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Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle blends superbly into its forest surroundings and is in many ways 'the ideal castle'. Although it has retained some original sections from the feudal period, the form it acquired during the 19th-century reconstitution gives a good idea of what this fortress might have been at the height of its military and seigneurial power. It was during his exile at Wartburg Castle that Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German.

La Wartburg

La forteresse de Wartburg, superbement intégrée dans un paysage de forêt, est en quelque sorte le « château idéal ». Tout en comportant des parties d'origine, datant de la période féodale, sa silhouette établie lors des reconstitutions du XIXe siècle est une très bonne évocation de ce que pouvait être cette forteresse à l'époque de sa puissance militaire et seigneuriale. C'est pendant son séjour clandestin à la Wartburg que Martin Luther traduisit en allemand le Nouveau Testament.

قلعة الفارتبورغ

تُعتبر قلعة الفارتبورغ التي تندمج بطريقة رائعة في الغابة المحيطة بها شبيهة "بالقصر المثالي". فهي تشمل الأقسام الأصلية التي تعود إلى الحقبة الإقطاعية، إلا أن شكلها الحالي الذي تبلور خلال عملية إعادة الترميم في القرن التاسع عشر يعبّر بشكل كبير عمّا كانت عليه تلك القلعة في فترة عظمتها العسكرية والإقطاعية. وكان مارتن لوثر كينغ في خلال إقامته السرّية في وارتبورغ قد ترجم العهد الجديد (الأناجيل) إلى الألمانية.

source: UNESCO/ERI

瓦尔特堡城堡

瓦尔特堡与周围的森林完美地融为一体,从许多方面来看,它都是一座“理想城堡”。尽管这里还保留着一些封建原始建筑,但19世纪重建后的形态则展示了这座城堡在军事和权力巅峰时的风采。马丁·路德正是流放在瓦尔特堡时,将《新约》翻译成了德文。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Замок Вартбург

Замок Вартбург великолепно вписан в свое лесное окружение, и во многих отношениях является «идеальным замком». Хотя он и сохранил некоторые оставшиеся от времен феодализма первоначальные черты, формы, приобретенные им в ходе реконструкции в XIХ в., создают цельный образ крепости, находящейся на вершине своего военного могущества и власти над вассалами. Именно во время своей ссылки в замок Вартбург Мартин Лютер перевел на немецкий язык Новый Завет.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Fortaleza de Wartburgo

La fortaleza de Wartburgo, magníficamente integrada en el paisaje de bosques que la circundan, es en cierto modo el “castillo ideal”. Conserva algunas de sus elementos primigenios, que datan la época feudal. Su perfil actual es producto de las reconstituciones efectuadas en el siglo XIX y evoca lo que debió ser esta fortaleza en tiempos del apogeo del poderío militar de sus señores. Martín Lutero tradujo aquí el Nuevo Testamento del griego al alemán.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ヴァルトブルク城

source: NFUAJ

Kasteel Wartburg

Kasteel Wartburg vermengt zich prachtig met zijn bosrijke omgeving en is in veel opzichten ‘het ideale kasteel’. Hoewel het een aantal originele onderdelen uit de feodale periode heeft behouden, geeft de vorm die het kreeg tijdens de reconstructie in de 19e eeuw een goed idee van hoe dit fort geweest moet zijn op het hoogtepunt van zijn militaire macht en die van zijn landheer. Het kasteel geldt ook als een krachtig symbool van de Duitse integratie en eenheid. Maarten Luther zat in ballingschap op de Wartburg, in die tijd vertaalde hij het Nieuwe Testament in het Duits.

Source: unesco.nl

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Wartburg Castle © OUR PLACE
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Wartburg Castle blends superbly into its forest surroundings and is in many ways "the ideal castle". Although it contains some sections of great antiquity, it acquired the current layout over the course of 19th-century reconstructions. This renewal of interest was justified by its symbolic nature for the German people, and today the castle continues to be a symbol of the nation's past and present. Its current state is a splendid example of what this fortress might have been at the peak of its military and seigneurial power.

Wartburg Castle is perched at a height of some 400 m above the delightful countryside, south of the city of Eisenach in Thuringia in central Germany. Its varied aspect and the sense of harmony it evokes are only two of its attractions for visitors. What makes Wartburg Castle such a magnet for memory, tradition, and pilgrimage is that it stands as a monument to the cultural history of Germany, Europe, and beyond.

Lutherans the world over know of the castle as the very place where Martin Luther made his translation of the Bible. The veneration of Saint Elizabeth, which extends far beyond the frontiers of Germany, includes Wartburg Castle where she lived and worked. The patronage of Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia, occupies an extraordinary place in the creation of a national literary tradition. In poetry and in legends, Wartburg Castle, the medieval Court of the Muses, bears an undying reputation through the names of Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. While these authors represented the first steps in German literature, and Martin Luther's translation of the New Testament marked the creation of a unified and accessible written German language, Wartburg Castle is also associated with the beginnings of a bourgeois and democratic nation, through the content and effects of the Wartburg festival of German students' associations. From the very earliest days of its existence, this fortress of the Landgraves of Thuringia has repeatedly acted as a venue for and witness of historic events and activities worthy of renown as a monument to national and world history.

The artistic and architectural importance of the palace, built in the second half of the 12th century, is no less significant. In execution and ornamentation, it is unrivalled and represents one of the best-preserved secular constructions from the late Norman period to be found on German soil. Thanks to this broad range of religious content and historic data, and because of its significance in the history of the arts, Wartburg Castle attracts around half a million visitors every year, from all over the world.

Criterion (iii): The Wartburg Castle is an outstanding monument of the feudal period in central Europe.

Criterion (vi): The Wartburg Castle is rich in cultural associations, most notably its role as the place of exile of Martin Luther, who composed his German translation of the New Testament there. It is also a powerful symbol of German integration and unity.

Integrity

The Wartburg Castle includes all elements necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of a venue for and witness of historic events. It is of adequate size to ensure the features and processes, which convey the significance of the property.

Authenticity

The stone-built palace in its lower sections is an important example of civilian architecture of the Norman period. The same can be said of the masonry sections of the rampart and the South Tower. The remainder of the property is a reconstruction carried out under the influence of romantic ideas together, in this particular case, with an attempt to resurrect forms that would bear witness to the presence of the great historical personages who once inhabited the castle (St Elizabeth, Luther, etc) and offer an illustration of a political idea in search of national unity. The conditions of authenticity may be defined here in the light of two principles: archaeological authenticity found mainly in the palace, and fortifications; and symbolic authenticity, where the form matters less than the idea it represents. This is not simply a building, but architectural work of art, one of great quality, expressive of a true idea.

Protection and management requirements

The Wartburg Castle is covered by protective legislation at regional (State of Thuringia) and municipal levels. The listed monument encompasses the entire hill on which the castle is built. The protected area of Wartburg is part of the planning zone of Eisenach, which restricts all forms of development around the monument. Much of the wooded hillside below the castle is designated as a nature protection area (NSG) and fulfils the function as a buffer zone for the property.

The property is owned by the Wartburg Foundation of Eisenach, established in 1992. The Foundation is a legal entity under civil law, with its headquarters in Eisenach. The property is administered by the Stiftungsrat der Wartburg-Stiftung (Board of Directors of the Wartburg Foundation) in conjunction with the Thuringian Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture (Office for the Protection of Historic Monuments of the State of Thuringia).

Funding is provided by the following sources: Bundesministerium des Inneren (Federal Ministry of the Interior), Thüringer Ministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur (Thuringian Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture), Thüringisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie (Office of the State of Thuringia for the Preservation of Historic Monuments and Archaeology), and the Foundation's own funds.

The above bodies are also responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the property, in conjunction with the Bauhütte der Wartburg team. A management plan describing the management system, the management requirements, and visitor management has been set up. 

Long Description

The Castle of Wartburg is an outstanding monument of the feudal period in central Europe. It is rich in cultural associations, most notably its role as the place of exile of Martin Luther, who composed his German translation of the New Testament there. It is also a powerful symbol of German integration and unity.

The legendary creation of the castle is attributed to Count Ludwig der Springer. The first steps in its construction were taken in 1067, and it became one of the key points in the early years of Ludovician sovereignty. This sovereignty grew more firmly established during the first half of the 12th century. Raised to the dignity of Landgraves, the Ludovicians supported the policies of the Stauffen emperors. The building of the palace in the second half of the 12th century illustrates their status as Princes of the Empire. In 1227 Heinrich Raspe IV, the brother of Ludwig IV, succeeded him and, espousing the pope's cause, was appointed King of Germany on the initiative of Innocent IV. His death in 1247 ended the Ludovician dynasty.

The Margrave of Wettin, Heinrich von Meissen, took possession of Wartburg. The transfer of the seat of power to Gotha and subsequently to Weimar at the beginning of the 15th century marked the beginning of the castle's decline. From the 16th century onwards, the castle was kept more or less in a state of repair; although abandoned as a seat of power, its strategic importance was nonetheless highlighted several times. After the Napoleonic wars, a national sentiment emerged which revelled in the image of ancient Germany as symbolized by Wartburg Castle.

In the first half of the 19th century, on the initiative of the Grand Duke of Saxony, the entire site was completely renovated: the remains of the palace were raised from their ruins, the curtain wall restored, and the remainder of the buildings reconstructed under the supervision of architect Hugo von Ritgen. The large parts played by assumptions in the reconstruction have rather more to do with the romantic imagination than with historical reality. In 1945, the bombing of Eisenach spared Wartburg, although the castle was later pillaged by Soviet troops. The German Democratic Republic made Wartburg Castle a national monument; since the reunification of Germany, restoration work has concentrated primarily on the interiors and on the problems of preserving the stonework on the palace facades.

The castle occupies a rocky spur looking north and south, in the midst of the forest that looks down over the city of Eisenach. Its layout corresponds in essence to that of the original fortress, particularly the palace, the ramparts, the South Tower, and the outworks, which are now partially buried or in ruins. In architectural terms, The rocky spur is reached from the northern end, occupied by a tower with a drawbridge, followed by a number of outbuildings which form an outer courtyard. Next follows the lower courtyard, the main features of which are the keep and the palace, onto which the Knights' Baths back. The South Tower marks the farther end of the spur. The centre of the lower courtyard is occupied by a cistern. The fortress is made up of the following constructions:

  • The outworks: all that remain are archaeological traces, outlines of the foundations and ditch of the Fischerturm, the escarpments of the access ramp, and the road, carved from the living rock, leading up to the fortress, as well as the spring of fresh water.
  • The outer defences - the postern gate and drawbridge; the knights' lodging and the commissary buildings; the Marguerite and St Elisabeth wall-walks, the coping of the Wartburg Castle well, worked stone balustrades, stairs also of dressed stone, paved floors, and the surface of the courtyards of the outer wards.
  • The castle comprising the following buildings: belfry; new apartments with fireplace; new monumental staircase; the palace; Knights' Baths; South Tower; west and south curtain walls; cistern; lower castle courtyard; commandant's garden.
Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The legendary creation of Wartburg Castle is attributed to Count Ludwig der Springer. The first steps in its construction were taken in 1067, following the troubles caused by the Investiture Contest, troubles which encouraged the birth of feudalism. The castle is mentioned for the first time in 1080 as a strategic base, one of the key points in the early years of Ludovician sovereignty. This sovereignty grew more firmly established during the first half of the 12th century. Raised to the dignity of landgraves, the Ludovicians supported the policies of the Stauffen emperors. The building of the palace in the second half of the 12th century illustrates their status as Princes of the Empire. Towards the end of the 12th century, a literary court developed at Wartburg castle, attracted by Landgrave Hermann I, who surrounded himself with poets and musicians. The poetry of Walther von der Vogelweide describes the brilliant society life which gave rise to the episode of the singers' tourney at Wartburg Castle, a romanticized version of which inspired Richard Wagner's opera, Tannhäuser.

In 1221 Landgrave Ludwig IV, the son of Hermann, married Elizabeth of Hungary. Widowed in 1227, Elizabeth devoted herself to charitable works to which the Landgrave's family took exception. Driven out of Wartburg Castle with her three children, she founded a hospital in Marburg and lived her life by Franciscan principles. She was canonized in 1235, four years after her death.

Heinrich Raspe IV, the brother of Ludwig IV, succeeded him and, espousing the Pope's cause, was appointed King of Germany on the initiative of Innocent IV. His death in 1247 ended the Ludovician dynasty.

The Margrave of Wettin, Heinrich von Meissen, took possession of Wartburg Castle. Over the next century, the site was to receive a series of new buildings. The transfer of the seat of power to Gotha and subsequently to Weimar at the beginning of the 15th century marked the beginning of the castle's decline.

Under the protection of the Prince Elector of Saxony, Martin Luther stayed at Wartburg Castle in secret. Here he devoted himself to literature, producing a considerable body of work attested by his correspondence, from which many letters have survived. It was at Wartburg Castle that he made his translation of the New Testament into German. His exile came to an end in March 1522 and by the end of the 16th century, the memory of Luther was already attracting large numbers of pilgrims.

From the 16th century onwards, the castle was kept more or less in a state of repair: though abandoned as a seat of power, its strategic importance was nonetheless highlighted several times. The events that had taken place there, and in particular the memory of St Elizabeth and of Luther, were also arguments for its preservation, but neglect gradually led to inevitable dilapidation, which was almost total by the end of the 18th century. Goethe paid a visit in 1777 and made a drawing of the ruin which shows only the palace remaining partially intact. The poet suggested the creation of a museum, justified by the ever-growing numbers of pilgrims. After the Napoleonic wars, a national sentiment emerged which revelled in the image of ancient Germany as symbolized by Wartburg Castle.

In 1817, the students' associations organized an event which set the seal on this tendency, further confirmed by the revolution of March 1848. Wartburg Castle was to remain the headquarters of students' associations for the whole of Germany.

In the first half of the 19th century, on the initiative of the Grand Duke of Saxony, the entire site was completely renovated: the remains of the palace were raised from their ruins, the curtain wall restored, and the remainder of the buildings reconstructed under the supervision of architect Hugo von Ritgen. The large part necessarily played by assumptions in the reconstruction have rather more to do with the romantic imagination than with historical reality. The involvement of renowned artists such as Moritz von Schwind, particularly in his illustration of the life of St Elizabeth, underlines the symbolic nature of the site.

This allegorical monument was for a short time the object of attention from the Nazi regime, but no event of importance was held there over the period, apart from the subjection of the students' associations to the principles of the regime.

In 1945, the bombing of Eisenach spared Wartburg, although the castle was later pillaged by Soviet troops. The German Democratic Republic made Wartburg Castle a national monument, major restoration work was carried out, and numerous commemorative ceremonies were held in connection with the religious connotations and symbolic value of the monument.

Since the reunification of Germany, restoration work has concentrated primarily on the interiors and on the problems of preserving the stonework on the palace facades.

 

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation