500 years since the Reformation
'Exceedingly charming' is how Martin Luther described the Bavarian town of Coburg, and today's visitors can see exactly what he meant. An old quarter full of lanes, towers and churches, and not one but four castles, make this a unique combination of art, history and culture.
Martin Luther hid at Coburg Fortress for six months after being outlawed by the Emperor, whilst his most steadfast supporter Philipp Melanchthon presented the famous Augsburg Confession (the Lutheran statement of faith) to the Imperial Diet.
Today the castle high above the town is one of Germany's largest and best preserved medieval fortresses. Luther's living quarters, authentically furnished, and the chapel where he prayed serve as reminders of his exile. One highlight is the lifesize portrait of Luther, which was painted by Lucas Cranach the Younger in 1575.
Today the path from the medieval fortress leads through the baroque palace gardens, from where there are beautiful views of the town's Ehrenburg Palace from many angles. In stark contrast to Luther's Protestant frugality, here the rooms and the magnificent hall of giants with its 28 Atlas figures reflect all the lavish extravagance of baroque taste and design. Many royals have stayed here, from the first king of Belgium to Queen Victoria.