Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Altstadt Lutherstadt Wittenberg-Panorama.jpg
Schlossstraße Wittenberg 6336.JPG
Wittenberg Market square.JPG
Wittenberg - Schlosskirche innen 1.jpg
Lutherstadt Wittenberg,Collegienstraße 54,Universität.jpg
From top: Skyline of Wittenberg,
Wittenberg old town with view to the Castle church (undergoing repairs), Market square with town hall and Stadtkirche Wittenberg, inside Wittenberg castle church and Leucorea university
Coat of arms of Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Coat of arms
Location of Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Lutherstadt Wittenberg is located in Germany
Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Lutherstadt Wittenberg is located in Saxony-Anhalt
Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Coordinates: 51°52′02″N 12°38′54″E / 51°52′02″N 12°38′54″E / 51.8671; 12.6484
 • MayorEckhard Naumann (SPD)
 • Total240.32 km2 (92.79 sq mi)
67 m (220 ft)
 • Total46,272
 • Density190/km2 (500/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes03491

Wittenberg, (ɡ/; German: [ˈvɪtn̩ˌbɛɐ̯k]), officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Wittenberg is situated on the River Elbe, 60 kilometers (37 mi) north of Leipzig and 90 kilometers (56 mi) south-west of Berlin, and has a population of 48,501 (2008).

Wittenburg is famous for its close connection with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, for which it received the honorific Lutherstadt. Several of Wittenburg's buildings associated with the events, including a preserved part of the Augustinian monastery in which Luther lived, first as a monk and later as owner with his wife Katharina von Bora and family, considered to be the world's premier museum dedicated to Luther. Wittenburg was also the seat of the Elector of Saxony, a dignity held by the dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg, making it one of the most powerful cities in the Holy Roman Empire.

Today, Wittenburg is an industrial center and popular tourist destination, best known for its intact historic center and various memorial sites dedicated to Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1996.


Historical affiliations
Duchy of Saxony 1180–1296

Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg 1296–1356
 Electorate of Saxony 1356–1806
Kingdom of Saxony 1806–1815
 Kingdom of Prussia 1815–1871
 German Empire 1871–1918
 Weimar Republic 1918–1933
 Nazi Germany 1933–1945
Allied-occupied Germany Soviet occupation zone 1945–1949
 East Germany 1949–1990

 Germany 1990–present
Wittenberg, 1536
University of Wittenberg in 1644

Historical documents first mention the settlement in 1180 as a small village founded by Flemish colonists under the rule of the House of Ascania. In 1260 this village became the residence of the dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg, and in 1293 the settlement was granted[by whom?] its town charter as a free-standing town.

Wittenberg developed into an important trade centre during the following several centuries, because of its central location. When the local branch of the Ascanians died out in 1422, control of Saxe-Wittenberg passed to the House of Wettin. This town became an important regional political and cultural centre at the end of the 15th Century, when Frederick III "the Wise", the Elector of Saxony from 1486 to 1525, made his residence in Wittenberg. Several parts of boundaries of the town were extended soon afterward. The second bridge over the Elbe River was built from 1486 through 1490 and the castle church (the Schlosskirche in German) was erected from 1496 through 1506. The Elector's palace was rebuilt at the same time.

In 1502 Elector Frederick founded the University of Wittenberg, which attracted some important thinkers, such as Martin Luther—a professor of theology beginning in 1508—and Philipp Melanchthon—a professor of Greek starting in 1518.

On 31 October 1517, according to legend, Luther nailed his 95 theses against the selling of indulgences at the door of the All Saints', the Castle Church – an event taken as marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The Anabaptist movement had one of its earliest homes in Wittenberg, when the Zwickau prophets moved there in late 1521, only to be suppressed by Luther when he returned from the Wartburg in spring 1522. The Capitulation of Wittenberg (1547) is the name given to the treaty by which John Frederick the Magnanimous was compelled to resign the electoral dignity and most of his territory to the Albertine branch of the House of Wettin.

In 1760, during the Seven Years' War, the Austrians bombarded the Prussian-occupied town. The French took control in 1806, and Napoleon commanded the refortification of the town in 1813. In 1814 the Prussian Army under Tauentzien stormed Wittenberg; he received the title of "von Wittenberg" as a reward. In 1815 Wittenberg became part of Prussia, administered within the Province of Saxony. Wittenberg continued to be a fortress of the third class until the reorganisation of German defences after the foundation of the new German Empire led to its dismantling in 1873.

Unlike many other historic German cities during World War II, Wittenberg's town centre was spared destruction during the conflict. The Allies agreed not to bomb Wittenberg, though fighting took place in the town, with bullet pock-marks visible on the statues of Luther and Melanchthon at the market square – or so the popular version of the town's history goes. In actuality, the Luther statue was not even present in the town square during much of the war, but in storage at Luther Brunnen, a roadhouse a few kilometres north of the town.

Wittenberg's reputation as a town protected from Allied bombing is also not entirely historically accurate. On the outskirts of Wittenberg stood the Arado Flugzeugwerke (the Arado Aircraft Factory), which produced components of airplanes for the Luftwaffe. This factory was staffed by Jews, Russians, Poles, political prisoners and even a few Americans—all prisoners engaging in forced labour. Despite the prisoner status of its workers, American and British planes bombed the factory near the end of the war, killing one thousand prisoner workers. The 1995 publication of "...und morgen war Krieg!" by Renate Gruber-Lieblich[2] attempts to document this tragic bombing of Wittenberg.

At the end of the war, Soviet forces occupied Wittenberg; it became part of East Germany in 1949. During the East German period, it formed part of Halle District. By means of the peaceful revolution in 1989, the communist régime dissolved and the town has been governed democratically since 1990.

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Market square with Stadtkirche Wittenberg
Part ofLuther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg
IncludesLutherhaus, Melanchthonhaus, Stadtkirche Wittenberg and All Saints' Church, Wittenberg
Inscription1996 (20th Session)

Historical population

The figures are given for the metropolitan district at the point in time. Up to 1791 the figures are generally estimated, later figures are from census or local authorities.

Historical Population 1800 to 2015
Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1500 2,000—    
1532 4,500+2.57%
1791 4,860+0.03%
1792 4,703−3.23%
1793 4,662−0.87%
1794 4,617−0.97%
1814 4,727+0.12%
1826 6,725+2.98%
1834 8,107+2.36%
1846 10,283+2.00%
1875 12,479+0.67%
1880 13,448+1.51%
1885 13,836+0.57%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1890 14,443+0.86%
1895 16,479+2.67%
1900 18,345+2.17%
1905 20,331+2.08%
1910 22,419+1.97%
1925 24,160+0.50%
1939 35,130+2.71%
1946 41,304+2.34%
1950 49,852+4.81%
1964 46,828−0.45%
1971 47,323+0.15%
1981 53,874+1.30%
1989 51,754−0.50%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1990 49,682−4.00%
1992 55,096+5.31%
1995 53,207−1.16%
2000 49,643−1.38%
2005 47,805−0.75%
2006 46,776−2.15%
2007 45,615−2.48%
2008 47,695+4.56%
2009 50,113+5.07%
2010 49,496−1.23%
2011 49,076−0.85%
2012 46,930−4.37%
2013 46,729−0.43%

from 2012 census.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Wittenberg
Ænglisc: Wittenbeorg
العربية: فيتنبرغ
azərbaycanca: Vittenberq
تۆرکجه: ویتنبرق
башҡортса: Виттенберг
беларуская: Вітэнберг
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Вітэнбэрг
български: Витенберг
bosanski: Wittenberg
català: Wittenberg
eesti: Wittenberg
Ελληνικά: Βιτεμβέργη
español: Wittenberg
Esperanto: Wittenberg
euskara: Wittenberg
فارسی: ویتنبرگ
français: Wittemberg
Gàidhlig: Wittenberg
한국어: 비텐베르크
hornjoserbsce: Wittenberg
hrvatski: Wittenberg
íslenska: Wittenberg
italiano: Wittenberg
עברית: ויטנברג
Basa Jawa: Wittenberg
ქართული: ვიტენბერგი
Кыргызча: Виттенберг
Latina: Wittenberga
latviešu: Vitenberga
lietuvių: Vitenbergas
македонски: Витенберг
Bahasa Melayu: Wittenberg
нохчийн: Виттенберг
norsk: Wittenberg
norsk nynorsk: Wittenberg
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Plattdüütsch: Wittenbarg
polski: Wittenberga
português: Wittenberg
русский: Виттенберг
Scots: Wittenberg
Simple English: Lutherstadt Wittenberg
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Wittenberg
suomi: Wittenberg
svenska: Wittenberg
татарча/tatarça: Виттенберг
українська: Віттенберг
vèneto: Wittenberg
Tiếng Việt: Wittenberg
Winaray: Wittenberg
粵語: 威登堡