Cycling in Germany #12 – Luther Country : Wittenberg

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We arrive at our Black Bear Hotel (Schwarzer Baer) about 2 pm in stifling heat and appreciate the coolness of the rooms. We don’t have a terrace but we have a little closed-in verandah afffair with a leadlight window which is very neat. Even neater is the fact that the curtains are of the total blackout sort. The room will not be flooded with light from 4.30 am onwards as it was at the Radhaus!

The leadlight in our alcove at Stathotel Wittenberg Schwarzer Baer
The leadlight in our alcove at Stathotel Wittenberg Schwarzer Baer

After a long siesta, we explore the town. It is very attractive with its renovated Marktplatz appropriately adorned with statues of Luther and fellow reformer Melanchthon. Like most town centres, Wittenberg is pedestrian (and bike) only.

Rathaus with statues of Luther and Melanthon
Rathaus with statues of Luther and Melanthon

Unlike Dresden, Wittenberg was mostly spared in the Second World War, but it doesn’t have many historical buildiings because it was bombarded by the Austrians in 1760 during the Seven Years War during the Prussian occupation. It was later occupied by the French in 1806 and stormed by the Prussian Army the next year.

Other side of Marktplatz
Other side of Marktplatz

As we walk through the streets, we nevertheless discover several 16th century entries some of which have been restored, others not.

Renaissance doorway
Renaissance doorway

In front of one building, we see a before and after photo of the house where the painter Cranach once lived. The difference is stunning.

Restored courtyard before and after
Restored courtyard before and after

We also see a lot of leafy courtyards often containing biergartens. In one, there is a scene painted on a wooden panel representing life-sized figures of Katharina and Martin Luther and two of their children, with holes instead of faces so Jean Michel and I take turns to stick our heads through. A man seated at a nearby table comes over and offers to take our photo!

Katharina and Martine Luther
Katharina and Martine Luther

Unfortunately both of the town’s churches are being renovated in preparation of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation which will take place in 2017.

The roof of the ?
The roof of the Schlosskirche, the only part not being restored, taken from the little memorial garden next to the Tourist Information office.

In 1517, Luther nailed his 95 theses on the doors of the Schlosskirche which was badly damaged by fire in 1760 as a result of the Austrian bombardment. It was rebuilt and later restored at the end of the 19th century. The orignal wooden doors were replaced in 1858 by bronze doors with the Latin text of the theses. Inside are the tombs of Luther and Melanchthon, but we are not able to go inside.

The Parish Church of Saint Mary's, also undergoing renovation
The Parish Church of Saint Mary’s, also undergoing renovation

The parish Church of Saint Mary is also being renovated so we aren’t able to see Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Last Supper, Baptism and Confession. There’s a slide show though so we are able to get an idea of what we are missing.

Marshland around the Elbe
Marshland around the Elbe

As the heat has died down somewhat, we pack a picnic dinner (it’s an intermitttent fast day) and cycle 15 kilometers to Elster. The countryside is rather marshy, quite different from what we have seen along the Elbe so far.

Bockwindmühle built in 1895 and restored in 1995
Bockwindmühle built in 1895 and restored in 1995

As we get closer to Elster, we see a restored windmill with a picnic table next to it but without a drop of shade!

Ferry at Elster
Ferry at Elster

We end up having our picnic on a bench in the centre of Elster, watching the ferryman closing up for the night with the France-Germany soccer match in the background. When its over, there is no reaction from the adults but the children clap. Hmm.

Sheep on the levee
Sheep on the levee

On the way home, I stop to take a photo of the sheep scattered along the levee. Within one minute, they’re all clustered together, baaing at me! By the time we get back to the Black Bear, we are exhausted which explains why yesterday’s post only talked about Torgau.


Cycling in Germany – Tips & Tricks
Cycling in Germany #1 – Kobern-Gondorf on the Moselle
Cycling in Germany #2 – Rhine from Saint Goar to Lorch
Cycling in Germany #3 – Cochem to Zell on the Moselle
Cycling in Germany #4 – Koblenz where the Moselle meets the Rhine
Cycling in Germany #5 – Bad Schaugen to Pirna along the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #6 – Bastei Rocks, Honigen and over the border to Czech Republic 
Cycling in Germany #7 – Dresden: accommodation & car trouble and Baroque Treasure  
Cycling in Germany #8 – Dresden Neustadt: Kunsthof Passage, Pfund’s Molkerei, a broom shop & trompe l’oeil
Cycling in Germany #9 – Country roads around Niderlommatzsch on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #10 – Meissen on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #11 – Martin Luther Country: Torgau on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #12 – Martin Luther Country: Wittenberg on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #13 – Wörlitz Gardens and the beginning of neo-classicism in Germany
Cycling in Germany #14 – Shades of Gaudi on the Elbe: Hundertwasser
Cycling in Germany – Turgermünde, the prettiest village on the Elbe
Cycling in Germany #16 – Celle & Bremen
Cycling in Germany #17 – Windmills & Dykes
Cycling in Germany #18 – Painted façades from Hann. Münden to Höxter
Cycling in Germany #19 – Bernkastel on the Moselle: a hidden treasure
Cycling in Germany #20 – Trier & the Binoculars Scare
Cycling along the Danube – A Renaissance festival in Neuburg, Bavaria
Cycling along the Danube – Watch out for trains!
Cycling along the Danube – Regensburg & Altmuhle
Cycling along the Danube –  The Weltenburg Narrows
Cycling along the Danube – from its source to Ehingen
Cycling along the Danube – Ehingen to Ulm
Cycling along the Danube – Singmarigen to Beuron
Cycling along the Danube – Binzwangen to Mengen including  Zwiefalten
Eurovelo 6 – Cycling around Lake Constance
Eurovelo 6 – Moos to Stein am Rhein and Steckborn on Lake Constance
Heading home to France after a month’s cycling holiday
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43 thoughts on “Cycling in Germany #12 – Luther Country : Wittenberg”

  1. Just a note to let you know I’m still with you, in spirit if not in body! I don’t know how you cope with all the pedalling but it’s a lovely way to see the countryside. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Great to hear you’re still following! Now that my saddle soreness has improved, it’s much easier.

  2. I stayed at the same hotel when I was there a couple of years ago. It was lovely with a fantastic German breakfast. I really enjoyed this town. I suppose you didn’t see the Luther Haus? It was fascinating.
    So enjoying your posts!

    1. What a coincidence! Did you have the room with the leadlight window? We didn’t see Luther Haus. Jean Michel was not that keen and didn’t think it would be interesting. I wish I’d known earlier!

  3. I just love your photographs .And as you explain about each and every place , I can certainly feel the hot weather . Such a historic place ; I mean , every single picture has got some history behind it . Fantastic .

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