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New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, June 21, 1908, Image 19

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1908-06-21/ed-1/seq-19/

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THE WARTBURG CASTLE. AT EISENACH. GERMANY. LANDGRAFENHAUS .N THE FOREGROUND.
ONCE LUTHER'S HOME.
Tl r art burg, Famous German Castle,
Where Avion Society Will Sing.
An unusual affair la to take place on July 14,
When the Arion Singing Society of Brooklyn will
eing in the Wart burg Castle, Eisenach. Ger
many It is a pilgrimage of New World musi-
Cians, enough to fill the cabins of a big ship
■ailing on June 27 from New York to the an
cient building where famous Binding contests
were held in the twelfth century under the pat
ronage of the Landgrave Hermann 1. The num
ber of memben who will go is 230. They will
also sing in Bremen, Berlin and other German
Cities.
The Wartburg la regarded by architects who
fcnow as one of the finest secular structures in
Xrermany. It is also distinguished as the refuge
»f Luther in the turbulent times of the Keforma
lion. for he lived there under the name of
"Junker Georg" from May 4, 1521. to March 0,
1822, encased in his translation of the Bible.
The Arion Society has the distinction of being
*!he first organization of Its kind to be honored
with permission to sing in this old castle The
courtesy is granted by Grand Puke Wilhelm
Ernst of Saxe-Weimar, the present owner of
the Wartburg, who occasionally makes his resi
dence there for short periods. The group of
buildings forming the castle Is situated on the
tor of a hill, six hundred feet above the thrifty
oily of Eisenach. Here begins the beautiful
Thuringtan forest, which stretches away to the
south and east for more than ninety miles. This
Is one of the most lovely and attractive parts of
all Kurope. No wonder the picturesque spot was
Chosen as the site of the grand old castle, which
•was crumbling into ruins long before America
was discovered and has only recently been re
stored.
The surrounding hills are covered with pine
and birch trees, fertile valleys stretch away as
far as the eye can reach, and frequent villages,
With th.ir quaint gables and tiled roofs, mark the
well built highways. In every direction are fine
vistas, with a variety of color at various times
of the year. Steep slopes lead up to the castle
on each side, and the stronghold was well srt
nated to resist a besieging army in medieval
times. Hut the days when trumpets called to
arms while a mailed foe camped at its gates are
long gone by. ami the grim buildings are given
over to the thousands of tourists who come each
year t<> see how the Landgraves lived and to
ex.-iiii;ri< with curious interest the room of the
gi . at reformer.
Emperor Wilhelm is said to have a sp«< iaJ
fondness for the W T artl>urg. He makes occa
sional visits to the castle and occupies apart
ments which are. plain and simple in the ex
trcnu A small drawing room, dining room, bed
ami bath rooms and kitchen are reserved for the
use of the Kaiser. The furniture Is tasteful but
■canty, the divan looks hard and the bed is
Short and narrow A large zinc tub occupies
th< larger part of the bathroom, and in front of
It is a rug with the word "Salve." The kitchen
Is w< II equipped with shiny brass cooking uten
sils, wooden moulds for the desserts, some of
th. in hundreds of years old, and steins of vari
ous shapes and sizes. Here the Emperor gives
evidence «<f his versatility by cooking a meal.
REW-YORK DAILY TWBCSE. SUNDAY. JUKE 21. 1««.
and an elaborate one at that, over the large
range. In a covered case on the wall are pre
served tho white apron and cap and the wooden
spoon and fork which were used by his majesty
when he last acted as chef.
The original Wartburg was built by Ludwig
the Springer in 1067-70 and was the residence
of the Landgraves of Thuringia until the family
ceased to exist in 1247. when it passed to other
hands. Ludwig discovered the hill while on a
hunting expedition. Attracted by the beauty of
the scenery and by the isolated position which
offered natural defences, he exclaimed: "Wart,
Burg, dv sollst inir cine Burg werden" ("Wait,
hill, you shall be a citadel"). From this saying
the nam^ Wartburg is derived. It is said that
his proprietorship was disputed by Herr yon
Frankenstein, who claimed title to the property.
Ludwig must swear that he was ending the
building on ground owned by his father, and
this he was able to do by having workman
carry earth from his own possessions beyond
dispute and scatter it on the site of the castle.
History does not tell if his conscience ever trou
bled him. but the "still, small voice" did not call
loudly In those stormy days of feudal lords and
robber barons when "might was right." A fam
ine prevailed In the land, so that many men
were available for the construction of the cas
tle, and it was completed in three years. It con
sisted of two parts, the Vorburg and the Haupt,
FESTIVAL HALL IN THE LANDGRAFENHAUS, WHERE THE ARION SOCIETY OF BROOKLYN WILL SING,
or Hofburg. In the former is the so-calle.l P.it
terhaus. for the use of visiting knights and the
main watch. The entrance is across a draw
bridge over a deep moat and through a massive
gateway, which was closed by two seta of heavy
gates. To th*- right of the entrance are the
quarters- of the P< hlosskommandant, which are
fitted up in fifteenth century style.
On the second Boot of the Ritterbaus are bo
ther's room and the -Perkheimer Stubehen," the
latter being sent from Nuremberg by the <Iran<l
Duchess Sophie Jn 1871!. The furniture of tho
reformer is as he left it— the heavy writing
table, the stone footstool, the big green stove
and the great bed. with its high posts. Against
the wall is where the inkwell struck wh'n he
hurled it at the head of Satan. A great hole
has been made in the planter by relic hunters
who have carried away souvenirs of Luther's
anger at the devil. At the present rate of dis
appearanei it will not be long before the entire
wall succumbs to the onslaught. The stories
could resist longer the crossbows and rams
of olwen times than the horde of annual visitors,
who number between 30.000 and 40,000.
The room is lighted by two little windows.
Through these Luther could look out upon a
landscape which presented a wealth of attractive
features He did not, however, enjoy his en
forced stay at the castle and was glad to hasten
away to Wittenberg.
Near by Is the little, narrow, <■•;:>'•' „.--■ «• v.
•■Stut'Chen," which was occupied by th» refarm
er*s friend, WHibald Plrkhelm»r, of Nuremberg,
A long, narrow hal!wa> ornamented with many
adages from the old German, leads to th«
"Reformation" room, the walls of which are
adorned with eighteen pictures painted by Pao
fels, Thumann, Linnig and Struy3. They repre
sent scene? In the youth of the great reformer,
hi* arrival at the castle, escorted by mailed
knights, his departure as "Junker Georjf." With
a winter's growth of beard to conceal his Iden
tity; his trial before the court at Wittenberg,
and others of equal Interest in his strenuooj
life. This room is shown to visitors only by
special permission of the commandant.
A narrow hallway dam to the roof and show
ing the rafters is called "Margarethengang." it
leads into the last tower In which the defenders
of the castle could take refuge for the "last
stand." All the rooms were connected by pas
sageways with this stronghold in former times,
the "Elizabethengang" serving this purpose on
the east side. The "Margarether.gang" derives
its name from an incident which happened in
the days of Landgrave Albrecht, "the Vir lous.-
He became enamoured of the pretty m.Vid-ln
waiting, Kunigunde yon Klsenbersr; in fact, so
Infatuated that he decided to make away with
his wife, Margarethe, and marry the girl, who.
it Is alleged, had blinded the whole court by her
beauty.
The Landgrave employed a youth to asrist him
in his evil design, but the wife was warned ami
quickly made preparations to fly fr«>m th.- castl.\
Before the unfortunate woman left he» royal
residence she took leave of her sleeping children.
In her grief she unconsciously bit the cheek cf
her son Frederick, thirteen years old, ?o severely
that he bore the scar all his life, and is known
in history as "Frederick with the Bitten Cheek."
Aided by a faithful servant, SZargaretfce was
lowered in a basket from the ~Em irrcib-r
Stiibchen." which she reached through the pas
sageway now bearing her name, and made her
escape, accompanied by a companion and a
donkey driver. She arrived, after great hard
ship, at Kraienberg, and later at Fulda, where
she died of grief in the same year, am! was
buried at Frankfort.
Interest In the Wartturg must ever centre
about the picturesque building known M the
"Lamlgrafenhaus." It is three stories klgi and
occupies a commanding part of the castVs site
on top of the hill. The third floor is givf-n over
to the large festival hall, where the Arion Society
u-iM sing. It Is a beautifully decorated room,
with raftered ceilings and walls covered with
symbolical pictures. Huge carved benches- are
ranged along the sides, and tapestries are nu
merous. This hall is used only on especially
ft-srive occasions. Its appearance is entirety
modern, although one of the benches is an
original from the early days of the castle. Hi
old building is not without its touch of humor.
On the wall of the gallery leading to the festival
hall are twenty pictures, representing the dec
ades of 'if- 1 for one hundred years. They are:
Han's history: At ten years, a calf; at twenty,
a buck: at thirty, a steer; at forty, a lion; at
fifty, a fox; at sixty, a wolf; at seventy, a dog;
at eighty, a tomcat; at ninety, a donkey; at on»
hundred, an ox's death's head.
Woman's history: At ten years, a chickling:
at twenty, a dove; at thirty, a magpie; at forty.
a peacock; at fifty, a hen; at sixty, a goose; at
seventy, a vulture: at eighty, an owl; at ninety,
a bat; at one hundred, a death's head with a
beak.

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