Surrounded by History

It's hard to believe we left Chicago O'Hare only a few weeks ago. Our trip has already taken us to several remarkable places, and after Leipzig, we moved on to the picturesque cities of Eisenach and Heidelberg. Eisenach rests in a quiet valley overlooked by the storied Wartburg Castle. Here, Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, and a century and a half later J.S. Bach was born in the town.

The city prides itself on preserving its rich history. One can tour the Bachhaus and see an extensive history of the composer or the castle and see where Luther made one of the largest steps in the Reformation. During our time in Eisenach, we made a day trip to Erfurt to see what else the central German region had to offer. We saw the monastery Luther attended and admired the rest of the city's history.

One aspect of the country I notice is the depth and complexity of history we see. In the U.S., our buildings and historic sites may often have a compelling story to tell, but these stories seem like small fables compared to the centuries of history places like the Wartburg Castle have. These cities of former East Germany put plain postwar apartment buildings up next to medieval sites. In Erfurt, we toured Luther's monastery and after lunch went to Topf and Sons, the company that created the ovens capable of killing up to 10,000 people a day during the Holocaust. The history of these cities spans centuries, but never happen in a vacuum. We look forward to better understanding these connections as we move onto Stuttgart.

Courtyard of Wartburg Castle.