Thuringia Wappen     Fulda, Kassel, Wittenberg und Erfurt     Fulda Wappen

When you look at the region, roughly bounded by the triangle of three cities, Fulda, Kassel and Erfurt, you are at the heart of Germany, today and in the past. From here Saint Boniface indirectly evangelized all the Germanic tribes through his disciples and the Benedictine monastery at Fulda (where he is buried). Fulda is in the Northwestern reaches of Hessen. From its foundation within the great abbey, Fulda and its territory under an Imperial grant were subject only to the German emperor. Downstream and North (still in Hessen) is Kassel, historic home of the Chatten in Germany. Fulda lends its name to the Fulda Gap, a traditional east-west invasion route east used by Napoleon and others. During the Cold War, the former East/West German border passed just east of Fulda, and a massive contingent of Soviet and East German forces were stationed in the area, because it was considered to be a potential invasion route for Communist forces into the West.

Between 790 and 819 the Fulda religious community members rebuilt the main monastery church. They based the design of the new structure on the 4th-century version of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. The transept and crypt plan announced to the world that theirs was a great pilgrimage church for the "Apostle to the Germans." The crypt of the original abbey church still exits and holds its relics, but the building itself has been absorbed into a Baroque-style renovation. A small, 9th century chapel remains standing within walking distance. Fulda experienced a building campaign in the 18th century, resulting in its current “Baroque City” classification. This process included the changes to the Dom (Cathedral) of Fulda (1704-1712) and the Stadtschloss (Castle-Palace, 1707-1712) by Johann Dientzenhofer.

The Fulda Stadtpfarrkirche, St. Blasius (city-parish kirche), was built between 1771 and 1785. The organ is small, but well-known. A church dedicated to the same Saint in Salzburg, is the oldest extant gothic-style church in Austria (1350). Saint Blasius was Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia (Bisschop en Martelaar) and most of the acounts place his martyrdom in the reign of Licinius (about 316AD). As these reports may rest on old traditions that track the veneration of Saint Blasius in the liturgy; thus, they are not to be absolutely rejected. In Bromley (England) the St. Blaze's Well contains water once considered to have medicinal virtues -- per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo. Finally, at Braunschweig is a stunning 12th Century Cathedral dedicated to Saint Blasius, a city's whose symbol is the Burglöwe from 1166AD (representing Henry the Lion who made this city his home). Braunschweig is also the hometown of a man named George, who would be the first ruler of that name in England.

Flea Market in Göttingen Kassel, the land of Grimm, was the center of Calvinist-leaning Protestantism in Germany. The oldest monument is the Druselturm. The Brüderkirche and the St. Martin Church are also in part of medieval origin, but the towers of St. Martin are from after World War II. The historic buildings have survived are mainly outside the citty-centre. Wilhelmshöhe Palace, overlooking the city, was built in 1786 by landgrave Wilhelm IX of Hesse-Kassel. In Kassel you are not far from a city of beautiful original churches, Göttingen in Lower Saxony (to the NW on the A9 -- an image to the right of one of the public squares).

The frequently repeated legend among its citizens states that Kassel almost became the provisional capital of the Federal Republic of Germany (1949). The interim parliament (Parlamentarischer Rat) was considering at that time a new capital location. The former one, Berlin, remained a special administrative region, controlled directly by the Allies and surrounded by the Soviet zone of occupation. Soviet mischief always threatened the city with permanent isolation. The government considered a number of hosts, but Kassel lost in the first round. Most of the members of the German constitutional assembly (as well as the U.S. Supreme Command) favored Frankfurt am Main. Indeed, the local administration had already begun constructing a plenary assembly hall. In the end the nation chose Bonn, because Chancellor Konrad Adenauer intervened. Bonn was only fifteen kilometers away from his hometown. Kassel another city of Lions: Watch all of the display at the top of the page.

Erfurt and nearby Gera, Jena, Eisenach and Weimar are in today's Freistaat Thüringen. Weimar has been one of the great cultural centers of Europe, having been home to such luminaries as Bach, Goethe, Schiller, and Herder; and in music, the piano virtuosi Hummel (a pupil of Mozart) and Liszt. On December 23, 1893, Hänsel und Gretel premiered in Weimar. The production is conducted by Richard Strauss. The area has been the pilgrimage site for the German intelligentsia since Goethe first moved to Weimar in the late 18th century. The tombs of Goethe and Schiller as well as their archives, may be found here. The period in German history from 1919 to 1933 commonly is referred to as the Weimar Republic, because the Republic's constitution was drafted here. The capital, Berlin, with its street rioting after the 1918 German Revolution, was considered too dangerous for the National Assembly to use it as a meeting place. Weimar was the center of the Bauhaus movement until it moved to Dessau.

Since the Reunification of Germany on October 3, 1990, Erfurt is the main city nearest to the geographical centre of the country. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian Basin, within the wide valley of Gera River. Named after the Thuringii tribe who occupied it ca. AD 300, historic Thüringen came under Frankish domination in the 6th century, forming a part of the subsequently established Holy Roman Empire. Thuringia became a landgraviate in 1130. After the extinction of the reigning Ludowingian line of counts in 1247 and the War of the Thuringian Succession (1247–1264), the western half became independent under the name of Hessen (Hesse), never to become a part of Thuringia again. After July 1945, the remaining portion of Thuringia came under the Soviet occupation zone, which was expanded to include parts of Prussian Saxony, such as the areas around Erfurt, Mühlhausen, and Nordhausen. Erfurt became the new capital of Thuringia.

Erfurt is first found mentioned in 742 under the name of Erphesfurt. A trading town during the Middle Ages, near a ford across the Gera river, it and 5 other towns in the Thüringen forest were Germany's chief source of wood. Erfurt has preserved an intact medieval city-centre. Erfurt Cathedral (Mariendom) and Severikirche, which stand directly side by side, remain emblematic of the city. The Krämerbrücke, a bridge crossing the narrow Gera River covered with 32 inhabited buildings, arose in 1325 with a church sitting on either bridgehead, one of which, the Ägidienkirche, still functions. The Augustinerkloster is the monastery where Martin Luther boarded while studying at the University. Bach's parents married in a small church (1668), the Kaufmannskirche (Merchant's Church), which still lies on the main square, Anger. Johann Pachelbel served as organist at the Prediger church in Erfurt. Pachelbel composed approximately seventy pieces for organ while there. At one time Erfurt had the title erfordia turrita, meaning Erfurt city of towers and spires, because of the city’s 36 parish churches and chapels as well as its 15 monasteries and other ecclesiastical buildings. A few Pics and small city map

Further to the west is Eisenach. It contains the place where Martin Luther lived as a child, although he was not born there. He also received protection there by Frederick the Wise after having been pursued for his religious views. While he was staying at Wartburg Castle, he translated the New Testament into German. The Lutherhaus is one of the oldest and most picturesque half-timbered buildings remaining in Eisenach. Martin Luther is said to have lived here as a pupil during his school days in Eisenach from 1498-1501. From a later period, the Bachhaus was the first museum world-wide to be dedicated to the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1907. The house, while over 600 years old, stands near the place of the house in which Bach was born (March 21, 1685). He was baptized at Georgenkirche on the market square. The church at the market square, was first built in the 12th century and later reconstructed in Baroque style (the tower was added even later in 1902). In more ancient history, Sainte Elisabeth was married there to Landgrave Ludwig IV in 1221.

A more-than-life-size figure portrays Johann Sebastian Bach in his St. Thomas's choir-master's clothes and wig near the house (Frauenplan). Located on Karlsplatz, the monument to Martin Luther was dedicated on May 4, 1895, on the 374th anniversary of Luther's arrival at Wartburg Castle. The more-than-life-size statue of Martin Luther on a pedestal also has reliefs depicting several events in his life leading up to and including his stay in Eisenach, as well as the title of one of his most famous hymns, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." Both monuments were designed by Adolf von Donndorf. The Nikolai church, located on the Karlsplatz, is dedicated to Saint Nicholas and adjoins the former city gate, the Nikolaitor, which is the only one remaining of the original five gates. Nikolaikirche was the parish church for the Benedictine convent located in the area. This triple-naved basilica was built in 1180 and is considered the last remaining example of the Romanesque architecture in Thuringia.

Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott (A mighty fortress is our God) is a chorale cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. The work had found its present form by 1744 or earlier, but was first performed between 1727 and 1731. Most of the cantatas that Bach composed in Leipzig were intended for Sunday services, but Ein' feste Burg was his contribution to a festival celebrating the Reformation. Indeed, the particular association of this chorale melody, written by Martin Luther, with the founding of the Lutheran denomination continued into the nineteenth century. Felix Mendelssohn's used it in the finale of his Reformation symphony.

Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott,
Ein gute Wehr und Waffen;
Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,
Die uns jetzt hat betroffen.
Der alt’ böse Feind,
Mit Ernst er’s jetzt meint,
Gross’ Macht und viel List
Sein’ grausam’ Ruestung ist,
Auf Erd’ ist nicht seingleichen. (1529)
Based on Psalm 46
A mighty fortress is our God, a trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need that hath us now overtaken.
The old evil foe now means deadly woe; deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight; on Earth is not his equal.

Denn alle Schrift, von Gott eingegeben, ist nütze zur Lehre, zur Strafe, zur Besserung, zur Züchtigung in der Gerechtigkeit, daß ein Mensch Gottes sei vollkommen, zu allem guten Werk geschickt. 2 Timotheus 3:16-17 (Luther Bibel 1545) ... we must pay just as much attention to the language we are translating into as we do the language we are translating from. If we do not, we {may} create translation problems .... Online Translations

Wittenberg (Lutherstadt) is just east of Dessau and almost due north of Leipzig, a third of the way to Berlin. In German folklore rain on St. Wolfgang's day (October 31st) is regarded as promising a good year -- An St. Wolfgang Regen verspricht ein Jahr voll Segen. Le 31 octobre 1512 est inaugurée la fresque de la chapelle Sixtine. Le 31 octobre 1517: Un moine affiche sur la porte de l'église de Wittenberg (Saxe) 95 thèses où il dénonce les scandales de l'Église de son temps. Martin Luther posts his 95 theses on the wooden doors of the Hofkirche in Wittenberg (All Saints was the Castle Church). The church still stands, though the original doors are gone. The doors have been replaced with bronze doors with the 95 theses embossed onto them ... see Numbers 21:4-9 and Enchiridion piarum precationum: cum Passionali ut uocant, quibus accessit nouum calendarium cum cisio iano uetere & nouo, atque alijs quibusdam, ut patet ex indice, Martin Luther (1543) And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had burned incense to it; it was called Nehushtan   see 2 Kings 18:1-6.

Since the inception of the Reformation, until the latter part of the 19th century, the Protestant church would have correctly been called “the church transformed,” but not since. In fact, we find ourselves in need of a new reformation. Many Christians today know nothing of this great time-period in the history of Christ’s church.

Turm-Schlosskirche Interestingly in 2007, this day saw the ancient church, Emmaus Kirche, arrive at its new home in the eastern part of Germany (Saxony) near Leipzig. The 700 ton (750 tonnes) stone structure is moving a few miles from Heuersdorf to Borna out of necessity Its former home is being swallowed by an open pit lignite (brown-coal) mine. This village church dates from the Middle Ages (circa 1297) of Romanesque style, one of many old buildings being lost in the area. The Kirche will squeeze into Martin Luther Square in Borna on Reformation Day (October 31st), when Lutherans traditionally remember 16th-Century reformer. Reuters story; Der Spiegel (an English version with much detail) and The Path less Travelled -- Deutsche Welle

The historic importance of Wittenberg reflects the seat of the Elector of Saxony, a dignity held by the dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg and the town's close connection with Martin Luther at the dawn of the Protestant Reformation; several of its buildings are associated closely with the events of this time. Part of the Augustinian monastery in which Luther dwelt, first as a monk and later as owner with his wife and family, is preserved and considered to be the world's premier museum dedicated to Luther. Unlike many other historic German cities during World War II, Wittenberg was spared destruction during the war. The Allies agreed not to bomb Wittenberg. Wittenberg was occupied by Soviet forces, and became part of the German Democratic Republic in 1949.

Modern Map to go Here

A few German Cities: Lörrach {twin city of Sens} -- Mainz -- Trier and Aachen -- Frankfurt -- Köln / Cologne -- Dresden -- Essen -- Duisburg, Düsseldorf und Dortmund -- Düren, Bonn und Koblenz -- Baden-Baden, Karlsruhe, Speyer, Kaiserslautern und Saarbrücken -- Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Stuttgart und Tübingen -- Mannheim, Worms, Darmstadt und Würzburg -- Magdeburg, Halle (Saale), Dessau und Leipzig -- Münster -- Lübeck, Kiel, Rostock und Schwerin -- Lorch (Württemberg), Schwäbisch_Gmünd, Ulm, Augsburg, Ingolstadt und Regensburg -- Bremen, Hamburg und Hanover -- Switzerland: Geneva -- Bern, Basel and Zürich

Celtic/Frank History -- Germaniæ Historiæ -- Anglo Saxons

New: March 11, 2009