In the town centre of Großkochberg is the Church of St Michael, which, with its 18th century ceiling frescos, baroque pulpit and intricately carved winged altar from the Saalfeld School dating from 1500, is well worth a visit.
Before the beginning of the Reformation, in 1502, the parish of Orlamünde was controlled by the All Saints' Seminary in Wittenberg. As a result of this connection, Andreas Bodenstein, known as Karlstadt, came to Orlamünde in 1523. In the same year, Karlstadt was elected as priest of Orlamünde after the community overthrew his predecessor due to the tithe taxes system. Karlstadt reformed the liturgy, abolished infant baptism and removed the organ and images of the saints. He was an influential figure of the reformatory movement within the entire Saale Valley. In many respects – such as the debates about images and Holy Communion – his views were similar to those of the Zwinglis and the Calvins. For a short while, he worked closely with Thomas Müntzer, but did not join the Allstedt League as he rejected the use of violence to implement the Reformation. However, Luther saw him as a supporter of Müntzer and determined to remove him. Karlstadt held his position as a priest until 18 September 1524 when he was exiled from Electoral Saxony. In the Parish Church of St Mary, a memorial stone commemorates Karlstadt’s work and influence in Orlamünde.
On 24 August 1524, Martin Luther came to Orlamünde to call the community to account regarding their iconoclastic behaviour at the inn on the market square. However, the inhabitants defended their priest Karlstadt and defended him against all Luther’s arguments meaning that he had to abandon his speech. The usually eloquent Reformer was for once lost for words, and the angry citizens of Orlamünde are said to have shouted at him to ‘…get out in the name of a thousand devils, and may you break your neck before you have left this city’ as he beat a hasty retreat.
The inn that now stands on the historic cellars dates from the post-Reformation era. A plaque on the wall commemorates the debate between Martin Luther and the people of Orlamünde.