Schmalkalden, on the southern edge of the Thuringian Forest, is one of the finest surviving examples of a central European town of the Middle Ages. Its old quarter has so many enchanting places for you to discover: quiet secluded corners and narrow lanes that open up into pretty little squares. The history of the town shines through in the lovingly restored timber-framed buildings, the stone houses, the late-Gothic hall church of St. George and Wilhelmsburg Palace, a jewel of Renaissance art and architecture.
Formerly part of Hessen, Schmalkalden was a focal point for Germany and Europe in the 16th century. The Landgrave Philip of Hesse was one of the first Protestant princes of Germany and an adversary of Charles V. He regarded the reformation of the church – driven by the faith of Martin Luther – not as a purely German event, but as a change that would resonate throughout the whole of Europe.
Martin Luther lived on the second floor of this house from 7 to 26 February 1537 during the most important meeting of the Schmalkaldic League. He was the guest of the Hessian chamberlain Balthasar Wilhelm. Luther also preached in Schmalkalden, while his famous Schmalkaldic Articles became the statements of the Lutheran Protestant faith around the world. These achievements are remembered by a stucco panel from 1687 which bears an inscription, the swan (Luther's symbol), and the seals used by Luther and Melanchthon.