Worms (pronounced "vorms") is a city of about 85,000 people in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, about 28 miles south of Mainz. The ancient city of Worms can trace its beginnings from the earliest civilizations. Even before the Romans came, Germanic peoples had made Worms their capital. The Romans arrived in 14 BC, and built a small town with the Roman street plan, a forum, and temples to the gods Jupiter, Juno, Minerva and Mars.
It was in Worms that Siegfried began his legendary adventures, recorded in The Nibelungenlied. Worms became a Christian bishopric in 614 AD (which passed to Hesse-Darmstadt in 1801). In the Frankish Empire, the city was the location of an important palatinate of Charlemagne, who built one of his many administrative palaces and an imperial cathedral here. The bishops administered the city and its surrounding territory.
In April 1521, the town's most famous visitor, Martin Luther, arrived under less than desirable circumstances, when he was called to appear before the Imperial Diet ("dee-it") at Worms. After refusing to retract his views (with the legendary words, "Here I stand, I can do no other"), Holy Roman Emperor Charles V declared him an outlaw. Now that Worms is mainly Protestant, a large monument to Luther and other giants of the Reformation has been erected in the city and it is a stop along the popular "Luther Trail."
Worms is also famous for its Romanesque architecture (it boasts five Romanesque churches, including the cathedral) and is a popular base for a tour of the Deutsche Weinstrasse, a 50-mile route through local wine towns.