Hartenfels Castle, Torgau
Hartenfels Castle, Torgau ©Christof Herdt
Spiritual travel from A to Z

The Castle Church in Torgau – the world's first Protestant church building

It would be wrong to claim that Luther's Reformation started in the Saxon town of Torgau. But we do know that Luther delivered his only inaugural church sermon here. This meant that the Castle Church in Torgau was the world's first newly built Protestant church, and it had a long-lasting influence on Protestant church buildings thereafter.

If it weren't for the lavishly decorated door by the Torgau-based sculptor Simon Schröter, passers-by would not notice that a house of God stood behind it. In 1544, elector Johann the Magnanimous had the castle chapel built for his residential palace. It was low-key, incorporated into the façade of one of the wings of the castle. It was not supposed to be a fantastic building; or as Luther put it during his inaugural sermon: "as if it were better than other places where God's word is preached".

The inside consists of a highly structured, tall three-storey hall with stone galleries. It also features a pulpit opposite the entrance, as well as symmetrical longitudinal galleries with an altar and the organ above it on the left and the electoral galleries on the right. It is a church that meets the liturgical requirements for preaching, communal prayer and sacramental liturgy. The design is impressively simple and has mainly been preserved in its original form, even to this day. With its church, Hartenfels Castle also became the town's political and religious centre. Nowadays, Torgau along with Wittenberg and Eisleben are considered some of the major Luther sites.

The Castle Church in Torgau

Opening hours:

Entry: paid

Nearest train station: Leipzig

For group tours (including the Castle Church) and general information,
call +49 (0)3421 70140

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