500 years since the Reformation
There is much to delight today's visitors to Worms, from the Romanesque imperial cathedral to the multimedia exhibition at the Nibelung Museum. For Martin Luther however, this historical town on the Rhine held far less pleasant associations.
In 1521 Luther appeared before the Imperial Diet in Worms, where Emperor Charles V demanded that he recant his teachings. When Luther refused, Charles V issued an edict banning Luther and his teachings. In a bid to protect him, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, offered Martin Luther (disguised as 'Squire George') a place to hide at Wartburg Castle.
The bishops' court where the Diet of Worms took place no longer exists today, but standing majestically in its place is the world's largest monument to Luther. The Luther Library, with over 600 of his works, and the Luther Church built in 1912 are also prominent symbols of the Reformation.
St. Peter's Cathedral in Worms is one of three Romanesque imperial cathedrals in Germany and a magnificent example of Romanesque church architecture. At around the time when the cathedral was built, a vibrant Jewish community was becoming established in Worms. Indeed today, the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe is found in the town, with headstones dating from the 11th century. The former Jewish quarter, which has undergone restoration, runs alongside the former town wall in the northern part of the old quarter.
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