Germany: Parks and Castles in the East - paulsmit
'Wartburg, Eisenach.'

After Luther had been banned following his 95 theses against the catholic church, he was abducted. It was a clever move by Friedrich der Weise (Frederick the Wise) - Luther's protector - to have him kidnapped and then hidden in his own castle, disguised as Junker Jörg. Now everyone thought him to be dead.

Luther's stay in the Wartburg has been of great significance for Germany. On Friedrich's advice (who remained catholic himself) Luther set himself to the enormous task of translating the Bible into ordinary German. It helped keep depression at bay during the months he was isolated in his little room high in the castle (photo). The result wasn't just beneficial to the Reformation, but to the German language as well. Luther had listened to the man in the street to make sure that God's word would be understood. And in doing so he laid the foundation for the modern German language.

Hundreds of tourists a day are being led around the Wartburg and get to see Luther's little room. As the story goes Luther once saw the devil, and in his fear threw the inkpot to its head. Unfortunately the resulting ink spot has disappeared, as too many fingers have touched it. In the course of the centuries Luther's desk disappeared as well, taken home by pilgrims, splinter by splinter, as a souvenir. The desk you see here was taken from the furniture at his parents' home. Photo Paul Smit.