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Wittenberg - the Heart of the Reformation

Old Town in Wittenberg
Castle Church

When first arriving in Wittenberg, it’s hard to imagine that this sleepy little town was once the center of a controversy that eventually changed the church forever and, in fact, changed the world as we know it today. The controversy that I speak of is, of course, the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther. Wittenberg is considered the epicenter of the Reformation as Luther lived and worked here for most of his life.

Wittenberg is situated on the River Elbe 56 miles southwest of Berlin. It’s population in 2018 was 46,000 but has lost more people throughout the COVID period.

Paul at the tomb of Phillip Melanchthon

This town became an important regional political and cultural center at the end of the 15th century, when Frederick III "the Wise", the Elector of Saxony from 1486 to 1525, made his residence in Wittenberg. The second bridge over the Elbe River was built from 1487 through 1490 and the castle church was erected from 1496 through 1506. The Elector's palace was rebuilt at the same time.

In 1502 Elector Frederick founded the University of Wittenberg, which attracted some important thinkers, such as Martin Luther—a professor of theology beginning in 1508—and Philipp Melanchthon—a professor of Greek starting in 1518.