Eight questions for...

Stefan Rhein, director of the Luther Memorial Foundation in Saxony-Anhalt

When I visit the World Heritage Site of Luther Memorials in Wittenberg, what should I definitely not miss?

That is not an easy question. Four buildings comprise the Luther Memorial World Heritage Site in Wittenberg: the Town church, All Saints' Church, Luther's House and Melanchthon's House. All four locations are impressive, and each worth a visit in its own right. What should not be missed is the All Saints' Church with the door that the theses were nailed to and the graves of the reformers Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. The Luther parlor in the Luther's house, one of the actual places where Luther conducted his famous discussions, has a very special atmosphere.

What do you particularly like here?

Wittenberg's historic town center is like a big open air museum. This is where Luther lived and worked, he walked these streets and he knew these buildings. This historic authenticity makes a visit to Wittenberg so special. And not just a visit: I live in Wittenberg and I love it.

Do you have an insider tip?

My insider tip would be the Luther well - not far from Wittenberg's historic town center and close to the shores of the Elbe. The name actually refers to a historic building on the Dresdener Strasse. There is a well shaft in a basement vault here that already existed at the time of the Refomation - the Luther well. Like so many places in and around Wittenberg, Luther is said to have visited this one together with his students.

What impressed you most during your first visit here?

When I think back to my first visit to Wittenberg in 1990, I am impressed every day by the way the town has developed since then. When I was at university I had spent many hours studying the works of Philipp Melanchthon. Then in 1990 I stood for the first time in the room where Melanchthon, a great scholar like Martin Luther, wrote all those things - that was overwhelming.

Which time of the year is the most attractive here?

Every season has its attractions in Wittenberg. I like the town best in spring. In the Luther yard there is a magnolia tree which is beautiful to behold when it's in bloom.

What else should I see here?

Luther and the Reformation aren't the only things that shaped this region. The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz and the Bauhaus Sites in Dessau are two other World Heritage Sites that are in the immediate vicinity. They are well worth a visit and can even be reached on foot along the Elbe.

Visiting World Heritage Sites means working up an appetite. What regional specialty should I try?

In Wittenberg everything is about Luther - even the food. Whether it is Luther bread, Luther cookies, Luther beer or Luther wine, there is no limit to what might be on offer. To sample everything can be a really special experience.

And which World Heritage Site would you like to see one day?

One day I would like to see the Churches of Peace in Świdnica and Jawor. The Reformation didn't just make its mark in Germany.

Stefan Rhein

has been concerned with the Reformation and its present-day consequences for many years.

Since 1988 the philologist has been at the head of the Luther Memorial Foundation in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. He is also chairman of the "Routes to Luther" initiative, which entices visitors to get to know Luther by tracing the scenes of his life through Germany.