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Luther Trail 1521

Extending almost 400 kilometres, the Luther Trail 1521 traces the steps that Martin Luther travelled almost 500 years ago on his way to the Diet of Worms and then back to the Wartburg. Most likely he followed the old trade routes from Worms to Oppenheim, where he crossed the river Rhine and continued on to Frankfurt, joining the historical paths connecting the city with Eisenach and Leipzig. Today the hiking and pilgrims' trail follows largely the same route.

Pilgrims on the Luther Trail, photo: Vitaliy Mateha, 123rf 
Pilgrims on the Luther Trail, photo: Vitaliy Mateha, 123rf

In Worms, the Luther Trail starts at St Magnus' Church on picturesque Weckerlingplatz. Passing Trinity Church on the market square, the route proceeds into Heylshof Garden, where Luther took his stance against the King and his realm in 1521 by refusing to recant his teachings.

A plaque today marks the site where Martin Luther stood in the Bishop's palace, which was destroyed by fire in 1689. 

Further along the old fortifications and past the Luther Monument, the world's largest commemoration of the Reformation, the Luther Trail heads to the west side of the main railway station, where it joins the Rhine Terrace Trail, another popular long-distance hiking route between Worms and the state capital of Mainz.  

 

Remaining in Rhenish Hesse, the Luther Trail follows the path of the river to Oppenheim, snaking through expansive vineyards and idyllically appointed towns like Guntersblum and Alsheim with their impressive Heidenturmkirchen, known thus for their supposedly 'pagan' steeples. As it did in Luther's times as well, the trail ends on the Rhine-Hessian side of the Oppenheim ferry point, which carries pilgrims over to Hesse, from where they can continue their journey to Eisenach and the Wartburg via Frankfurt and Bad Hersfeld.

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