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16 June 2011 / leggypeggy

Worms is worthwhile

That’s not bad grammar — it’s the slogan on one of the pamphlets for the German town of Worms (pronounce vorms and rhymes with forms). We had a day-trip to Worms while we were staying in Mainz, and it really was worthwhile.

Worms is one of the major sites where the events of the ancient German Nibelungenlied took place. The Nibelungenlied, translated as The Song of the Nibelungs, is an epic poem in Middle High German. It tells of Siegfried, a dragon-slayer at the court of the Burgundians, how he was murdered, and of his wife revenge. Gosh they did revenge well in days gone by.

Along with Cologne and Trier, Worms claims to be the oldest town in all of Germany.

It also has strong links with Martin Luther. In 1517, Luther, an Augustinian monk, nailed his 95 theses to the doors of All Saints’ church in Wittenberg. In the following years, he published several writings which were considered to be heretical. In these writings, he rejected the church dogmas and practices that diverged from the Gospels. He was excommunicated by Rome, but in 1521, Emperor Charles V summoned Luther to the Diet of Worms. He asked Luther to recant his theses. Luther refused to do so. Although the Emperor outlawed him, Luther was protected and ‘shielded’ by his sovereign, Frederick, the Elector of Saxony. A combination of theologic and Reformist claims and political interests eventually resulted in the Reformation. Luther’s ideas spread like wildfire. His conscientious decision had a tremendous and worldwide effect on both religion and politics. Worms has constructed a memorial to Luther. The museum at Worms has a room dedicated to him.

Roman glass in the Worms museum.

The museum is beautifully set out. It has one of Europe’s largest collections of Roman glass, as well as an impressive collection of pottery. They use life-size cutouts to show how people wore jewellery and garments.

Worms’ St Peter’s Cathedral is built upon the foundations of Bishop Burchard’s cathedral (1000–25). It is one of the three imperial cathedrals on the Rhine. The others being in Mainz and Speyer.

Worms also has a large Jewish quarter and the oldest preserved Jewish cemetery in Europe. More than 2000 gravestones have been preserved, including those of Jewish scholar and martyr, Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg (who was born in Worms), and his pupil, Alexander ben Salomon Wimpfen Süßkind.

On a last note, we can all be grateful that Worms brought us the original Liebfraumilch wine.


Leave a Comment
  1. Sy Seltzer / Jun 16 2011 11:51 pm

    Good Morning (NYC)/Afternoon(Europe),

    Interesting to read about the history of the places you have gone to in your travels… you and John have surely visited many locations in Germany so far. Also, surprised to read about the large Jewish Quarter in Worms…. I don’t think there are to many big Jewish communities in German… after WW II and to the present day.



  2. Louise M Oliver / Jun 18 2011 3:02 pm

    Hi Peggy,
    The museum sounds great as does the rest of your visit to Worms.



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