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St. Andreas church in Eisleben
St. Andreas church in Eisleben (Photo: Lutz Döring)

The Reformer Martin Luther was born on November 10th 1483 in Eisleben. He also died there. Although the family lived only temporarily in Eisleben, in addition to being his place of birth and death, Luther’s life is in many regards connected to the destinies of the city.

Eisleben is one of the oldest towns between the Harz mountains and the river Elbe. In the 15th and 16th centuries it became one of the most important towns of the once powerful County of Mansfeld particularly due to the mining and smelting of copper slate. Luther’s father also came here to make a living in the mining industry. But Eisleben was for Hans and Margarete Luther only an intermediate station on their road to Mansfeld when the first of their nine children was born here.

Baptised in Eisleben

Just a few steps from Luther's Birth House is St. Peter and Paul Church, a late-Gothic hall church. Here, Luther was baptised one day after his birth on the name of the saint of the day, Martin of Tours. The baptismal font has been preserved as a reconstruction and commemorates this important event which closely connected Luther all his life to Eisleben.

As district vicar of the Order of St. Augustine, Luther stayed later many times in Eisleben. Under his influence, St. Anne’s Church in Eisleben's new town became the first Protestant preacher church in the Mansfeld Land. The adjacent Augustinian Friars’ monastery was consecrated by Luther in 1516, but in 1523 it was already dissolved in the course of the Reformation.

Luther’s last sermons

St. Andreas Church, whose powerful bell tower dominates the market square is today also considered a monument to Luther in the town: Here, on the pulpit preserved to this day, he preached his last four sermons and here his body was laid out before it was transferred to Wittenberg.

Luther died on February 18th. He had come to settle a succession inheritance dispute of the Counts of Mansfeld, in the house of the Drachstedt family on Market Square. Today it has been restored as Martin Luther's Death House and – like the Birth House of the reformer – it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

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