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The first trip on the 2005 exchange return visit to Germany took us to Eisenach and the Wartburg. On our way there, we briefly stopped at Point Alpha, former frontier point on the tightly secured frontier between East and West Germany, and were informed by Christian about the various means by which the Eastern German government tried to stop its people from crossing the border into West Germany. 

Since the Wartburg is situated high up on a hill, the coach can’t take you all the way up  - and whereas some of us decided to walk, others opted for the traditional donkey ride.

The Wartburg is one of the most beautiful and best kept German castles. In 1999, it was placed on UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. According to legend, the Wartburg was founded in 1067 by Ludwig der Springer (Ludwig the Jumper). With him began the unprecedented development of the "Ludovinger" family, who ruled for more than 200 years as the most influential princes in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

However, it was a woman who made the castle world famous: from 1211-1228 St. Elizabeth lived at the Wartburg, at the time court of the Thuringian landgraves. In 1221 the Hungarian princess married the landgrave Ludwig IV. Her ascetic way of life was based on the principals of St. Francis of Assisi, and she was viewed by the court with suspicion. After the death of her husband in 1227, Elizabeth followed her father confessor to Marburg in order to live her life in poverty, chastity and humility. She was canonized by Pope Gregor IX only four years after her early death in 1231.

For more information on the Wartburg please see www.wartburg-eisenach.de/frame_st.htm

 

The guided tour of the  Wartburg informed us about the castle itself, of course, but also gave us a glimpse at German history as a whole, since apparently this castle at various times in its existence played an important role in it.

 

 We had some time to visit Eisenach afterwards, birthplace of famous German composer Johann Sebastian Bach

 

 

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