Wartburg College Eisenach Immersion

International partnership that assists Wartburg College students to discover and claim their calling

Operating as usual


Wartburg Castle in Eisenach has many treasures, and this is one... Elisabethkemenate (Lady Elisabeth’s Chamber), a room where Elisabeth of Hungary stayed while she lived in the castle. From the age of four in 1211 until 1228.

Now a Mosaic Room, the vaulted stone architecture has been covered in mosaics, showing her life in more than a million small pieces of glass, gold leaf tiles and mother-of-pearl.

A Hungarian princess, Elisabeth was betrothed from infancy to the future Landgrave Ludwig of Thuringia, at a time when it was the custom for those of princely lineage, and engaged to each other they were to grow up together.

Married at 14, then the mother of three children, she went her own way. Caring for the town's citizens, the sick and the hungry, going from Wartburg Castle to the slums of Eisenach, to give the poor baskets full of bread.

She had a hospital built close to the castle, and visited every day.

Renowned for her charitable work, die Heilige Elisabeth was canonised a saint by the Roman Catholic Church in 1235, four years after her death at the age of 24, as "Mother of the Poor".

Because she saw the world with "Christ's eyes".

Patron saint of Thuringia and Hesse, St. Elisabeth is usually shown as a young woman with a basket of roses, loaves of bread or a water jug, and she is the protector of widows and orphans, beggars, the sick, and the innocently persecuted.

In Thuringia, central Germany, the origins of Wartburg Castle go back to the 11th century, and Lady Elisabeth’s Chamber was decorated with glass mosaics between 1902 and 1906.

It was the wish of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor.

Photo credit: St. Elisabeth Mosaic Room© Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V.


Ties to the Wartburg are everywhere, it seems…

Sebastian Krieg Vielen Dank für die weitere Erklärung, den aussagekräftigen Kontext und den Beitrag zu unserem umfassenderen Verständnis dieses Beitrags!

It was the early 12th century, and Thuringian Count Ludwig the Springer was in love with Adelheid, wife of the Wettin count palatinate who lived in Schloss Goseck on the opposite bank of the Rhine, so he built this castle. Burg Schönburg.

According to the legend at least. Although it certainly has an impressive view over to Goseck Castle.

And after her husband had been murdered, by three princes no less – hmmm 🤔, Count Ludwig and Adelheid married.

Set on a wooded sandstone cliff about 40 m/132 ft above the river, and surrounded by vineyards, Schönburg castle was first mentioned in records in 1149.

Although it was another of those castles in the Upper Middle-Rhine Valley that life did not treat well over the centuries, ending up being burnt down by the French army.

But in 1885 a German-American banker, T. I. Oakley Rhinelander, visited the Rhine valley. Searching for the romantic past, and attracted by the castle's ruins, he decided to restore it to its old plans.

His ancestors had emigrated to the United States from Oberwesel in the late 18th century, and had earned a fortune through real estate transactions on the east coast. Among other things they owned land on what is now New York's Wall Street.

In 1885 Rhinelander acquired the castle and reconstruction work began. He died in 1947 and in 1950 Schönburg was sold by his heirs, since then it has been the property of Obwerwesel, and leased as an hotel and restaurant. So it is one of many German castles where the chance to live like a royal is no longer something that only dreams are made of. 🙂

Photo credit: Traveler100, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


JUST IN: If you previously traveled to Europe without a visa, you will now need to apply for authorization before visiting.


Every summer the 70 steps between 12th century Erfurt Cathedral on the left, der Erfurter Dom - Marienkirche where Martin Luther was ordained as a priest, and 12th century St. Severi Church, der Severikirche on the right, become one of the most beautiful festival stages in the world.

A spectacular open-air festival stage.

For many years Erfurt was part of the former East, and is still something of a hidden treasure, but its unique festival attracts tens of thousands from near and far.

A summer Thuringia highlight, this year Erfurt's Cathedral Steps form the backdrop for the opera Fausts Verdammnis. La damnation de Faust - The Damnation of Faust, by Hector Berlioz. Based on the poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Man's search for meaning between lust for life, vocation and morality. Faust makes a deal with the devil, Mephistopheles is the devil's agent and the price is his soul.

Photo credit: DOMSTUFEN-FESTSPIELE IN ERFURT, Domstufen-festspiele.de, via Thüringen entdecken


It is a journey from Elend (misery/hardship) to Sorge (worry) when you travel on the Harz Railway (Harzquerbahn)... they are neighbouring train stations and villages. 🙂

Which gave rise to a joke in GDR days:

"Wo ist der Sozialismus zu Hause?" Antwort: "Zwischen Elend und Sorge."

"Where is socialism at home?" Answer: "Between misery/hardship and worry."

Photo credit: Voice of Clam, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons and Harzquerbahn.


There is a university here, too…

For Canada Day, the hometown of the first recorded German settler to Québec, in what was until circa 1760 New France.

Erfurt in Thuringen.

Hans Berhard left Erfurt and in 1666 bought land on Île d'Orléans, an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, and if he was into time travel he would still recognise much of the city where he once lived.

Founded in the eighth century Erfurt is Germany's largest single heritage site. Filled with medieval architecture, from cathedrals and bridges to homes, it is a jumble of atmospheric alleys and squares, with a river running through the city's parks and gardens... and a fascinating history.

And this is the 14th century Krämerbrücke, Merchants' Bridge, with 14th century Ägidienkirche, St Giles' Church.

Photo credit: Neptuul, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


– Caspar David Friedrich –

Timeline photos 05/30/2023

… Ob man es jetzt schneller grün hexen kann? 😉 Die neue Fußgängerampel in Wernigerode steht in der Bahnhofstraße auf direktem Wege vom Bahnhof in die Innenstadt. 🧙 🚦

Photos from German Consulate General in Chicago's post 04/12/2023

To promote German language learning abroad, Germany is contemplating asking tourists to say a German word at border control.
The word is to be picked at random from a list prepared by linguistic specialists, including:
🗣️ Eichhörnchen
🗣️ Quietscheentchen
🗣️ Gewürzgurke


Classic 501's have been 'loved' by everyone from politicians to pop stars, and February 26, 1829, Löb Strauss - Levi Strauss, was born in Buttenheim, Upper Franconia, Bavaria.

Co-inventor of the blue jean that for generations was a symbol of classic American cool. Even Albert Einstein had a Levi's bomber jacket.

Eighteen when he emigrated with his widowed mother and two sisters in 1847, he joined his older brothers who ran a wholesale textile business in New York City.

Löb changed his name to Levi soon after his arrival in the USA, and was granted American citizenship in January 1853, moving to Gold Rush San Francisco in the March.

There he began a wholesale dry goods business to serve the small general stores of the American West.

This sold everything from toothbrushes and umbrellas to handkerchiefs and clothes. And as the West Coast representative for his family’s New York firm, much was imported from his brothers Jonas and Louis.

Together with Jacob Davis, a tailor from Reno, Nevada, and one of the suppliers to the Strauss clothing and accessories company, Strauss obtained a patent for strengthening pockets on denim work pants with copper rivets.

Davis had invented riveted denim pants in 1870 and produced them since then, but wanted a business partner, so he and Levi shared the costs of the patent. This was granted to "Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss & Company" on May 20, 1873.

Riveted 'waist overalls' became Levi Jeans, and quickly gained a reputation for durability and quality.

The iconic Levi two Horses logo symbolises the strength of the jeans, and they have come a long way from their origins as sturdy pants for working men.

Born into an Ashkenazi Jewish family, Levi Strauss was one of San Francisco's greatest philanthropists, and he died there on September 26, 1902.

Photo credit: Levi Strauss.com


Gestern hat sich Eisenachs neue Citymanagerin Nadia Jula Schwedler vorgestellt. Sie ist seit 1. Februar bei der Eisenach-Wartburgregion Touristik beschäftigt. „Eisenach hat noch viel ungenutztes Potenzial. Es ehrt und freut mich gleichermaßen, dass ich nun die Chance habe, an einer zukunftsorientierten Veränderung mitzuwirken“, sagt Nadia Schwedler zu Ihrer neuen Tätigkeit. Dabei möchte Sie die Entwicklung der Innenstadt mit ihrer Begleitung, ihrem Wissen und ihren Erfahrungen entscheidend voranbringen und mit neuen Ideen bestehenden Projekten Aufwind verleihen. Wir heißen sie herzlich willkommen und wünschen ihr viel Spaß bei ihrer neuen Aufgabe!

Mehr dazu: https://www.eisenach.de/service/pressemitteilungen/pressemitteilung-im-detail/citymanagerin/


Halle market place, in what is now Saxony-Anhalt, looking much as it would have done 23 February 1685, when Georg Friedrich Händel was born here.

Although musical from an early age his father intended he should study law, so Handel and his mother hid a clavichord in the attic and he practised there whenever his father was not at home.

During his life Handel became known as one of the greatest composers of all time, and a supreme master of the Baroque era in music.

After working at the opera house in Hamburg he spent some years in Italy then made a visit to London in 1710... and did not return to Germany.

His reputation grew as a composer of Italian opera for the London stage, but the accession of George I was a problem for Handel as he had previously been employed by the new king.

George was Elector of Hanover in Germany, and Handel had broken his terms of employment by remaining in England, but he was forgiven and enjoyed royal patronage for the remainder of his life.

Handel was more popular in England than in his native country, and anglicised his name from Händel to Handel.

Before he died in 1727 a last act of King George I was to sign "An Act for the naturalising of George Frideric Handel and others“, and Handel's first commission as a naturalised British citizen was to write music for the coronation of George's son. The future King George II, which took place later that year.

The piece was "Zadok the Priest", which has been used at the coronation of every British monarch since that time.

Here it is at the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth II June 2, 1953. The video is in black and white, and the sound not what we are used to these days, http://bit.ly/3Hfkb7N , but it is a piece of history.

Handel died April 14, 1759, and is buried in Westminster Abbey, London.

Photo: Der Marktplatz in Halle (Saale), with 16th century Marienkirche, the 19th century Händeldenkmal and 16th century Rotem Turm.

Photo credit: Omits, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


It is Tulpensonntag, Tulip Sunday. Karnevalssonntag or Fastnachtssonntag in other German regions.

The Sunday before Rosenmontag, and 49 days, exactly seven weeks, before Easter Sunday.

And this is spring at Blumeninsel Mainau, where the scent and colours of millions of spring flowers is a glorious experience for sight and senses.

First Snowdrops, then Crocus, Narcissus, Tulips, and Hyacinths, with Peonies the last to bloom before the summer flowers arrive.

Mainau is an island on Lake Constance, not far from the city of Konstanz in Baden-Württemberg, consisting entirely of flower filled parks, gardens and pergolas. With waterfalls, sculptures, fountains, Mediterranean terraces, and thousands of multicolored butterflies in their butterfly garden and house.

And a Baroque jewel in the middle of the island, early 18th century Schloss Mainau.

The lake shares its shoreline with Germany's Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, parts of Austria and Switzerland, and the "Flowering Island" is set against a background of the Alp's snow covered peaks.

Photo credit: Tulip blossom by Peter Allgaier via Mainau.de


It’s Black History Month, and there are ways to combine that with a German twist. This is a good one:

Many of the new German immigrants to America were confused by the Jim Crow laws, segregation, and the treatment of fellow Black citizens. And some would try to do something about it when opportunity arose.

Meet Nick Dreystadt, who in 1932 convinced GM to not be so racist and try to cater to Black Americans as car consumers. When Cadillac was struggling during the depression, Dreystadt, who in 1932 had become Cadillac’s works manager, suggested the company try to gear (pun intended) towards the Cadillac for African American buyers. Cadillac was a luxury brand (i.e. white middle class and up), but the recession hit GM badly; from 55,770 sold Cadillacs in 1930 to little over 8,000 sold cars in 1932. Something had to be done.

GM had discouraged Cadillac to sell to Blacks, and the few affluent Black people who drove Cadillacs had had to use the help of White friends and employees to go and purchase the cars for them.

Saarbrükcken born Dreystadt (b. 1889) had arrived in America as a 13 year old. A decade later he was still struggling with the language, but had started his way up through the car manufacturing industry (as a mechanic, as a factory worker, as a car salesman, you name it!) in the Midwest. Likable and with a nose for consumer needs - and fairness!

It took desperate times for GM to go along with Dreystadt’s suggestion. Ads were made featuring African Americans, salesmen were instructed to not turn African Americans away, and African Americans were hired as salesmen. It would take less than two years before Cadillac broke even. That year Dreystadt was made the president of the Cadillac Division, and every year the profits would exceed the ones from the year before. Dreystadt - and thousands of Black car buyers - literally saved Cadillac from bankruptcy.

Cadillac is still a hugely popular car brand with Black Americans, and it was an African American hobby historian who made me aware of this story. And yes, he drives a Cadillac.



It was before the Erfurt pogrom, of March 1349, that a Jewish merchant hid a fortune in a hole under the basement entrance of his house.

And there it remained for centuries, until 1998.

This Jewish wedding ring is only the third ever found, and is part of the Erfurt Treasure.

According to medieval Jewish tradition, made of pure gold, without any trimmings of gemstones, and only worn during the wedding ceremony.

One the bottom side of its broad circlet is an image of two interlocked hands, an ancient symbol of marital fidelity. Along its sides, two winged dragons carry a stylised Gothic temple, and engraved on the roof areas is the Hebrew wish for happiness. "Mazel Tov".

Rings, brooches, belt buckles, coins in silver tableware, more than 3000 French silver coins, 700 pieces of Gothic goldsmiths’ work, silver bars, all dating from the late 13th and early 14th century, and all wrapped in a cloth.

Construction workers were preparing for new buildings when they came across a silver bowl in a Michaelisstraße cellar on that day in 1998. Thinking it was tin they put it to one side.

No archaeological investigations had been planned there, but what the archaeologists brought to light after they saw the piece of "tin" is the Erfurt Treasure.

And unique worldwide.

Witness to amazing craftsmanship, and an insight into a world of more than 670 years ago, the treasure has been on show in the basement vault of Erfurt Old Synagogue, in Thuringia central Germany, since October 27, 2009.

Not far from where merchant Kalman von Wiehe buried it, before he and his family became victims of the pogrom.

Photo credit: Jens König via thueringer-allgemeine.de


Apropos Freitag, der 13.:



Für das neue ✨Jahr 2023✨ sind wieder einige Veranstaltungen in Eisenach geplant❗
Damit Ihr nichts verpasst, folgt hier ein kleiner Einblick vorab:

8. - 19.02. Biathlon-Weltmeisterschaften Oberhof

𝐌ä𝐫𝐳 /𝐀𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐥
4.03. H***y Tonk - Kneipenfestival
11. - 12.03. Kommersch
17. - 26.03. Sommergewinn
21.03. -23.04. Thüringer Bachwochen

13.05. Rennsteiglauf
18. - 21.05. German Race Wars Teil 1

2.06. ABBA on Stage The Tribute Show
18. - 20.07. Demopark

28.06. - 09.07. - Sommertheater (Theater am Markt, Stadtschloss)
1.07. - 18. KinderKulturNacht

4. - 7.08. - Wartburg-Treffen „Heimweh“
11. - 13.08. - Brunnenfest Bad Liebenstein

Street Food Festival Eisenach
25.- 26.08. Weinfest - Wandelhalle Eisenach
1. - 3.9. - German Race Wars Teil 2

5. - 23.10. - ACHAVA Festspiele
27. - 31.10. - Bachfest in Eisenach

Eisenacher Kulturherbst

27.11. - 22.12.-Weihnachtsmarkt Eisenach
alle Adventswochenende -Weihnachtsmarkt Wartburg

Vielen Dank an für die tolle Aufnahme!

̈ringen ̈ringen ̈ringenentdecken ̈ringen

7 Myths and Legends You’ll Only Hear in Germany 12/30/2022


7 Myths and Legends You’ll Only Hear in Germany Advertisement Germany’s famous black forests and early society make it the perfect magic pot for campfire stories. Sinister, comical, mysterious and mythical happenings all form the German myths, legends and folklore tales still heard today. Warm your imagination with some of these fantastical fav...


Saint Sylvester (Pope Sylvester I) and the New Year

When the old year ends and a new one dawns, Germans celebrate like most people around the world. Parties and fireworks are the norm, although many people choose to spend Silvester quietly at home watching “Dinner for One” on TV. So how did New Year’s Eve come to be called “Silvester” in German?

We don’t know when he was born, but Sylvester I was pope (Papst) from 314 until he died in Rome on 31 December 335. Legend says that Pope Sylvester cured Roman emperor Constantine I of leprosy (after converting him to Christianity, of course), for which the grateful emperor supposedly gave the pope the so-called Donation of Constantine, granting him extensive rights to land and power. However, as is often the case, the historical facts contradict the legend, and the “donation” itself seems to be a forgery going back to the 8th century. This and other Sylvester legends arose no doubt because so little is actually known about the man who served as pope for 21 years.

Over four centuries passed before St. Sylvester’s relics were moved to the Church of San Silvestro in Capite, Italy in 762. San Silvestro (St. Sylvester) is now the national church of English Catholics in Rome, and St. Sylvester’s feast day, 31 December (New Year’s Eve), is called Silvester or Silvesterabend in German. See these links for more about the man: Silvester I. (German) and Pope Sylvester (English).



And the Word of the Day (next days)... Glühwein-Marathon

Also known as "Der vorweihnachtliche Trubel", the pre-Christmas frenzy. 😊

So here is a simple, but delicious, Glühwein recipe from the Schwarzwald, Black Forest, for that marathon...


3 Bottles Dry Red Wine... (does not have to be brilliant but one that you would be happy to drink normally, Gallo Ruby Cabernet, a red Zinfandel or a Shiraz would all work well)
3 Oranges, untreated or washed thoroughly
1 Lemon or Lime, untreated or washed thoroughly
1 Large Apple, untreated or washed thoroughly
3 Cinnamon sticks
1 Star Anise
10 Cloves
3 Dessert Spoons Raisins
Sugar to taste, Brown is best

Pour wine into a large pan and warm slowly to just below boiling point.

Wash apple and an orange, cut orange into slices including peel, core and remove seeds from apple cutting into small chunks.

Squeeze juice from remaining oranges and the lemon.

Add all the ingredients including the spices, but excluding the sugar, to the warmed wine, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, allow to stand for another 20 minutes then taste.

Remove the cloves, star anise and cinnamon if you feel it is spiced enough, add sugar to your taste.

Now it can be left for a few hours and is there ready for surprise guests.

The fruit can be removed and the mixture strained through cheesecloth or a fine sieve but that is optional. Slowly reheat the wine mixture, it is important that the liquid never boils, and pour the Glühwein into warmed mugs or heat proof glasses.

Glühwein with White, Raspberry, Blueberry, or Blackberry wines, as well as alcohol free wine, can be made with this recipe.

While a shot of Amaretto or Rum added as it is served is a Weihnachtsmarkt favorite.

Photo credit: Glühwein via de.Wikipedia

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