Wartburg Castle, eisenach

The Wartburg Castle was originally built in the Middle Ages overlooking the town of Eisenach. From May 1521 to March 1522, Martin Luther stayed at the Wartburg under the name of Junker Jörg (the Knight George), after he had been taken there for his safety following his refusal to recant at the Diet of Worms and subsequent excommunication by Pope Leo X. It was during this period that Luther translated the New Testament from Ancient Greek into German in just ten weeks. The Wartburg is also the supposed setting for the legendary Sängerkrieg, a contest among minstrels (Minnesänger) in 1207. The legend of this event was later used by Richard Wagner in his opera Tannhäuser, whose Act II is set in the Wartburg’s Sängerhalle. The Festsaal on the top floor of the castle continues to serve as an important venue for concerts, lectures and other important cultural events.