Luther Memorials World Heritage Site
The Luther Sites in Central Germany are sites of the Reformation and thus sites of one of the most significant events of the religious and political history of the world.
As authentic places for the events in the life of Martin Luther and of the Reformation, the Luther Sites bear witness to the architectural, economic, political, spiritual, scientific, artistic and social milieu of the Reformation period. Their exceptional importance extends far beyond the borders of Germany.
In December 1996, UNESCO recognised the Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg as part of the cultural heritage of humanity. These buildings represent ‘a significant stage in human history’ and are ‘of outstanding universal value bearing unique testimony to the Protestant Reformation’, according to the decision document.
The Luther Memorials rank among the earliest museums in Germany dedicated to a person and his or her work and legacy. Luther’s Birthplace has been a memorial since 1693, and a museum was established in the Death House between 1892 and 1894. The Luther House, where Luther lived with his family until the end of his life, became a destination for visitors soon after Luther’s death. The original Lutherstube, Martin Luther’s living room, was already referred to as the ‘Museum Lutheri’ in 1655. The entire house became a museum in 1883.
Another important memorial to the Reformation is the Melanchthon House , the former residence of the humanist and reformer Philipp Melanchthon that has remained virtually unchanged to this day. Melanchthon lived and worked in Wittenberg for nearly 42 years, longer than any other reformer. In addition, the St. Mary Church in Wittenberg, the town church where Martin Luther preached his sermons, and the Castle Church, with the door where Luther nailed up his theses and housing the graves of both leading reformers, also rank as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites.