Land of the Lutherans Tour
Join Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary on a tour of the great cities and towns of Germany that shaped the Lutheran Reformation. The twelve-day tour, which includes a day in Prague, will highlight the work of Lutheran pastors and theologians, musicians and artists, and princes and patrons. The tour extends from May 25 to June 5, 2014. Tour leaders are James Tiefel and James Korthals from the seminary and James Danell from Martin Luther College.
Day 1: Sunday, May 25 - Chicago
Depart Sunday evening from Chicago. Destination: Berlin, the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Day 2: Monday, May 26 - Berlin
Welcome to Berlin! Our tour director will meet us at the airport. On the way to our hotel he will point out many of the notable sites of this great city. After hotel check-in we’ll head out for a walking tour of several of the city’s historic districts.
Day 3: Tuesday, May 27 - Berlin and Wittenberg
We’ll spend the morning in Berlin at the world-renowned Pergamon Museum, which features the famed Pergamon Altar and the Market Gate of Miletus, both moved piece by piece from Asia Minor (Turkey) in the early 20th century. After a visit to the great Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom), the city’s main Lutheran church, we’ll enjoy free time to visit other sites as we wish. In the late afternoon we’ll depart via coach for Wittenberg.
Day 4: Wednesday, May 28 - Wittenberg
Wittenberg is the highlight of any tour to the Luther lands, and a local guide will take us on a walking tour of the famous sites, now meticulously restored: Martin Luther’s home which houses many of his personal possessions; the home of his friend and colleague, Philip Melanchthon; the home and studio of Lucas Cranach, the great Reformation artist. We’ll also visit the Castle Church and its famous doors where Luther nailed his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517, and St. Mary’s Church, where Luther and his family worshiped and where he served as preaching assistant.
Day 5: Thursday, May 29 – Wittenberg, Eisleben, and Eisenach
The first stop on Thursday is Eisleben, where Luther was born in 1483 and where he died in 1546. From there we’re off to Eisenach, the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, the greatest of all Lutheran composers and organists. The Bachhaus museum is near Bach’s childhood home, and interested tour members may want to spend some time there on Friday.
Day 6: Friday, May 30 - Eisenach
A local guide will lead us on a walking tour of the well-known Eisenach sites: the home of Madam Cotta, where Luther lived as a student during his teenage years, and the medieval St. George Church, where Bach was baptized and where Luther sang in the boys’ choir and later preached at the time of the Diet of Worms. Just outside the city is the Wartburg Castle. One of Germany’s best preserved castles, the fortress was Luther’s hiding place after the Diet of Worms and the location where he translated the New Testament into German.
Day 7: Saturday, May 31 – Erfurt, Weimar, Jena, and Leipzig
After breakfast in Eisenach we’ll coach to Erfurt. Luther lived in the Augustinian monastery here after he decided to become a monk. We’ll visit St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Church of St. Severus, which house some of the most significant works of religious art in Germany. Our stop in Weimar, where Bach served the royal court, includes a visit to the famous St. Peter and Paul Church and its impressive altar painted by Lucas Cranach, father and son. Luther himself brought the Reformation to Jena, and for many years the university was the center of Lutheran orthodoxy.
Day 8: Sunday, June 1 - Leipzig
In the morning we’ll worship with the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church congregation in Nerchau and then return to Leipzig for lunch and fellowship with other ELFK members. Leipzig is where two great Lutheran composers, Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn, did their greatest work: Bach, who served as Cantor at St. Thomas Church; and Mendelssohn, who revived Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. We’ll be able to visit sites associated with both composers.
Day 9: Monday, June 2 – Leipzig, Grimma, Torgau, and Dresden
On our way to Dresden we’ll stop at Grimma and see the ruins of the Nimbschen monastery where Katherine von Bora resided before she escaped to eventually marry Luther. Torgau has a rich Reformation history and is the site of the Hartenfels Palace and its chapel, the first church to be designed under the influence of Luther’s teaching. In the evening we’ll coach to Dresden.
Day 10: Tuesday, June 3 - Dresden and Prague
We’ll spend most of the day in great Dresden, the city of Lutheran power and wealth. The highlight of the day will be a visit to the Frauenkirche, perhaps the most famous Lutheran church in the world. Designed by George Bahr in 1726 according to Lutheran liturgical concepts, the great domed church was built as a Lutheran response to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The building collapsed in the firebombing of Dresden in 1945 but was rebuilt and rededicated in 2005. We’ll depart for Prague late in the day.
Day 11: Wednesday, June 4 - Prague
Spared from destruction during World War II, Prague remains much the city it was at the time of the Reformation. In the morning we’ll walk through the old town and visit Wenceslaus Square, Hradcany Castle, and St. Vitus Cathedral, said to rival the magnificence of Notre Dame in Paris. John Huss studied in Prague and later served as dean at Charles University, the oldest in central Europe. The afternoon will allow for visits to other Prague sites and shops.
Day 12: Thursday, June 5 – Prague and Chicago
We’ll depart Prague and end our tour as we return to Chicago.
• Air transportation Chicago to Berlin and Prague to Chicago via scheduled carrier including current departure taxes and fuel surcharges of $675.00 (Taxes & fuel surcharges are subject to change)
• Accommodations in superior tourist class hotels with private bath, double occupancy
• Daily breakfast AND dinner
• Services of an English speaking tour director from time of arrival in Europe until departure.
• Porterage of one piece of normal sized luggage at hotels (if available)
• Transportation and excursions as listed in the itinerary via private deluxe motor
• Guided sightseeing tours in Berlin, Wittenberg, Eisenach, Dresden and Prague
• Included admission to: Pergamon Museum, Berlin Cathedral, Castle Church, St. Mary’s Church, Luther House, Melanchthon House, and Lucas Cranach House in Wittenberg, Luther Birth House in Eisleben, Luther House in Eisenach, Wartburg Castle, Augustinian Monastery in Erfurt, St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, and Prague Castle
• All hotel taxes and service charges are included
• All gratuities for the driver and tour director are included
The price of the tour is $3,599.00 per person, based on double occupancy.
For additional tour information, contact Prof. James Tiefel; 262-242-8149 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For reserving a place on the tour, contact Value Holidays, 1-800-558-6850 (Joerg@valhol.com). The reservation deadline is February 10, 2014. Space is limited. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Registration requires a $350.00 deposit per person. An intermediate payment of $500 per person is due January 31, 2014. The balance is due April 10, 2014.