500 years since the Reformation
Martin Luther, Johann Sebastian Bach and Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia are some of the great names associated with Eisenach, the home of Wartburg Castle, on the northern edge of the Thuringian Forest.
Wartburg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, proudly occupies a hilltop and is visible for miles around. The castle has a late-Romanesque inner ward. Luther found refuge here in 1522 under the pseudonym of 'Squire George' and translated the New Testament into German. He knew Eisenach well, having been a Latin scholar at St. George's School from 1498 to 1501. An exhibition about this formative period can be seen at the house where he lodged with the Cotta family, now the Luther House.
Luther is not Eisenach's only famous figure. Johann Sebastian Bach was born here in 1685 – and Eisenach is home to the world's first museum about this great baroque composer. Another attraction is the student fraternity monument, which honours those who campaigned for freedom and a unified Germany in the 19th century. Eisenach is on the Rennsteig hiking trail and close to Hainich National Park, with many leisure activities on the doorstep.