Birthplace of Thomas Müntzer
Stolberg is the place where Thomas Müntzer, a theologian and leader of the peasant uprisings which would engulf Central Germany, was born in 1489. The minting of coins had a long tradition in the town by the time Thomas was born. This is made evident by his surname Müntzer which signifies ‘coiner’ in English. Martin Luther came to Stolberg on 21 April 1525 and preached against the revolting peasants from the pulpit of St. Martin’s Church. On 2 May 1525, the same rebellious peasants managed to force their way into the town and compelled Count Botho of Stolberg to accept their demands. On a hillside overlooking the city stands the so-called Luther Beech (Lutherbuche) tree memorial. Legend has it that in 1525, on the Friday after Easter, Luther and his friend William Reifenstein went on a hike in the mountains near Stolberg. The beech tree marks the spot where the two of them were supposed to have looked down upon the city. It is said that Luther used the occasion to compare Stolberg’s townscape to a bird, describing Stolberg Castle (Schloss Stolberg) as its head, the market square as its rump and the three alleys leading to it as its wings and tail respectively.
The spectacular landscape of the Southern Harz region and medieval charm of the town of Stolberg and its half-timbered houses offer plenty of sightseeing options – Stolberg is a lovely destination for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the history of Central Germany. Many prominent individuals who were born in Stolberg or visited, lived or worked here have left their mark on the history of Europe. Thomas Müntzer is one of them.
The town church in Stolberg features a glass window containing an image of Martin Luther as well as paintings of both Luther and Melanchthon. On the site of the house where Thomas Müntzer was born – the original burned down in 1851 – in what is now called Thomas-Müntzer-Alley, stands Thomas Müntzer House (Thomas-Müntzer-Haus). A commemorative plaque on a modern half-timbered house honours the theologian and former leader of a peasant uprising.
What to see in Stolberg (Harz)