History of the Reformation
After arrival at Berlin airport, we will be met by our tour escort who will lead us to our coach. We will explore Berlin, the capital of the reunified Germany, on a guided tour that includes all the important highlights like the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag (Parliament) and its cupola, the Nikolai Quarter, the impressive boulevard “Unter den Linden”, the Museum Island, the Gendarmen-Market, the Alexanderplatz and Check-Point Charlie. Time permitting, we will have the opportunity to enjoy exploring the city on our own after the city tour has concluded. In the evening the group will come together for a welcome dinner. Overnight is in Berlin. After an early breakfast, we will travel to Lutherstadt Wittenberg where Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church. We will visit the Luther House, the town hall, the old city and the Town and Parish Church St. Marien, which is the oldest building in Wittenberg. After a quick lunch (not included) we will proceed to Eisleben, where Luther was born in 1483 and died in 1546. We will visit his Birth House and Death House. Dinner and overnight are in Eisleben. In the morning we will see some other sights in the town center of Eisleben as the Church of St. Peter and Paul, the St. Andrew’s Church, the St. Anne’s Church and the Old Town with its charming historical houses. Then we will continue to Erfurt and start with a guided walk through the Old City. Discover the Merchants’ Bridge (Krämerbrücke), the longest series of inhabited buildings on any bridge in Europe, the Fish Market, the Town Hall, the Merchant’s Church, the Luther Memorial and the Anger Square as well as exploring St. Mary’s Cathedral. We will visit the Augustinian Monastery with its dome and stained-glass window choir, as well as the room where Luther lived during his stay in the monastery. In the evening we drive to Eisenach for dinner and overnight. The next day, we will visit all of the “must see” of Eisenach city, including the Luther-House, and the St. George’s Church, where J.S. Bach was baptized and St. Elisabeth was married. Next stop of the day is Wartburg Castle where Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German. Afterwards we will continue to Veste Coburg, one of the largest and best-preserved medieval castles in Germany. During the Augsburg confession Luther took refuge and lived here for six months. After touring the fortress we visit the Historical City. Dinner and overnight are in Coburg.
Did You Know? The Passion Play actors are all locals from the Oberammergau village.
Historic Areas of Germany
Today our first stop will be in Nuremberg. According to Luther, Nuremberg was “the eye and the ear of Germany” in those days, because there were 21 printing houses to publish news. We will have a walk through the Old Town including Albrecht Dürer House and the churches St. Lorenz and St. Sebald. The second stop will be Augsburg. It was here in 1518 at St. Anna’s Church that Luther met the papal legate, Cardinal Cajetan, who demanded that Luther submit to the pope. Augsburg was also the site of another Imperial Diet in 1530 at which Protestants presented their confession, which up to that time was the foremost doctrinal statement of the Lutheran church. In the town hall, the Peace of Augsburg was signed in 1555, ending for a time the religious wars in Germany between the Catholics and the Protestants. Dinner and overnight are in Augsburg. After breakfast we drive south to Dachau. Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp, where over 200,000 prisoners were sent during World War II. We experience the history through photographs and the Dachau memorial. Then we continue to Munich, where we enjoy a walking tour through the historic Old City of Munich. It consists of famous buildings and squares, including the Marienplatz with the town hall and its “Glockenspiel” along with the “Frauenkirche” (Church of our Lady) with its distinctive onion dome towers. And of course we will walk through the Viktualienmarkt. Dinner and overnight are in the Munich area. The next day is dedicated to the most famous castles of Bavaria. We visit Hohenschwangau Castle as well as visit Neuschwanstein Castle from the outside. Neuschwanstein is the most visited castle of Germany, perched high up on a mountain in the beautiful landscape of the Alps. The shimmering white towers of the castle among the clouds are instantly recognizable to many and are the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. To visit it is to step inside a fairy tale. We also have the opportunity to visit the Museum of the Bavarian Kings and learn about royal history. In the evening we return to our hotel in Munich for overnight.
Oberammergau, the Passion Play
This morning, we continue the a small, picturesque village in the Alps which is known all over the world: Oberammergau, the “Passion Play village with heart.” Oberammergau is not only known for its World Famous Passion Play, but also for its woodcarving craft and for its colorful and attractive frescos known as Lüftlmalereien. In the morning we have time to explore the lovely village, the museum, the parish church and a woodcarving workshop. Then we should take our seat at the Passion Play Theater for the early afternoon performance. All the actors, musicians, and singers as well as the backstage staff are either born in Oberammergau or been residents for more than 20 years. Between the different scenes of the life of Jesus Christ we can admire “living pictures” – scenes from the Bible presented as still life. After 2.5 hours it is time for a dinner break, which is waiting for us in a local restaurant. After dinner, we have the opportunity to stroll around in the village and to do some shopping. Later this evening, the second part of the play starts and will end at approximately 11:00 pm. We go back to our hotel in Oberammergau for overnight after the play. In the morning we check-out of our hotel and transfer to Munich airport for our return flight back home. We return home the same day with wonderful memories of our unique experience in Germany!