A German town, pop. 2,135, welcomes some 2 million visitors for Martin Luther’s 500th; Eliot Stein; Washington Post


Germany – Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg

It’s 8 a.m. in east Germany, and Gunter, a hulking tree trunk of a man, is swinging a hammer over his head, pounding together the steel frame of a 90-foot tower resembling a Bible.

“This is a big year for us!” he exclaims over a chorus of jackhammers. “The world is coming, and we want to build something special so people remember who we are.”

Welcome to Wittenberg, a tiny town with a big heart and an even bigger Bible. You might have heard about this place in history class, and if you’re anywhere in Germany, you’ll hear its name again.

It was here, on Oct. 31, 1517, that an obscure monk might have nailed a piece of parchment to a church door and sparked a religious revolution.

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