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Luther memorials in Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Bavaria and Thuringia

Date of Submission: 15/01/2015
Criteria: (iv)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of Germany to UNESCO
Ref.: 5986
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

1. Luther’s birthplace

Eisleben

inscribed

Z: 32 U / E: 676889 / N: 5711503

2. House in which Luther died

Eisleben

inscribed

Z: 32 U / E: 676487 / N: 5711613

3. Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Eisleben

submitted

Z: 32 U / E: 676847 / N: 5711412

4. St. Anne’s Church

Eisleben

submitted

Z: 32 U / E: 675982 / N: 5711711

5. St. Andrew’s Church

Eisleben

submitted

Z: 32 U / E: 676527 / N: 5711652

6. Home of the Luther family (Luther’s parents’ house)

Mansfeld

submitted

Z: 32 U / E: 669967 / N: 5718753

7. St. George’s Church

Mansfeld

submitted

Z: 32 U / E: 669906 / N: 5718658

8. Castle

Wittenberg

submitted

Z: 33 U / E: 337351 / N: 5748767

9. Castle church

Wittenberg

inscribed

Z: 33 U / E: 337376 / N: 5748817

10. Luther Hall

Wittenberg

inscribed

Z: 33 U / E: 338364 / N: 5748516

11. Collegium Augusteum

Wittenberg

submitted

Z: 33 U / E: 338378 / N: 5748570

12. Town and parish church of St. Mary’s

Wittenberg

inscribed

Z: 33 U / E: 337834 / N: 5748824

13. Bugenhagen’s house

Wittenberg

submitted

Z: 33 U / E: 337900 / N: 5748852

14. Melanchthon’s house

Wittenberg

inscribed

Z: 33 U / E: 338270 / N: 5748605

15. Cranach houses

Wittenberg

submitted

Z: 33 U / E: 337682 / N: 5748786

Z: 33 U / E: 337758 / N: 5748766

16. Hartenfels castle and castle church

Torgau

submitted

Z: 33 U / E: 361987 / N: 5713898

17. Fortress (Veste)

Coburg

submitted

Z: 32 U / E: 644888 / N: 5648794

18. Augustinian monastery

Erfurt

inscribed

Z: 32 U / E: 641210 / N: 5569837


The birthplace of the Reformation was in central Germany, a region which today more or less corresponds to the three federal states of Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony.

In the late Middle Ages and early modern era, this was a politically, culturally, religiously and economically dynamic region characterised by specific power relationships and social milieus. It was from here in 1517 that a movement emerged which was to spread around the whole world. Considerable parts of this cultural landscape of the Reformation were in the territory of the House of Wettin, i.e. the Electors and Dukes of Saxony (the Ernestinian and Albertinian lines); in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, the Wettins were among the most powerful rulers in the German Empire. (Coburg was also ruled by the Saxon dukes during the Reformation period – it did not join Bavaria until 1923.) Yet even powerful dynasties of counts such as the Counts of Mansfeld were advocates of reform.

This historic cultural landscape, which is still notable today for its wealth of monuments from the late Middle Ages and early modern era, is also home to the chosen group of Reformation sites. These are a cross-section of the specific categories of buildings which played an important role in the history of the Reformation.

Some were the sites of important events or where crucial ideas were formed, while others are memorials; some, indeed, are both.

Monument

Category at the time of the Reformation

Event and/or idea

Memorial site

3. St. Peter and St. Paul

Town and parish church

 

5. St. Andrew’s

Town and parish church

7. St. George’s

Town and parish church

 

12. St. Mary’s

Town and parish church

4. St. Anne’s

Monastery

 

8. Castle

Castle

 

17. Fortress

Castle

9. Castle church

Castle church

16. Hartenfels castle and castle church

Castle church

11. Collegium Augusteum

University building

10. Luther Hall

Occupied by academics

14. Melanchthon’s house

Occupied by academics

13. Bugenhagen’s house

Parsonage

 

15. Cranach houses

Artists’ houses

 

1. Luther’s birthplace

Residential

 

6. Home of the Luther family (Luther’s parents’ house)

Residential

 

2. House in which Luther died

Residential

 

 

18. Augustinian monastery

Church and monastery

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The Reformation memorials in central Germany are a testament to the political, economic, social, scientific, spiritual, architectural and artistic environment in which the Reformation took place.

The chosen locations and buildings are places where events of lasting importance occurred in the collective memory, places of political and religious practice. They are the most important locations where the ideas behind the Reformation were developed and taught. It was here that the thoughts and ideas, the writings of the main protagonists, the works of art, originated.

The sites link together to form a historic cultural landscape of the Reformation. Topography, settlements, buildings, archaeological remains and artistic and cultural treasures form a multi-layered network of important objects and places. At the time of the Reformation, the castles and church buildings to be found here were still newly built.

The individuals, events, ideas and achievements of the Reformation were kept alive at these locations over the centuries by preserving the past and/or refurbishing these locations in contemporary style. They are the most important memorial sites of the Reformation anywhere in the world, and not only for Protestants.

The buildings represent the beginning of a chapter in human history characterised by a division between faiths in the Christian world which has continued to the present day, but which has also had an impact on entire countries and regions and has thereby contributed considerably to the diversity of our lives in terms of culture and the way in which we see the world. The Reformation embodies one of the most serious and lasting changes in the development of theology, church nd society in Europe in early modern times. This has resulted in the emergence of Protestant national churches and sectarian-based territorial states. 

Criterion (iv): The Luther Memorials in Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Bavaria and Thuringia are artistic monuments of high quality, with their furnishings conveying a vivid picture of a historic era of world and ecclesiastical importance.

Criterion (vi): The Luther Memorials in Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Bavaria and Thuringia are of Outstanding Universal Value bearing unique testimony to the Protestant Reformation, one of the most significant events in the religious and political history of the world, and constitute exceptional examples of 19th/20thcentury historicism.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The buildings are to varying degrees, but always to a large extent, authentic buildings from the late Middle Ages or early modern era in terms of both their fabric and their appearance.

As is the case with all historic buildings, later periods have also left their mark. In the 19th century in particular, when commemorating the locations, protagonists and events of the Reformation was high on the agenda, including the political agenda, and when it became commonplace to preserve historic
buildings and refurbish them stylistically, the appearance of all of the Reformation sites was regenerated. But since these makeovers were in keeping with the memorial culture of the time and are themselves valuable for our understanding of the history of art and culture, they actually enhance rather than reducing the authenticity of the sites.

Over the centuries and throughout the last few generations in particular, they have all been repaired and maintained with a view to preserving their fabric and appearance.

Comparison with other similar properties

Other Reformation sites have been excluded from this group. Either the events which took place there do not occupy the same position of central importance in the collective memory of Protestantism, or the Protestant religion was not practiced there subsequently, or there was no religio-political cult of memorial. This is true of the Cathedral and the Church of St. Ulrich and St. Afra in Augsburg, which remained Catholic churches.

In Worms, the building where the Diet was held has been completely lost; no authentic fabric remains. Wartburg castle in Eisenach is a special case: it would of course be worthy of nomination as a Reformation site, had it not already been inscribed on the World Heritage List on its own merits for another reason.