On a walk around the old quarter, you can still see monuments of the Reformation and the places associated with Martin Luther.
Wilhelmsburg Palace, a remarkable monument to the art and culture of the German Renaissance, was built for Landgrave Wilhelm IV of Hesse-Kassel between 1585 and 1590 as a secondary residence, hunting lodge and summer retreat. The rooms and apartments are adorned with magnificent wall paintings and stucco work in the late German-Flemish Renaissance style. The interior of the palace's Protestant chapel is particularly impressive. At its heart is a splendid pulpit arranged axially to the altar and the organ – the oldest playable wooden-pipe organ in central Europe. Other auxiliary buildings and the Italian-French style terraced gardens were added after 1600 under Landgrave Moritz of Hesse-Kassel, an early absolutist prince who greatly appreciated the pleasures of court life.
Built between 1437 and 1509, this is one of the finest hall churches in Thuringia. Landgrave Philip of Hesse appointed the first Protestant priest to the church in 1525. In February 1537, the most distinguished Protestant theologians of the time preached there. Among them was Martin Luther, who gave sermons on two separate occasions. The old parament chamber now houses a small museum known as the Luther room.
This centrally located building dating back to 1412 is one of the five surviving stone houses in Schmalkalden that reflect the town's heyday. The town hall is also where the Schmalkaldic League was founded. From 1530 to 1543, it was also one of the most important places where the league convened. The events of the 16th century are commemorated by the coats of arms for the member towns in the foyer, a bust of Luther by Berlin-based artist Wieland Förster (1996) and a mural depicting Schmalkalden in the 16th century.
The grandest town house in Schmalkalden dates back to the middle of the 14th century. The papal nuncio Peter van der Vorst stayed there when the Schmalkaldic League convened in 1537.
The Hessenhof was the administrative headquarters of the Landgraves of Thuringia until 1241, and of the Landgraves of Hessen from 1360. In 1551, it became the dowager residence of Elisabeth von Rochlitz, sister of Landgrave Philipp of Hesse. During the meeting of the Schmalkaldic League in 1537 the building was used for debates between Protestant theologians. A room in the north basement dating back to 1225/30 features one of the oldest secular wall paintings in central Europe, depicting scenes from the epic tale of Iwein by Hartmann von Aue. The Hessenhof owes its prominence as an architectural and artistic monument in Thuringia to the fresco. It is likely that Elisabeth of Thuringia saw her husband Ludwig IV for the very last time there on 27 June 1227.
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.
Luther's house is the starting point of the Martin Luther walking trail (17km), which follows the route taken by Luther to Tambach-Dietharz in 1537. Luther's apartment itself features an exhibition entitled: "A state founded on faith - Philip the Magnanimous, Landgrave of Hesse 1504-1567"
The hallmark of the Rosenapotheke (Rose Apothecary), in common with all of Schmalkalden's stone houses, is its steeply rising stepped gable. For decades, the building was used by post riders, before it became a pharmacy in 1664. Philipp Melanchthon lived in a side wing in 1540.