Lutherstadt Eisleben is one of the oldest towns between the Harz mountains and the river Elbe and is where Martin Luther came into this world and also left it. The house where he was born and the house where he died (now a museum), two of the sites most closely associated with the life and works of Martin Luther, have been UNESCO world heritage sites since 1996. Other places with connections to Luther can also be found in the town.
Under Luther's influence St. Anne's Church became the first Protestant church in the Mansfelder Land region. The 29 Biblical scenes depicting the four Apostles and scenes from the Old Testament carved in sandstone in St. Anne's Church are particularly significant.
The medieval market square in the centre, the town hall, the residences of the Counts of Mansfeld and imposing town houses trace the history of Eisleben's development over the centuries. Eisleben was first mentioned in records in 994 AD and was granted a town charter in the 12th century. The town grew in importance in the 15th and 16th centuries, mainly due to the copper mining and smelting industry in the territories of the once powerful Counts of Mansfeld. The district of Neustadt, a settlement for miners where St. Anne's Church and the adjacent Augustinian Friars' monastery are located, was established in the town's heyday. As the local curate, Martin Luther often used to stay there.
Just a stone's throw from the house where Martin Luther was born stands the Church of St. Peter and St Paul, a late-Gothic hall church worth a visit for its soaring pillars and reticulated vaulting. Luther was baptised here on 11 November 1483 on St Martin's Day, one day after his birth. The "Luther baptismal stone" in the chancel commemorates the occasion.
St. Andrew's Church with its imposing bell tower dominates the market square. This late-Gothic hall church built in the 15th century was where Martin Luther gave his last sermon, and where his body was laid to rest before being taken to Wittenberg. The tombs of the Counts of Mansfeld can be seen in the side chapels.
The Cistercian convent of St Mary of Helfta is located outside Eisleben. It was founded in 1229 below Mansfeld Castle and in 1258 the nuns moved to Helfta. It went on to become a major European religious and cultural centre. Three women represent the influence of the convent on German mysticism and literature in the 13th century: Getrud the Great, Mechthild of Magdeburg and Mechthild of Hackeborn.
The convent in Helfta was not used as such for 450 years until ten years ago when a community of nuns revived it. It has now become a popular place of pilgrimage along the Romanesque Route.
The scenery of the Mansfelder Land region reflects its history as a mining area and also shows clearly that it is in the foothills of the Harz mountains. Relax and enjoy the region's forests and hills, Süsser See lake and its amenities as well as ancient castles and abbeys.