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Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle

Overview




The Wartburg is a castle situated on a 1230-foot (410 m) precipice to the southwest of, and overlooking the town of Eisenach
Eisenach
Eisenach is a city in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated between the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the Hainich National Park. Its population in 2006 was 43,626.-History:...

, in the state of Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. In 1999 UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 added Wartburg Castle to the World Heritage List as an "Outstanding Monument of the Feudal Period
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 in Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

", citing its "Cultural Values of Universal Significance".

The castle's foundation was laid about 1068 by the Thuringian count
Graf
Graf is a historical German noble title equal in rank to a count or a British earl...

 of Schauenburg
Friedrichroda
Friedrichroda is a town in the district of Gotha, Thuringia, Germany. It is situated at the north foot of the Thuringian Forest, 21 km by rail southwest of the town of Gotha. It is surrounded by fir-clad hills and possesses numerous handsome villa residences, a Kurhaus and a sanatorium...

, Ludwig der Springer, a relative of the Counts of Rieneck
County of Rieneck
The County of Rieneck was a comital domain within the Holy Roman Empire that lay in what is now northwestern Bavaria...

 in Franconia
Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

.
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The Wartburg is a castle situated on a 1230-foot (410 m) precipice to the southwest of, and overlooking the town of Eisenach
Eisenach
Eisenach is a city in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated between the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest and the Hainich National Park. Its population in 2006 was 43,626.-History:...

, in the state of Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. In 1999 UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 added Wartburg Castle to the World Heritage List as an "Outstanding Monument of the Feudal Period
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 in Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

", citing its "Cultural Values of Universal Significance".

History


The castle's foundation was laid about 1068 by the Thuringian count
Graf
Graf is a historical German noble title equal in rank to a count or a British earl...

 of Schauenburg
Friedrichroda
Friedrichroda is a town in the district of Gotha, Thuringia, Germany. It is situated at the north foot of the Thuringian Forest, 21 km by rail southwest of the town of Gotha. It is surrounded by fir-clad hills and possesses numerous handsome villa residences, a Kurhaus and a sanatorium...

, Ludwig der Springer, a relative of the Counts of Rieneck
County of Rieneck
The County of Rieneck was a comital domain within the Holy Roman Empire that lay in what is now northwestern Bavaria...

 in Franconia
Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

. Together with its larger sister castle Neuenberg
Freyburg, Germany
Freyburg is a town in the Burgenlandkreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the river Unstrut, 9 km northwest of Hanseatic Naumburg, 63 km from Leipzig and 231 km from Berlin...

 in the present-day town of Freyburg, the Wartburg secured the extreme borders of his traditional territories.

According to tradition, the castle (Burg) got its name when its founder first laid eyes on the hill upon which the castle now sits; enchanted by the site, he is supposed to have exclaimed, "Warte, Berg -- du sollst mir eine Burg werden!" ("Wait, mountain -- you shall become a castle for me!"). It is a German play on words for mountain (Berg) and fortress (Burg). In addition, Ludwig der Springer is said to have had clay from his lands transported to the top of the hill, which was not quite within his lands, so he might swear that the castle was built on his ground. In fact, the name probably derives from , a kind of watchtower
Watchtower
A watchtower is a type of fortification used in many parts of the world. It differs from a regular tower in that its primary use is military, and from a turret in that it is usually a freestanding structure. Its main purpose is to provide a high, safe place from which a sentinel or guard may...

 as stated in the above source.

The castle was first mentioned during the Investiture Controversy
Investiture Controversy
The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was the most significant conflict between Church and state in medieval Europe. In the 11th and 12th centuries, a series of Popes challenged the authority of European monarchies over control of appointments, or investitures, of church officials such...

 in a 1080 deed, when Ludwig's henchmen attacked a military contingent of King Henry IV of Germany
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV was King of the Romans from 1056 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century...

. The count remained a fierce opponent of the Salian
Salian dynasty
The Salian dynasty was a dynasty in the High Middle Ages of four German Kings , also known as the Frankish dynasty after the family's origin and role as dukes of Franconia...

 rulers, and upon the extinction of the line, his son Louis I
Louis I, Landgrave of Thuringia
Ludwig I or Louis I was ruler of Thuringia from 1123 to 1140.-Biography:The son of Count Louis the Springer and his wife Adelheid, he was appointed Landgrave of Thuringia by the Emperor Lothair III in 1131....

 was elevated to the rank of a Landgrave
Landgrave
Landgrave was a title used in the Holy Roman Empire and later on by its former territories. The title refers to a count who had feudal duty directly to the Holy Roman Emperor...

 in Thuringia by the new German king Lothair of Supplinburg
Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor
Lothair III of Supplinburg , was Duke of Saxony , King of Germany , and Holy Roman Emperor from 1133 to 1137. The son of Count Gebhard of Supplinburg, his reign was troubled by the constant intriguing of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia and Duke Conrad of Franconia...

 in 1131.

The Wartburg remained the seat of the Thuringian
Rulers of Thuringia
This is a list of the rulers of Thuringia, an historical and political region of Central Germany.-Kings of Thuringia:*450–500 Bisinus*500–530 Baderich*500–530 Berthachar*500–531 Herminafried*fl...

 landgraves until 1440, and as a place of courtly culture it became around 1207 the venue of the Sängerkrieg
Sängerkrieg
The Sängerkrieg , also known as the Wartburgkrieg , was an alleged contest among minstrels at the Wartburg castle in Thuringia in 1207.-Medieval accounts of the Sängerkrieg:...

, the Minstrels' Contest in which such Minnesänger as Walther von der Vogelweide
Walther von der Vogelweide
Walther von der Vogelweide is the most celebrated of the Middle High German lyric poets.-Life history:For all his fame, Walther's name is not found in contemporary records, with the exception of a solitary mention in the travelling accounts of Bishop Wolfger of Erla of the Passau diocese:...

, Wolfram von Eschenbach
Wolfram von Eschenbach
Wolfram von Eschenbach was a German knight and poet, regarded as one of the greatest epic poets of his time. As a Minnesinger, he also wrote lyric poetry.-Life:...

, Albrecht von Halberstadt (the translator of Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

) and many others took part. The contest was later to be treated with poetic licence in Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

's opera Tannhäuser
Tannhäuser (opera)
Tannhäuser is an opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner, based on the two German legends of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg...

.

At the age of four, St. Elisabeth of Hungary
Elisabeth of Hungary
Elizabeth of Hungary, T.O.S.F., was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, Countess of Thuringia, Germany and a greatly-venerated Catholic saint. Elizabeth was married at the age of 14, and widowed at 20. She then became one of the first members of the newly-founded Third Order of St. Francis,...

 was sent by her mother to the Wartburg to be raised to become consort of Ludwig IV of Thuringia
Ludwig IV of Thuringia
Ludwig IV or Louis IV was the Landgrave of Thuringia from 1217 to 1227.Louis was born in Creuzburg to Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia, and Duchess Sophia, daughter of Otto of Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria. Upon his father's death in 1216, Louis ascended the Thuringian throne at the age of...

. From 1211 to 1228, she lived there and was renowned for her charitable work. Three years after moving to Marburg
Marburg
Marburg is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany, on the River Lahn. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf district and its population, as of March 2010, was 79,911.- Founding and early history :...

 upon the death of her husband, she died at the age of 24 and was canonized
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

.

From May 1521 until March 1522, Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 stayed at the castle, after he had been taken there for his safety at the request of Frederick the Wise following his excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 by Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X , born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was the Pope from 1513 to his death in 1521. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope. He is known for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica and his challenging of Martin Luther's 95 Theses...

 and his refusal to recant at the Diet of Worms
Diet of Worms
The Diet of Worms 1521 was a diet that took place in Worms, Germany, and is most memorable for the Edict of Worms , which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with Emperor Charles V presiding.Other Imperial diets at...

. It was during this period that Luther, under the name of Junker Jörg (the Knight George), translated the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 into German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, the first translation into a modern language in over a millennium.

On 18 October 1817, the first Wartburg festival
Wartburg festival
The first Wartburg festival on 18 October 1817 was an important event in German history that took place at the Wartburg Castle near Eisenach....

 took place. About 450 students, members of the newly founded German Burschenschaft
Burschenschaft
German Burschenschaften are a special type of Studentenverbindungen . Burschenschaften were founded in the 19th century as associations of university students inspired by liberal and nationalistic ideas.-History:-Beginnings 1815–c...

en ("fraternities"), came together at the castle to celebrate the German victory over Napoleon two years before, condemn conservatism and call for German unity. Speakers at the event included Heinrich Hermann Riemann, a veteran of the Lützow Free Corps
Lützow Free Corps
Lützow Free Corps was a voluntary force of the Prussian army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was named after its commander, Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow. They were also widely known as "Lützower Jäger" or "Schwarze Jäger" .-Origins:...

, the philosophy student Ludwig Rödiger, and Hans Ferdinand Massmann
Hans Ferdinand Massmann
Hans Ferdinand Massmann was a German philologist, known for his studies in Old German language and literature, and for his work introducing gymnastics into schools in Prussia.-Biography:...

.

With the permission of the absent chaplain Friedrich Ludwig Jahn
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was a German gymnastics educator and nationalist. He is commonly known as Turnvater Jahn, roughly meaning "father of gymnastics" Jahn.- Life :...

, the Code Napoléon and other books were burned
Book burning
Book burning, biblioclasm or libricide is the practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media. In modern times, other forms of media, such as phonograph records, video tapes, and CDs have also been ceremoniously burned, torched, or shredded...

 'in effigy': instead of the costly volumes, scraps of parchment with the titles of conservative books (including August von Kotzebue
August von Kotzebue
August Friedrich Ferdinand von Kotzebue was a German dramatist.One of Kotzebue's books was burned during the Wartburg festival in 1817. He was murdered in 1819 by Karl Ludwig Sand, a militant member of the Burschenschaften...

's History of the German Empires) were placed on the bonfire. Karl Ludwig Sand
Karl Ludwig Sand
Karl Ludwig Sand was a German university student and member of a liberal Burschenschaft . He was executed in 1820 for the murder of the conservative dramatist August von Kotzebue the previous year in Mannheim...

, who would assassinate Kotzebue two years later, was among the participants.

This event and the similar gathering at Wartburg during the Revolutions of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 are considered seminal moments in the movement for German unification.

The buildings


The Castle has been renovated throughout its existence with many earlier parts being overbuilt by later constructions and additions. From 1952 to 1966, for example, the East German Government restored it to what it looked like in the 16th century, which included the Luther Room (right) with its original floor and paneled walls.

The Romanesque
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 Palace (the Palas, Landgrafenhaus, or Great Hall
Great Hall
Great Hall may refer to* Great hall, the main room of a royal palace, nobleman's castle or large manor house* Great Hall of the People, Tiananmen Square, Beijing* Great Hall of the University of Sydney, Australia* Cooper_Union#The_Great_Hall, New York...

) is the oldest and architecturally most impressive of the buildings. Besides the chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

, it contains the Sängersaal (Hall of the Minstrels), which is in fact Wagner's setting for Act II of Tannhäuser and the Festsaal (the Feast or Festival Hall), both of which contain fine fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es by Moritz von Schwind
Moritz von Schwind
thumb|Moritz von Schwind, c. 1860Moritz von Schwind was an Austrian painter, born in Vienna.Moritz von Schwind received rudimentary training and spent a happy and carefree youth in Vienna. Among his companions was the composer Schubert, some of whose songs he illustrated...

 with the theme of the minstrel
Minstrel
A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories of distant places or of existing or imaginary historical events. Although minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. Frequently they were retained by royalty...

s' contest in the Sängersaal and frescoes of the triumphs of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in the Festsaal.
Part of the Palace consists of the original castle as it was between 1157 and 1170, as an image of power and residence of the Thuringian landgraves.

The castle gate behind the drawbridge
Drawbridge
A drawbridge is a type of movable bridge typically associated with the entrance of a castle surrounded by a moat. The term is often used to describe all different types of movable bridges, like bascule bridges and lift bridges.-Castle drawbridges:...

 is the only access to the Castle, and it has remained exactly as it was throughout the centuries.

The Knights' House on the western side of the drawbridge is half-timbered, and dates back to the 15th century. It probably served as a hall of residence for the servants and guards.

There are two tower
Tower
A tower is a tall structure, usually taller than it is wide, often by a significant margin. Towers are distinguished from masts by their lack of guy-wires....

s, the South Tower (the only tower preserved of the medieval castle, having been erected in 1318 and which has the dungeon
Dungeon
A dungeon is a room or cell in which prisoners are held, especially underground. Dungeons are generally associated with medieval castles, though their association with torture probably belongs more to the Renaissance period...

; and the bergfried
Bergfried
A bergfried is a tall tower typically found in medieval castles in German-speaking countries . Its defensive function is to some extent similar to that of a keep or donjon in English or French castles...

 (finished in 1859, partially incorporating the foundations of its medieval predecessor, and which has the landmark four-meter Latin cross at its top.

Other features include the Vogtei (the Bailiff
Bailiff
A bailiff is a governor or custodian ; a legal officer to whom some degree of authority, care or jurisdiction is committed...

's Lodge) in which the Luther Room is situated and to which a 15th century oriel
Oriel window
Oriel windows are a form of bay window commonly found in Gothic architecture, which project from the main wall of the building but do not reach to the ground. Corbels or brackets are often used to support this kind of window. They are seen in combination with the Tudor arch. This type of window was...

 was attached in 1872; two covered walks, the Elisabeth and the Margaret Hallways, which form part of the 15th-century defence ring and whose projecting beams are supported by wooden console
Console
- Computing and video games :* System console, a physical device to operate a computer** Virtual console, a user interface for multiple computer consoles on one device** Command-line interface, the typical use of the computer console...

s; and the New Bower (the Kemenate or Women's Chamber) which contains the Wartburg collection.

The Rüstkammer (the armoury
Armory (military)
An armory or armoury is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, issued to authorized users, or any combination of those...

) of the Wartburg, used to contain a magnificent collection of about 800 pieces, from the splendid armour
Armour
Armour or armor is protective covering used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or a vehicle through use of direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or action...

 of King Henry II of France
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.-Early years:Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany .His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by his sworn enemy,...

, to the items of Frederick the Wise, Pope Julius II and Bernhard von Weimar. All these objects were taken by the Soviet Occupation Army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

 in 1946 and have disappeared in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Two helmet
Helmet
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...

s, two sword
Sword
A sword is a bladed weapon used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration...

s, a prince's and a boy's armour, however, were found in a temporary store at the time and a few pieces were given back by the USSR in the 1960s. The new Russian Government
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 has been petitioned to help locate the missing treasure
Treasure
Treasure is a concentration of riches, often one which is considered lost or forgotten until being rediscovered...

s.

Legacy


For centuries, the Wartburg has been a place of pilgrimage for many people from within and outside Germany, for its significance in German history and in the development of Christianity
History of Christianity
The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, its followers and the Church with its various denominations, from the first century to the present. Christianity was founded in the 1st century by the followers of Jesus of Nazareth who they believed to be the Christ or chosen one of God...

. Several places (especially US towns founded by Lutherans) and a local brand of automobile have been named after the Wartburg. Wartburg College
Wartburg College
Wartburg College is a selective four-year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America located in Waverly, Iowa. Wartburg West is in Denver, Colorado....

 in Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, USA is named in commemoration of Martin Luther's receiving refuge at the castle and because of the college's forest location and its Bavarian heritage.

Also noteworthy is The Wartburg Adult Care Community
The Wartburg Adult Care Community
The Wartburg Adult Care Community is a non-profit, Lutheran organization located in Mount Vernon, New York that provides a continuum of care to older adults through residential and community-based programs and services. The Wartburg was originally founded in 1866 as an orphanage and farm school and...

 in Mount Vernon, New York that serves the elderly. Its founder, William Passavant
William Passavant
William A. Passavant was a Lutheran minister noted for bringing the Lutheran Deaconess movement to the United States. He is commemorated in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on November 24 with Justus Falckner and Jehu Jones...

, commented that its original site was akin to the site of The Wartburg where Luther translated the New Testament.

External links