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Luther's Death House, Eisleben

Martin Luther's "death mask": a plaster cast of his face and hands made shortly after his death here in 1546. Luthers Sterbehaus (Luther's Death House), Eisleben. Photo © Stephan Komp. View all images in our Luther's Death House Photo Gallery.
Photo © Stephan Komp.
Photo © Stephan Komp.
Photo © Stephan Komp.
Photo © Stephan Komp.
Photo © Stephan Komp.

Luthers Sterbehaus (Luther's Death House) is the house in which Martin Luther spent the last weeks of his life after falling ill during a brief trip to his hometown of Eisleben. Luther's death mask and the gilded Communion cup he used as pastor are among the museum's displays.

History

Martin Luther lived in Wittenberg, but set off for the town of his birth on January 17, 1546, to settle some disputes concerning his family's business interests. The negotiations were successful, but Luther had been weak with various ailments for some time and he ended up too weak to return to Wittenberg.

He spent his last weeks in a late Gothic house on the south side of Andreaskirchplatz (the square around St. Andreas), preaching at the church each Sunday until his death on February 18, 1546.

His last words were the prayer, "Into your hands, I commit my spirit. You have saved me, Father, you faithful God."

After Luther's death, his coffin was displayed for two days in Eisleben, then his body was transported through Halle and Bitterfeld back to Wittenberg. On February 22 Luther was laid to rest in the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

Unlike Luther's birthplace, which was long treasured by the citizens of Eisleben, his place of death only came to public attention in the 19th century.

In 1862, the Prussian government purchased this house from its private owner. The house was restored to its original late Gothic style and then opened to the public for the first time. The house has been a memorial to Luther and his last days ever since.

What to See

The wood-panelled, front-facing rooms of the house have been restored to their original late Gothic appearance.

Luther did not die in the room with the bed, as one might assume, but in the adjacent chamber containing his death mask (a plaster cast made of his face and hands shortly after his death) and the original wooden pall for his coffin.

The perpendicular courtyard wing contains a museum of Martin Luther and the history of the Reformation. The exhibition focuses on Luther's bonds with his homeland, his thoughts on death and dying and his last resting place.

The exhibition also covers themes like "Luther and mining" and "Luther and the Bible." Among the exhibits are a beaker thought to have belonged to Luther and the gilded Communion cup he used at St Andreas.

Like the Luther birthplace, the admission ticket here includes a museum of local artifacts: the Regionalgeschichtliches Museum. On display is an interesting range of items, from a Bronze Age boat to a 90-piece dinner set painted with local views in the 19th century.


Quick Facts on Luther's Death House

Site Information
Names:Luther's Death House; Luther's Death House, Eisleben; Luthers Sterbehaus
City:Eisleben
Country:Germany
Categories:Museums; Historical Sites
Faiths:Lutheran
Feat:Luther Trail; Reformation History
Dates:1546
Status:museum
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Eisleben, Germany
Coordinates:51.528093° N, 11.543519° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Luther's Death House

Below is a location map and aerial view of Luther's Death House. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. The Rough Guide to Germany 6.
  2. Sterbehaus Martin Luthers - Lutherstadt Eisleben
  3. Eisleben - Routes to Luther

More Information

Article Info

Title:Luther's Death House, Eisleben
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:06/10/2010
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/germany/eisleben-luthers-sterbehaus-death-house/germany/eisleben-luthers-sterbehaus-death-house
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