The Melanchthon House

The great humanist and famous reformer Philipp Melanchthon, born in Bretten in 1497, was an intimate friend and collaborator, of Luther. The Melanchthon House was built on the site of his birth place.

         
 The Melanchthon House    Memorial Hall     Chamber of Cities
         

The Melanchthon House was built in the years 1897 – 1903 on the site of the former birthplace of the reformer which had burned down in 1689.

The construction plan by Johann Vollmer, professor for architecture at the Technical University at Berlin-Charlottenburg, was realised by the architect, Prof. H. Billing, Karlsruhe, later by Dr. W. Jung, Durlach.

The foundation stone was layed at the occasion of Melanchthon’s 400th anniversary, on Feb. 16, 1897, its festive inauguration was in 1903. Most of the credit for its realisation is due to the church historian and archeologist Dr. Nikolaus Mueller, University of Berlin.

The building is museum, place of research, one of the most extensive libraries specialised in Melanchthon and place of documentation of the international Melanchthon research.

There is a memory hall with frescoes and further rooms with approx. 11 000 books, 450 autographs, statues, coats of arms, paintings, commemorative coins and prints.

The interior decoration consisting of coats of arms on the ceilings and the walls, sculptures, paintings and other works of art, bookcases, glass cupboards and other furniture as well as precious bull’s eyes has remained unchanged since 1903.

The impressive memorial hall already reveals the biography of the great scholar (who was a relative of Johannes Reuchlin and a lifelong close friend of Martin Luther) and his vast lifework. The hall is frequently used for lectures, concerts, exhibitions etc. The ceiling and parts of the walls of the chamber of cities are decorated with 121 coats of arms carved in wood and giving an impression of the large number of cities, Melanchthon was associated with. The chamber of theologians reminds of the churchmen who were friends of Melanchthon. The chamber of princes presents the political forces of the Reformation. On the paintings and coats of arms in the stained glass windows, those princes, earls and noblemen are depicted, who were committed to introducing the Reformation theology in their territories. The chamber of humanists commemorates Melanchthon’s outstanding contemporaries from the fields of science and arts.