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Wittenberg(vĭt`ənbĕrkh'), city (1994 pop. 53,374), Saxony-Anhalt, E Germany, on the Elbe River. A city with a noted history, it is today an industrial and mining center and a rail junction. Manufactures include chemicals and fertilizer. First mentioned in the late 12th cent., Wittenberg was (1273–1422) the seat of the Ascanian dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg (see SaxonySaxony
, Ger. Sachsen, Fr. Saxe, state (1994 pop. 4,901,000), 7,078 sq mi (18,337 sq km), E central Germany. Dresden is the capital. In its current form, Saxony is a federal state of Germany, with its pre–World War II borders reinstated as of Oct., 1990.
..... Click the link for more information. ), who in 1356 became electors of Saxony. In 1423, Saxe-Wittenberg passed to the margraves of Meissen (members of the house of WettinWettin
, German dynasty, which ruled in Saxony, Thuringia, Poland, Great Britain, Belgium, and Bulgaria. It takes its name from a castle on the Saale near Halle. The family gained prominence in the 10th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ), who in 1425 were given electoral rank. Elector Frederick III founded (1502) the Univ. of Wittenberg, which became the center of the Protestant Reformation when Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon taught there. In 1517, Luther is said by tradition to have nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Schlosskirche [castle church], and in 1520 he burned the papal bull against him outside the Elster gate. The first complete Lutheran Bible was printed (1534) at Wittenberg. Primarily the focus of the Lutheran Reformation, 16th-century Wittenberg was also a center of German art. Lucas Cranach, the elder, founded a school of painting there. In 1547 Emperor Charles V captured Wittenberg after the battle of Mühlberg, where Elector John Frederick I of Saxony was captured. By the Capitulation of Wittenberg, in the same year, John Frederick, representing the Ernestine line of the house of Wettin, ceded the electoral dignity and the duchy of Saxony to Maurice, of the collateral Albertine line. The city declined after 1547, when Dresden, residence of the Albertine dukes, replaced it as Saxon capital. In 1815 Wittenberg passed to Prussia, and in 1817 the Univ. of Wittenberg was absorbed by the Univ. of Halle. Among Wittenberg's most notable structures are the Schlosskirche (15th cent.), where Luther and Melanchthon are buried; the town church (14th–15th cent.), where Luther preached; the houses where Luther, Melanchthon, and Lucas Cranach, the elder, lived; and the city hall (16th cent.).
(Lutherstadt), a city in the German Democratic Republic in Halle District on the Elbe. Population, 47,300 (1969). Railroad junction and port. There are machine-building, rubber, chemical, and food-processing industries in the city. It is believed that the first bridge across the Elbe (15th century) was built at Wittenberg. A university was founded in 1502. Wittenberg was first mentioned in 1180. In the 13th century it became the residence of the dukes of Saxe-Wittenberg and then of the electors of Saxony of the Wettin family. In the 16th century Wittenberg was a major center of the Reformation. (M. Luther posted his theses there in 1517.) The city has a church with Luther’s tomb and the Luther Museum (Lutherhaus).