Replica of Luther’s traveling carriage at Wartburg Castle © Maik Schuck

A detailed replica of Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) traveling carriage has been on display at Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Thuringia, since Tuesday. Unlike other museum exhibits, visitors are not only allowed to touch, but even to climb in.

The vehicle will be used in the upcoming National Special Exhibition "Luther and the Germans" at Wartburg Castle from 4. May to 5. will be on view in November. Exhibition guests will be able to sit in the carriage and experience how the reformer traveled through the countryside.

A good three weeks before its opening, the national special exhibition is thus taking shape, said castle governor Gunter Schuchardt in the Wartburg city on Tuesday. The bulk of the loans for the exhibition, however, are not expected until after Easter, he said.

From the time of the mock hijacking

The exhibition opens on 4. May refers to the day Luther arrived at Wartburg Castle after the Diet of Worms and his mock abduction in 1521. At that time, however, on horseback, Schuchardt explained. His carriage was left behind at the site of the fictitious attack at Altenstein Castle. For the journey to Worms, the reformer had a carriage from the Wittenberg town council at his disposal.

4.20 x 2.60 meters

After scientific consultation by the historian Rudolf Wackernagel, the Braunschweig carpentry workshop "Die Drei" dared to reproduce the so-called Kobelwagen, which is about 4.20 meters long and 2.60 meters high. Cartwright Theo Malchus personally delivered the "highlight exhibit," according to the Wartburg Foundation, in Eisenach. For this purpose, the car was disassembled into four individual parts, which were then reassembled in the inner courtyard of the Wartburg, including the semi-circular top.

Touch and enter

For the duration of the special exhibition, the motto "touching allowed" will apply there – unlike for the other museum treasures and valuable loans of the exhibition. Visitors will also be allowed to climb aboard the wagon and have their picture taken inside, the castle’s captain promised.

"Luther and the Germans" is one of three major exhibition projects for the anniversary of the Reformation. The two partner exhibitions "The Luther Effect. 500 Years of Protestantism in the World" and "Luther! 95 Treasures – 95 People" will be on display from Wednesday (12. April) at the Gropiusbau in Berlin, or from 13. May will be shown in the Luther House in Wittenberg. All three special exhibitions end on 5. November.

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