Introducing Lutherstadt Wittenberg
As its full name suggests, Wittenberg is first and foremost about Martin Luther (1483–1546), the monk who triggered the German Reformation by publishing his 95 theses against church corruption in 1517. A university town since 1502, Wittenberg back then was a hotbed of progressive thinking that also saw priests get married and educators like Luther buddy Philipp Melanchthon argue for schools to accept female pupils. Today Wittenberg retains its significance for the world’s 340 million Protestants, including 66 million Lutherans, as well as for those who simply admire Luther for his principled stand against authority. Sometimes called the ‘Rome of the Protestants’, its many Reformation-related sites garnered it the World Heritage Site nod from Unesco in 1996.
As a result, Wittenberg’s popularity has steadily grown since reunification and – like it or not – even a nascent Luther industry has developed. 'Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders’ (Here I stand. I can do no other), Luther had declared after being asked to renounce his Reformist views at the Diet of Worms. Today, you can buy souvenir socks bearing the same credo.