500 years since the Reformation
Pirna, not far from Dresden, is the birthplace of the indulgence preacher and inquisitor Johann Tetzel. Tetzel's actions caused Luther to nail his 95 theses to the door of the castle church and is thus considered a key figure in Reformation.
The infamous saying "As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs" is attributed to him. Tetzel, who became a Dominican friar and antagonist of Luther, was born in 1465 at no. 19 Schmiedestrasse in Pirna. The house is still lived in today but can be viewed from the outside.
Despite being the birthplace of Johann Tetzel, the town of Pirna became Protestant in 1539. Antonius Lauterbach, a friend and student of Martin Luther, was Pirna's first Protestant priest and the dean at St. Mary's Church. The church is one of the largest late-Gothic hall churches in Saxony.
Pirna is a picture-postcard town: the silhouette of the striking church spires are set against the vineyards of the Dresden Elbe Valley. Lovingly restored period houses with magnificent gables and bay windows line the cobbled streets and lanes of the town. It's no coincidence that in the 18th century the famous Italian painter Bernardo Bellotto, known as Canaletto, painted more scenes of Pirna than of Dresden.
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