Torgau - city of the Renaissance and the Reformation
Photo: TIC/Dirk BrzoskaThe Hartenfels Castle, TorgauDr. Martin Luther was certain that: "Torgau's buildings are more beautiful than those of the whole ancient world; even the temple of King Salomo was merely made of wood." Around 500 buildings in late Gothic and Renaissance style form an urban ensemble of international relevance. The castle of Hartenfels is the best preserved early Renaissance castle in Germany. Together with the magnificent town hall, which dominates the market square, it represents the highlight of an impressive historical cityscape.
Luther's pulpit in the city church
The staircase "Großer Wendelstein" of the main building of castle Hartenfels was created by Konrad Krebs between 1533 and 1536. It is Torgau's most eminent architectural feature from the Renaissance period. The elegant staircase ascends like a spindle without additional braces over two stories. At the upper entrance, the visitor can see the first sculptural depiction of Martin Luther in a medaillon.
Photo: TIC/Jörg SchönerThe castle churchFirst new construction of a Protestant church
The castle church is situated in the side wing of the castle. The church was consecrated on October 5th, 1544, by Martin Luther. It is the first newly built Protestant church, bearing witness to how the spiritual program of the Reformation was translated into architecture and the arts. In the 15th and 16th century, the castle of Hartenfels was the residence of the Saxonian Electors from the Ernestine line of the Wettines. The Saxonian Elector Frederick the Wise, who was born in Torgau, did not avow himself to Luther's teachings, but brought the Reformer, who was under imperial ban and excommunication, secretly to the Wartburg , where he found protection.
The Elector's political influence secured the dissemination of Martin Luther's reformatory ideas throughout the empire. In 1526, Protestant rulers founded the Alliance of Torgau in order to defend the freedom of faith. In 1530, Luther, Melanchthon, Jonas and Bugenhagen wrote the "Articles of Torgau" as foundations of the Augsburg Confession. Popular lore calls the city "nursemaid of the Reformation", while Wittenberg is named "mother of the Reformation".
Memorial for Katharina Luther
Luther's wife, Katharina von Bora, died in Torgau in 1552. Her grave is situated in the city church of St. Mary. Her last residence houses a memorial to the work of this courageous woman. The city and cultural historical museum in the former Electors' office offers a broad overview of Torgau's rich history and its relationship to the Reformation.