The Renaissance castle in Windischleuba initially belonged to the Börries family of Münchhausen. Today it is used as a youth hostel.
Martin Luther travelled to Borna many times. Here he visited his friend, Michael von der Straßen, a professional travelling companion and a passionate advocate of the Reformation. Luther preached in the church of Borna and helped provide the town with its first Protestant priest as early as 1519. In 1522, unrest in Wittenberg caused Luther, disguised as Squire George, to stop in Borna on the way from Wartburg Castle to Wittenberg. On 6 March 1522, Ash Wednesday, he wrote his famous letter to the elector Frederick the Wise. In the letter he justified his reasons for leaving Wartburg Castle against the will of the elector and referred to himself as a free man due to his faith in God.
The town of Borna requested that Luther be escorted to Wittenberg. He arrived there the next day and managed to calm the unrest that was threatening the Reformation.
The von Einsiedel family, who owned Gnandstein Castle until 1945, were one of the first Saxon noble families to openly embrace reformatory Lutheran ideas. It is well known that there was an intensive exchange of correspondence between Martin Luther, George Spalatin and other fellow campaigners.
Martin Luther described the von Einsiedels as “…a rare and unique light in the darkness of the confused nobility of this century.” In the castle’s late gothic chapel, a picture of Luther preaching bears witness to the events of the Reformation.
Make sure you find time to visit Altenburg Castle.