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In Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet", Hamlet and his good friend, Horatio, studied together at the University of Wittenberg.
The city's main street is called the "Historical Mile", its buildings and monuments reminding us that the Leucorea University of Wittenberg was one of Europe's strongest intellectual powerhouses just 500 years ago. Scholars, philosophers, and artists like the Reformation painter Lucas Cranach the Elder flocked to the city at this time, the traces of which can still be seen today. An abundance of impressive Renaissance buildings originating in the 16th century still grace Wittenberg's lovely cityscape, standing in brilliant contrast to the city's Hundertwasser School with its crazy angles, bursts of color, and striking green roof. The Luther Garden provides for even more nature, inviting visitors to stroll down tree-lined avenues, meander through fragrant orchards, and let the entire Luther experience sink in while relaxing on a plaza in the shape of a Luther Rose.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts the world's largest museum on Reformation history. Once an Augustinian monastery, the Luther House was home to Martin Luther and his family for many years. Today, the exhibition "Martin Luther: Life, work, and legacy" transports visitors back to Reformation times with fascinating exhibits such as Luther's Living Room, Lucas Cranach the Elder's Ten Commandments, and a Lutheran Bible from 1534.
Built in 1536, this Renaissance style house is one of the city's greatest architectural gems. Today, its exhibition "Philipp Melanchthon: Life – Work – Legacy" provides an intimate look at the private life of one of its most famous inhabitants: The humanist and reformer, Phillipp Melanchthon. Central exhibits include the Augsburg Confession, a document dating back to 1530, as well as a larger-than-life portrait of Melanchthon by Lucas Cranach the Younger.
Although it can't be confirmed, legend has it that Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door; today, guests can find them engraved on massive bronze doors erected in memory of the act that sparked the Reformation. An impressive architectural jewel in and of itself, the Castle Church is also the final resting place of Martin Luther and his best friend, Philipp Melanchthon.
Also known as the "Mother Church of the Reformation", St. Mary's Town Church is the city's oldest building. More importantly, it witnessed Luther's marriage to Katharina von Bora in 1525, as well as the baptism of all their children. Today, people come from around the world to see the breathtaking altarpiece by Lucas Cranach the Elder and his son; mounted in 1547, its style and message represent the shift in religious artwork that occurred at that time.
These two listed buildings are living tributes to Lucas Cranach the Elder's mighty legacy, providing space for artists to meet and hone their craft. The Cranach House also features an intriguing exhibition on the Reformation painter's life and work. Cranach spent 45 years of his life right here in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, running an art studio, farm, pharmacy, and printing company – the exact same company to print the first copies of Luther's German translation of the New Testament.