500 years since the Reformation
Bretten nestles among the vineyards of the Kraichgau and is surrounded by the hills of the Odenwald and the Black Forest. This enchanting setting is no doubt one of the reasons why Philipp Melanchthon always remained firmly attached to his birthplace.
Melanchthon was the rector of Wittenberg University and is remembered as 'Germany's teacher' (praeceptor Germaniae). Local people are proud of Bretten's famous son, even today. Melanchthon House on the market square, for instance, is a splendid neo-Gothic building erected as a memorial on the 400th anniversary of his birth in 1897. Besides a museum it contains 450 of the great scholar's original manuscripts as well as statues, coats of arms, paintings, commemorative coins and art works. Through his writings and as an advisor at Imperial Diets and religious colloquia, Melanchthon was an influential church reformer as well as one of Martin Luther's close personal friends.
Bretten is a picturesque town with a medieval old quarter and a host of living traditions including the Peter and Paul Festival, which is celebrated every year on the first weekend after 29 June. The highlight is the historical procession through the town's maze of narrow lanes. History is also brought to life at the Tanning Museum and at the Guardian Angel Museum, where the exhibition includes angels from six centuries. The Kraichgau-Stromberg and the Stromberg-Heuchelberg nature reserves are wonderful hiking terrain.
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