces. Volume 5, Munich / Berlin 2000, pp. 71-90.

Art and architecture guide

  • Sigfried Asche: The Wartburg and its works of art . Ed .: Wartburg Foundation. Erich-Röth-Verlag, Eisenach 1954, p. 68 .
  • Ernst Badstübner: The Wartburg . In: Great art guides (palaces and castles) . tape 196 . Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 2001, ISBN 3-7954-1399-0 , p. 48 .
  • Max Baumgärtel (Ed.): The Wartburg. A monument to German history and art . Berlin 1907.
  • Hans von der Gablenz: The Wartburg . Bruckmann, Munich 1935.
  • Werner Noth (then director of the Wartburg Foundation): The Wartburg. Koehler & Amelang, Leipzig 1967 and other Wartburg publications by Noth (GND 139532935 )
  • Hugo von Ritgen: The leader on the Wartburg. A guide for strangers and a contribution to the customer of the past . Weber, Leipzig 1860.
  • Hugo von Ritgen: Wartburg album. Photographs from nature . Hardtmuth & Schwier / E. Linde's Kunstverlag, Weimar, Berlin 1860 ( digital copy from HAAB Weimar ).
  • Günter Schuchardt, Elmar Altwasser, Ulrich Kneise: Wartburg World Heritage Site . In: Castles, palaces and fortifications in Central Europe . tape 4 . Schnell and Steiner, Regensburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-7954-1222-7 , pp. 63 .
  • Grand Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, District Court District Eisenach, III. The Wartburg . In: Paul Lehfeldt , Georg Voss (Hrsg.): Architectural and art monuments of Thuringia . tape 41 . Jena 1917 ( digitized version ).
  • Rudolf Zießler : The Wartburg (district of Erfurt / Eisenach) . In: Götz Eckardt (Hrsg.): Fates of German architectural monuments in the Second World War . tape 2 . Henschel-Verlag, Berlin 1978, p. 471-474 .

Other literature

Documentaries, feature films, film recordings

Illustrations on postage stamps and commemorative coins

The Wartburg appeared several times on German and international postage stamps, commemorative coins and medals, here is a selection:

See also

Web links

Commons : Wartburg  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Eva Firzlaff: Lots of legacy . Deutschlandfunk.de , Sunday Walk , September 14, 2014; accessed on February 17, 2016
  2. ^ Walter Heinemeyer : The Marburger Landgrave Castle and the Wartburg - Marburg and Eisenach . In: Historical Commission for Hesse (ed.): Hesse and Thuringia - from the beginnings to the Reformation. An exhibition by the state of Hesse . Catalog. Wiesbaden 1992, ISBN 3-89258-018-9 , pp. 41 .
  3. ^ Volkmar Joestel: Martin Luther. Rebel and reformer. (= Biographies on the Reformation ). 8th edition. Drei-Kastanien-Verlag, Wittenberg 2005, ISBN 3-9803358-5-2 , p. 31.
  4. In memory. Biblekreis.ch, accessed on March 27, 2012 .
  5. Presumably found Fritz Erbe. (No longer available online.) Wartburgregion.de, archived from the original on August 10, 2014 ; Retrieved March 27, 2012 .
  6. The Wartburg in Goethe's time. The project of a Wartburg museum . In: MFB Verlagsgesellschaft Eisenach (ed.): StadtZeit. City journal with information from the Wartburg district . May issue. Druck- und Verlagshaus Frisch, Eisenach 1999, p. 41-43 .
  7. H. Schwarz: The Wartburg in Goethe's time. Some remarks on Goethe's castle visits. In: MFB Verlagsgesellschaft Eisenach (ed.): StadtZeit. City journal with information from the Wartburg district . March issue. Druck- und Verlagshaus Frisch, Eisenach 1999, p. 41-43 . Goethe stayed in Eisenach several times, mostly he used the occasion to go for walks to the Wartburg, from his diaries and other sources it can be proven: September 9, 1777; September 13th to October 9th (almost every day); September 10-18, 1778 several times; December 8-14, 1781 Goethe in Eisenach and Wilhelmsthal; April 2 to 3, 1782 in Eisenach; July to August as companion of Duke August in Wilhelmsthal; August 22, 1801 last visit to the Wartburg and Metilstein ruins; May 24, 1815 last visit to Eisenach.
  8. Wartburg pulls the bridge up . Deutschlandfunk.de , Die Nachrichten , June 11, 2014; accessed on February 16, 2016
  9. Hans Dickel, Helmut Börsch-Supan and Christoph Martin Vogtherr: Prussia, the art and the individual , Academy, Berlin 2003
  10. ^ Report from Eisenach in connection with the visit of the German emperor to the Wartburg in 1902 In: Vossische Zeitung , April 30, 1902.
  11. Ludger Kerssen: The interest in the Middle Ages in the German National Monument . (= Work on early medieval research. Volume 8). De Gruyter, 1975, ISBN 3-11-004782-9 , p. 66. (Google book search)
  12. NDB article on "Wilhelmine Maria Sophie Louise", see: Sophie in the German biography .
  13. Reinhold Brunner: History of the city of Eisenach . Ed .: Eisenacher History Association. Wartberg-Verlag, Eisenach 2004, ISBN 3-8313-1460-8 , p. 112 .
  14. Petra Schall: On the origin and restoration history of the Wartburg frescoes by Moritz von Schwind. In: Wartburg Yearbook 1992. Wartburg Foundation, Eisenach 1993, pp. 27–38.
  15. ^ Étienne François: The Wartburg. In: Étienne François (Ed.): German places of memory. Bonn 2005, p. 154.
  16. Carsten Dippel: Theologians of the hatred of Jews . Deutschlandfunk.de , From Religion and Society , January 27, 2016
  17. Rosemarie Domagalla: The armory of the Wartburg . In: Wartburg Foundation (ed.): Small series of publications by the Wartburg Foundation . Druckhaus Dierichs, Kassel 1990, p. 102 .
  18. Great concern about World Heritage status. Eisenacher OB urges the country - appeal is called for - court approved wind turbines. In: Thüringische Landeszeitung. July 30, 2010.
  19. Investor renounces wind power project near Wartburg. (No longer available online.) Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (Online), November 29, 2013, archived from the original on February 1, 2014 ; accessed on January 21, 2014 : "With the comparison, wind turbines are no longer possible on the Milmesberg: In the meantime, the regional plan has been changed, which now no longer provides for such systems at this point."
  20. ^ Henry Bernhard: Presidents meet at the Wartburg . Deutschlandfunk.de , information in the morning , September 21, 2015; accessed on February 16, 2016
  21. Special tour of the Wartburg restoration and history on September 11, 2011 (Open Monument Day 2011)
  22. Deutschlandfunk Kultur - Wartburg Concerts. Retrieved March 27, 2020 .
  23. Torsten Unger From suitcase studio to media center. The history of broadcasting in Thuringia. Publishing house Klaus-Jürgen Kamprad. Altenburg 2006, ISBN 3-930550-22-9 .
  24. ^ Günter Schuchardt: Wartburg World Heritage Site. Regensburg 2000, p. 43.
  25. ^ Günter Schuchardt: Wartburg World Heritage Site. Regensburg 2000, p. 49.
  26. ^ Günter Schuchardt: Wartburg World Heritage Site. Regensburg 2000, p. 35.
  27. Thomas Eißing, Sabrina Kraus: From the Pirckheimer Stübchen to the Koberger closet room - New findings on an extraordinary wooden construction from the late 15th century . In: Wartburg yearbook . tape 2016 , no. 25 . Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-7954-3345-1 , pp. 131-167 .
  28. Luther and the Germans: National Special Exhibition 2017 at the Wartburg ( Memento from November 24, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on November 24, 2016
  29. Kleine-Wartburg.de
  30. Restricted flight areas quoted from fliegermagazin 09/06 on: fliegermagazin.de
  31. Between brick and modern. In: Potsdam Latest News. March 31, 2009. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
  32. ^ Gallery for the Daily Painting World Heritage in Germany June 2011. (No longer available online.) In: University of Paderborn, Seminar Prof. Dr. Jutta Stroeter-Bender. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012 ; Retrieved December 2, 2012 . Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / groups.uni-paderborn.de
  33. Inkwell legend on www.luther.de
  34. Melis Antes: The Renewed antiquity, or Curieuse vormahls famous, partly devastated Description unifier and destroyed, but partly new again auferbaueten Berg locks in Teutschland .... . Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main [and Erfurt] 1713, p. 431.
  35. Johannes Rothe Thuringian Chronicle.
  36. Basis: Visitor census by the Wartburg Foundation, published in the Wartburg yearbook.
  37. 30 million visitors to the Wartburg (news from November 10, 2009). In: Wartburg Foundation. Retrieved December 2, 2012 .
  38. Wartburg: 459,000 guests on the anniversary of the Reformation. In: welt.de. Retrieved February 24, 2018 .
  39. 500 years of the Reformation in Eisenach and the Wartburg region. (Balance sheet brochure, November 2017). (PDF) In: Eisenach - the Wartburg city. Retrieved March 4, 2018 .
  40. Reports in the Thüringer Allgemeine, local page Eisenach, from January 8, 2019 and January 22, 2019.
  41. More information on this production: via the homepage of the Berlin Institute for Comparative State-Church Research, three-page document for download (PDF; 121 kB)
  42. The idea for the documentary film series Treasures of the World came from Gustav-Adolf Bär .
  43. Information on the travel magazine Hin und weg can be found on the Deutsche Welle homepage (accessed on June 4, 2020).
  44. Information on the broadcast can be found on the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk homepage .
  45. The Wartburg can only be seen briefly once (from minute 6.48). Otherwise, the film was shot in other locations, and diffuse interiors are often shown. Luther is played by Ben Becker . There are a number of clips in the film: Margot Käßmann talks about her idea of ​​Luther at the turning point (minute 4.20), about Luther's father (minute 27.00) and about Luther as a hymn poet (minute 40.20); Jürgen Fliege speaks about Luther's trust in God (minute 21.20), also about Luther and his relationship with his father (minute 30.50); Peter Hahne speaks about indulgences (minute 15.00), the peasant war (minute 24.50), a hunting experience of Luther (minute 34.10) and the translation of the Bible (minute 36.20) (accessed on YouTube on December 30, 2015); for details see the relevant Wikipedia article .
  46. Patrimoine mondial, Allmagne 2009 - La Wartburg. In: United Nations Trademarks, Edition 2009. Retrieved January 29, 2013 .