St George's Church in Eisenach
The centre of Eisenach's Old Quarter is dominated by the large Church of St George, standing in the southern section of the marketplace. Martin Luther preached here regularly during the Reformation era, making it one of the oldest Protestant churches in Europe. Until the merging of the ecclesiatical provinces of Saxony and Thuringia, it was the episcopal church of the Protestant-Lutheran Church in Thuringia.
First mentioned in records in 1196, the church has frequently been altered and extended right up to the present day. However, the basic form has survived in the style of a Gothic hall church, but major alterations shape the mixed image of the building. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the tower was added in neo-Baroque style. Living accommodation was provided in the 70's in the bell tower dating from 1585. Since last renovation in 1978 and refurbishment of the interior in 2011, there has been no alteration of the church but only performance of the necessary maintenance work.
The tombstones of former Thuringian landgraves lie in the choir of St George's Church. They were moved here from the former monastery of Reinhardtsbrunn after Eisenach was selected as a royal residence town. In 1221, Landgrave Ludwig IV and Elisabeth of Hungary, the king's daughter, were married here. She was canonised by the Roman Catholic Church after her death and is today known as "Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia".
After being condemned by the Edict of Worms in 1521, the fugitive Martin Luther preached in St George's Church in Eisenach.
In 1685, the probably most famous Baroque musician and composer, namely Johann Sebastian Bach, was christened in St George's Church. Another major representative of Baroque music was frequently a guest in St George's Church - Georg Philipp Telemann composed numerous concerts, cantatas, serenades and church works during his 4-year stay at the Eisenach Court from 1708 onwards. In 1709, he married Amalie Luise Juliane Eberlin here.
St George's Church is the home of a valuable Schuke organ dating from 1982. It replaced an organ built in 1911 by Jehmlich Orgelbau Dresden. Its outward appearance still originates from the Sterzing organ, which was built at the end of the 17th century and was in its time the largest organ in Thuringia.
St George's Church has a set of five bells in its 62-metre high tower. The oldest is the so-called Sunday bell dating from 1585 and bearing a relief of Saint George. It is a recast of an historic 13th century bell. The newest and largest bell, the Feastday bell, was made in Apolda in 1960, has a diameter of 1.86 metres and weighs more than 3.5 tonnes.