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Reichstag Building, Berlin Wartburg Castle Semper Opera, Dresden Bach Museum Performance
Reichstag Building, Berlin
Semper Opera, Dresden
Bach Museum Performance
Stand in the very places where Martin Luther and others made history by forming the Protestant faith. Explore the musical legacy of J.S. Bach and the work of artist Lucas Cranach by visiting the actual places they worked and performed during their lifetimes. This is an amazing opportunity to interact with the rich heritage of faith and culture that all came together in this part of the world.
Please note this itinerary is copyrighted.
Key: IF = In Flight Meals, B= Breakfast, D = Dinner
Day 1: Departure
We will depart today on our transatlantic flights to Germany. (IF)
Day 2: Berlin,Wittenberg
Upon arrival in Berlin, we will meet your Reformation Tours Tour Director who will accompany us throughout our journey. We will begin with a sightseeing tour of the German capital, reunified in 1989, including the Kaiser Wilhelm Church, Nikolai Quarter, Unter den Linden, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and Charlottenburg Palace. In the late afternoon we will drive south through the lovely German countryside to Wittenberg where we will be based for two nights. Our welcome dinner will be at our hotel. (B/D)
Day 3: Wittenberg
Wittenberg is a key Reformation city and our morning tour will include Lutherhalle, the largest museum of Reformation history in the world. Luther lived here first as a monk, then later with his wife and children. St. Mary’s Church is where Luther did the majority of his preaching and it is often referred to as the “Mother Church of the Reformation”. We will also tour the Castle Church where Luther posted his 95 Theses, sparking the beginning of the Reformation. Both Luther and fellow reformer Philipp Melanchthon are buried in the church. Other sites in Wittenberg include the Melanchthon House, the Market Square, the Luther Oak and the Town Hall. This afternoon, we will have the rare opportunity to take part in a typical German tradition: coffee & cake in the private homes of Wittenberg families. The Germans call it “Kaffeeklatsch”. The rest of the day will be at leisure, but we are invited to attend the Saturday evening service with the Wittenberg English Ministry. (B)
Day 4: Wittenberg, Leipzig
This morning, we will head for Leipzig, the city of J.S. Bach but also the cradle of the German peaceful revolution in 1989 which ended up in the re-unification of Eastern and Western Germany. We will visit the Bach Museum which includes a musical performance. St. Thomas Church is where J.S. Bach worked as a cantor for more than a quarter of a century and is now buried. In the Old Town Hall we will view the only authentic portrait of J.S. Bach. The city tour will also include the “Völkerschlacht-denkmal” (Monument to the Battle of the Nations), the largest monument of its kind in Europe and one of Leipzig’s most important landmarks. We will also visit St. Nicholas Church, one of Leipzig’s oldest churches and starting point of the peaceful revolution. Here we will have the opportunity to speak with someone who was directly involved with the revolution of 1989, who will talk about the days leading up to the fall of the wall, the peace prayers and how society has changed since reunification. Evening options include a concert or dinner in Auerbach’s Keller. We will spend one night in Leipzig. (B)
Day 5: Erfurt
We will board the coach and drive to Erfurt, the spiritual home of Martin Luther. It was here that Luther obtained a degree in 1502 and a doctorate in philosophy in 1505 and where he took the decisive step to turn to theology and the monastic life. Our first visit will take us to the Augustinian Monastery with a permanent exhibit depicting Luther’s life as a monk. The city tour will continue with visits to the church of St. Severus, where Luther preached his sermons and to St. Mary’s Cathedral, where Luther was ordained as a priest. We will spend two nights in Erfurt. (B/D)
Day 6: Eisenach
Following breakfast, we will drive to Eisenach to visit St. George’s Church where St. Elisabeth was married and J.S. Bach was baptized. We will tour the Luther House where Luther lived as a student with the Cotta family from 1498-1501 and the Luther exhibition documenting his life and theologies. We will also visit the Bach-House where J.S. Bach was born including a musical performance on period instruments. The next stop takes us to the magnificent Wartburg Castle for a tour of the Palas (Great Hall), Art exhibition, the Elisabeth Hallway and the Luther Room where “Junker Jörg” (the Knight George) translated the New Testament into German. We will return to Erfurt and dinner will be at the restaurant of our choice. (B)
Day 7: Gotha, Arnstadt, Coburg
Our first stop today will be Gotha, where Lucas Cranach the Elder fell in love with Barbara Brengebier. They married here in 1512. We will explore the historic center on a walking tour and visit Friedenstein Castle, Germany’s biggest Early-Baroque castle complex, with its Castle Church and baroque Ekhof Theatre. The Castle Museum houses numerous paintings of the painter family Cranach. We will continue on to Arnstadt where Bach was first employed as organist. Our visit to the Bach Church will include a musical presentation on the reconstructed Bach organ. In the afternoon we will drive through the scenic landscape of the Thuringian forest into Bavaria to Coburg. We will visit the famous Veste Coburg, the fortress where Luther took refuge and lived during the Augsburg Confession. While visiting the castle we’ll see the Luther Room, the art treasures in the various collections, and the royal building with the Luther Chapel. Cranach the Elder painted the walls and ceiling of the festival hall with impressive hunting scenes. We will stay in Coburg for two nights. (B/D)
Day 8: Kronach, Coburg
This morning, we will continue the city tour of Coburg and hear more details about the dukedom of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha. Queen Victoria’s husband Albert was a member of this prestigious family. The walking tour will take us through the medieval old city to the Market Square with the Prince Albert Memorial. Ehrenburg Castle is still the duke’s residence. We will also visit Moriz Church, where we will see tombs of members of the ducal family. Martin Luther gave some of his sermons here. Our afternoon excursion is the Lucas Cranach the Elder’s birthplace in Kronach. The walking tour through the old city shows many sites and buildings which are related to the Cranach family. We will return to Coburg for dinner and overnight. (B/D)
Day 9: Meissen, Dresden
In the morning, we will drive to the town of Meissen for a guided tour of the factory and Museum of the world-famous porcelain manufacturer, with time to shop in the store. We will continue on to Dresden for a walking tour of its impressive historic center with its Castle and Castle Church, Theatre Square and the famous Semper Opera, the Semper Gallery, Zwinger Palace and Bruehl’s Terrace. The evening is free to dine at the restaurant of our choice or attend an evening concert or opera performance. (B).
Day 10: Dresden
Today, we will visit the magnificent Frauenkirche “Church of Our Lady”. This baroque cathedral was destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II. It was reconstructed and completed in 2004 as a landmark symbol of reconciliation between former warring enemies. We will also visit the art gallery “Alte Meister” (Old Masters Picture Gallery) with Cranach’s St. Catherine Altarpiece and other masterpieces of European painters. In the afternoon we will drive northward to Berlin and end the day with our Farewell dinner. (B/D)
Day 11: Departure
We will transfer to the Berlin airport and depart home. (B/IF)
Our hotels are chosen for their quality, amenities and proximity to areas of interest. Whenever possible, we choose hotels in town centers, so that you are able to go off and explore in your free time. It may be necessary for us to substitute hotels for others of equal quality. You will be fully informed of any changes that affect you. Enjoy your stay!
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