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Luther’s Legacy

Experience the Heritage of the Lutheran Faith

Luther 2017As the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation approaches, come celebrate Martin Luther’s remarkable legacy in the places where it all began!

Lutheran Heritage MapWalk in Luther’s humble footsteps across Germany: from the house in Eisleben where he was born, to the cell in the Fortress of Wartburg where he translated the New Testament into German, to the Castle Church in Wittenberg where he nailed his 95 Theses. Experience the rich heritage of your Lutheran faith as you visit the world’s largest Reformation memorial in Worms, or stand in St. Thomas Church where Luther first introduced the Reformation in Leipzig in 1539. While you ponder the significance of the Great Reformer’s life and work, you will also enjoy Germany’s rich culture and its hearty cuisine.

Refo500Germany has been preparing for this anniversary since the Luther Decade began in 2008, which will culminate in a worldwide celebration in 2017: the Reformation Jubilee. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in this unique religious and historical event with all of its musical and artistic festivities, and to challenge members of your congregation as together you reflect on the courage and faith of Martin Luther and the other fathers of the Reformation. The potential to enrich your faith through travel is endless!

Witte Travel & Tours is proud to be the North American travel partner of Refo500, the international platform for knowledge, expertise, ideas, travel and events, specializing in the 500 year legacy of the Reformation.

If your choir would like to combine Reformation sites with performance experiences, visit our Martin Luther & Music tours page.

Browse all Reformation Tours

Sample 10-Day Itinerary

Statue of Martin Luther, Erfurt Walk with Martin Luther on a pilgrimage across the land he loved. Today’s “Luther-cities” contain numerous historical and religious treasures. As you ponder the significance of the Great Reformer’s life and work, you will also enjoy Germany’s rich culture and its hearty cuisine.

Day 1—Departure

Day 2—Berlin
Wilkommen in Deutschland! Today’s sightseeing includes views of the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate, with a visit to the Museum at Checkpoint Charlie to learn about the history of the Berlin Wall. We’ll also make a visit to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and enjoy a relaxing cruise of Germany’s dynamic capital.

Day 3—Berlin
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the Dietrich Bonhoefferhaus, a memorial to the life and work of the young German pastor Bonhoeffer. After perusing the interesting exhibits, we’ll drive along Unter den Linden and on to the Nikolaiviertel to see the Nikolaikirche, the oldest church in Berlin.

Day 4—Wittenberg
On our morning walking tour with a local guide, we’ll visit Luther House, the Stadtkirche, and the Schlosskirche, where Luther famously affixed his 95 Theses to the church door and which is also home to his tomb. Later we’ll visit the Melanchthon House.

Day 5—Eisleben, Leipzig
This morning we’ll travel west to Eisleben to visit Luther’s birthplace, as well as the house in which he died in 1546. Then we’ll continue on to Leipzig and the St. Thomas Church, where Luther’s sermon on Whitsunday in 1539 effectively introduced the Reformation to Leipzig.

Day 6—Erfurt
Today we’re headed southwest to Erfurt, the “Town of Flowers.” Our first stop is at the Augustinian Monastery where Luther once lived and worked. We’ll also visit St. Peter’s Cathedral, see the Kramerbrücke bridge, and have some free time time for exploring or shopping before continuing west to Eisenach.

Day 7—Eisenach
Our sightseeing today will take us first to the impressive Fortress of Wartburg, where we’ll see the Knight’s Hall, the dining room, the Wartburg museum and Luther’s room. Next on our agenda are visits to the Bachhaus—Bach’s birthplace and museum—and St. George Church.

Day 8—Mainz, Worms
On the road again, we’ll visit Mainz to see the Gutenberg-Museum, home to two original editions of the world-famous Gutenberg Bible. We’ll continue on to Worms to see the 19th-century Luther Monument, and then we’ll head for Heidelberg, our home for the last two nights of our tour.

Day 9—Heidelberg
We’ll start today by touring the romantic Heidelberg Castle. Then we’ll walk through the historic city center to visit the University Library and the Holy Ghost Church. The next few hours are yours to finish your souvenir shopping before we reconvene in the evening for a festive farewell dinner.

Day 10—Return
All too soon, it’s time to head home! After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the airport to check in for our return flights to the U.S.

Planning a Lutheran Heritage Tour

Luther House, Eisenach It all begins with a DIALOGUE between you and one of our Group Tour Specialists. Together we will narrow down the big decisions on the right cities, time frame and length of your trip to fit your goals and budget.

From there, one of our Group Tour Specialists will further the conversation until they present to you a TOUR PROPOSAL document, which includes a planned itinerary, details on trip components and inclusions, and pricing and payment options.

Once we are in agreement on the details, you accept our proposal with a set-up deposit, and we get to work booking components and designing your PROMOTIONAL BROCHURE—a custom-designed, full-color registration packet.

At this point it’s time to advertise and RECRUIT for your tour. We are available to help you with promotional materials or even participation in meetings.

Witte can receive all of the passenger REGISTRATIONS and deposits directly or they can route through your organization. From there, we manage each individual account and any special arrangements desired!

We take care of the details and you prepare your group for TRAVEL. We’ll be in steady communication, adjust to any last-minute realities, and have you on your way before you know it!

LutherCountry Events

Exhibition | Festival / Event | Musical Festival / Event

Ongoing through July 31, 2017
Sensation – Propaganda – Resistance: Luther, the Pamphlet and the Consequences
German National Library | Leipzig
This exhibition celebrates the pivotal role of the pamphlet in Martin Luther’s endeavor to share his ideas with the masses. Learn about the history of the pamphlet as a tool for mass communication, and examine the specific social and political importance of the pamphlet — during the spread of the Reformation, and beyond.
Learn more…

Ongoing through September 30, 2017
Media of the Reformation – Clash of Religions
Reichsstadtmuseum | Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This collection of pamphlets from the first half of the 16th century offers a vivid depiction of the turbulent religious and cultural clash that erupted during the Reformation and which dominated the early print media and publications of the modern age.  Learn more…

Ongoing through December 31, 2018
With the Sword or Strong Faith – Luther and the Witches
Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum | Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This fascinating exhibition at the Medieval Crime Museum follows the history of popular belief in witchcraft and the persecution of accused witches. In particular, it focuses on Martin Luther and his perspectives on witchcraft during the Reformation, and also highlights the witch hunts in Franconia and Rothenburg ob der Tauber at that time. Learn more…

April 3 – November 5, 2017
The Divided Heaven: Reformation and Reaction in the Ruhr Region
Ruhr Museum | Essen
Learn more…

April 7 – May 1, 2017
Thuringia Bach Festival
Thüringer Bachwochen e. V. | Thuringia
At the largest classical music festival in Thuringia, music-lovers will be able enjoy Baroque music– in particular, the works of Johann Sebastian Bach — performed in authentic, relevant sites. Learn more…

May 1 – November 5, 2017
Knights, Peasants, Lutherans—Southern Germany in 1500
House of Bavarian History | Coburg Fortress
With the invention of the printing press and the rapid spread of Martin Luther’s ideas through published pamphlets at the turn of the 16th century, the region of Bavaria experienced drastic religious, social, and political change. Learn more…

May 4 – November 5, 2017
Luther & the Germans
Wartburg Castle | Eisenach
Set in the Wartburg Castle where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, this seven-part exhibition examines the meaning of “German” in the social context of the Holy Roman Empire at the beginning of the 16th century. Learn more…

May 13 – November 5, 2017
Luther! 95 People – 95 Treasures
Augusteum | Wittenberg
An exhibition in two parts: The first part will examine the history of the Lutheran church and Luther’s impact on the world by introducing 95 people (from Lucas Cranach to Martin Luther King) whose lives were influenced by the Great Reformer. The second part of the exhibition is devoted to the material items that Luther left behind, and will feature 95 treasures that he either owned or used during his life. Learn more…

May 20 – September 10, 2017
World Reformation Exhibition
Lutherstadt | Wittenberg
Visitors to Wittenberg between May 20 and September 10, 2017 are invited on a walking tour throughout the city to discover seven Gates of Freedom. Arranged by churches and other organizations from around the world, each of these gates will offer a different perspective on the topic of Reformation. Learn more…

May 24 – 28, 2017
Kirchentag: 36th German Protestant Church Festival
Lutherstadt | Wittenberg, Berlin
Join tens of thousands of visitors from around the world who gather to attend church services, participate in debates, enjoy concerts, share in discussions, and celebrate all expressions of faith—regardless of denomination or religion. Learn more…

May 26 – June 11, 2017
Handel Festival
Handel House Foundation | Halle (Saale)
Enjoy a variety of events and performances at meaningful sites associated with the great German composer, George Frideric Handel, during this two-week music festival in the town of his birth. Learn more…

June 9 – 11, 2017
Luther’s Wedding
Lutherstadt | Wittenberg
This weekend festival celebrates Martin Luther’s wedding to Katharina von Bora, and has been an annual event since 1993. Thousands of visitors from around the world come to Wittenberg to enjoy a full program of medieval and modern performances at historic locations. The Castle Church becomes the center of a traditional fair with jugglers, musicians, craft stalls, and many varieties of delicious food and drink to sample. The highlight of the festival occurs on Saturday afternoon, as a grand parade of 2,000 costumed, cheering wedding guests accompanies the famous couple through the old town to their wedding banquet on the Market Square. Learn more…

June 9 – 18, 2017
Bachfest Leipzig
Join fellow music-lovers in Leipzig to hear the works of Johann Sebastian Bach performed in the very venues where they were first debuted. The theme of this year’s celebration will be “A beautiful new song – Music and the Reformation”, and will emphasize the Martin Luther’s profound influence on the Kantor Bach as a source of musical and spiritual inspiration.
Learn more…

June 16 – 18, 2017
Merchants’ Bridge Festival
Witness the Middle Ages come to life during this annual festival in Erfurt! On the third weekend every June, festival-goers can watch craftsmen demonstrate skills of the past, minstrels serenade the crowd, and swordfighters prepare to do battle.
Learn more…

June 24 – 25, 2017
8th Katharina Day
Torgau Council | Torgau
This festival in honor of Martin Luther’s strong and courageous wife, Katharina von Bora, has been taking place every year in Torgau as part of the Luther Decade leading up to 2017. Learn more…

July 13 – November 12, 2017
Luther, Columbus and the Consequences – Shift in World View in the 16th Century
Germanic National Museum | Nuremberg
During the 16th century, new theological, geographical and scientific discoveries collided, and old belief systems and world views were shattered. This exhibition delves into the events that brought about this period of upheaval: Columbus’s discovery of the New World, Luther’s Reformation, and the revolutionary world views of Copernicus. Learn more…

July 26 – 31, 2017
117th German Walking Festival
Rennsteigverein 1896 e.V. | Eisenach
As the official walking capital of Germany in 2017, Eisenach will be hosting the 117th German Walking Festival. Several thousand hikers will visit the region between Hainich National Park and the Thuringian Forest – including the Rennsteig—to enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Learn more…

August 10 – 27, 2017
Cathedral Steps Festival

Since 1992, this spectacular summer highlight has drawn thousands of visitors each year from throughout Germany and the world to enjoy incredible performances by the Theater Erfut, set upon an open-air stage on the Cathedral Square. In 2017, the featured work will be Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, Il Trovatore.
Learn more…

September 29, 2017 – October 15, 2017
Güldener Herbst
The Music Academy of Thuringia | Weimar
Güldener Herbst, or “The Golden Autumn,” is the Early Music Festival in Thuringia. In 2017, the theme of the festival will be “Reformation and Music,” and will also commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of the German Baroque composer, Georg Philipp Telemann. Learn more…

October 22 – 31, 2017
Wittenberg Renaissance Music Festival
Lutherstadt Wittenberg
This music festival occurs every year during the week leading up to Reformation Day, and celebrates this city as the birthplace of the Reformation and the cradle of evangelical church music. The many diverse festival activities include concerts by esteemed local and guest artists, dancing courses, workshops, and the famous Renaissance Ball.
Learn more…

October 31, 2017
Reformation Festival
Lutherstadt Wittenberg
This monumental Reformation Day festival will begin with morning services at the Castle Church and St. Mary’s Town Church, to be followed by a lively parade and street theater, with concerts and exhibitions taking place in many of the town’s historic buildings.
Learn more…

November 10 – 11, 2017
St. Martin’s Festival
Join people from all over LutherCountry in this celebration of two important “Martins”: Saint Martin of Tours, and Martin Luther.
Learn more…

November 11 – 12, 2017
Luther’s Birthday
Explore a large medieval market and celebrate the birthday of the Great Reformer during this annual festival in Eisleben.Learn more…

Get LUTHERready in the U.S.

There is an excellent way to learn more about Luther before traveling to Germany, American and German museums have cooperated to put up an interesting exhibition to visit in three different locations in the U.S. Real artifacts from the Reformation history are being imported from Germany for the first time to be shown exclusively to an American audience. www.here-I-stand.com

“Here I stand…” Exhibitions:

New York
The Morgan Library & Museum
October 7, 2016 to January 22, 2017
“Word and Image: Martin Luther’s Reformation”

Pitts Theology Library
October 11, 2016 to January 16, 2017
“Law and Grace: Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach and the Promise of Salvation”

Minneapolis Institute of Art
October 30, 2016 to January 15, 2017
“Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation”

Why Witte

Thomas Church in LeipzigSince 1975, Witte Travel & Tours has designed and operated exceptional tours for pastors and their congregations, religious organizations, scholars, historians, and family groups who desire to add a spiritual dimension to their travels. Each Witte Spiritual Journey is a made-to-order combination of religious and touristic activities. Our background knowledge of Reformation destinations as well as personal connections to these people and places will ensure that your pilgrimage is a blessing on every level.

Our services include:

  • Personalized, full-color brochures with registration forms
  • The convenience of online registration
  • All arrangements for flights, land transportation, accommodations, sightseeing and special events
  • Full breakfast daily and other meals according to your specifications
  • Accounting services including individual billing, all major credit cards accepted
  • Arrangements for individuals to extend their stays, visit other destinations, and/or depart from different cities

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