Luther, Hagen and heathen towers

Worms, the city of the Nibelungs on the Rhine, is just an hour’s drive from Frankfurt and features various information points that mark out a city tour spanning 2,000 years. It starts off from the Rhine promenade where, legend has it, Hagen von Tronje plunged the legendary Nibelungen treasure into the Rhine, never to be seen again. There is a bronze monument on the bank of the Rhine to commemorate this.

In late summer every year, the Kisselswiese fairground forms the bustling heart of the Backfischfest. Alongside the modern fairground rides, there are also stalls from the wine-makers of Rhenish Hesse, the largest wine-growing region in Germany. There are large plane trees surrounding Kolb’s Biergarten on the Rhine promenade. The half-timbered building with a large terrace is the largest beer garden in town, and also one of the most popular. The menu features hearty local dishes from Rhine-Hesse.

Hagen monument in Worms, Lutherstadt

Hagen monument in Worms, Lutherstadt

The impressive gate tower on the Nibelungenbrücke bridge was built in the Nibelungen style in the late 19th century. The old city wall is just 10 minutes away. The Nibelungen Museum is housed in two towers on the city walls and retells the legendary story of the most famous German chivalric tale. Next door is the Fischerpförtchen, which is also worthy of note as it is said to be how Martin Luther entered the city when he was called to renounce his reformation writings by the Diet of Worms in 1521. 

The Paulus Church in Worms, Lutherstadt

The Paulus Church in Worms, Lutherstadt

The first of the seven churches in the city centre is just a stone’s throw away. St Paulus is a hall church with a Dominican monastery dating back to the 11th to 13th century. It also has an impressive high altar from Dalberg and a Gothic cloister. The towers have an oriental look to them and are a speciality of the region, where they are also known as ‘Heidentürme’ or heathen towers.

On the way to the market square, you pass the baroque Trinity Church and reach the Magnuskirche, a simple one-room church built in Carolingian times that is one of the oldest Reformation churches in the south-west of Germany.

The picture-perfect inner courtyard of the Andreasstift collegiate church on the other side of Weckerlingplatz has a strikingly beautiful cloister. It is also home to the city museum. 

The next stop is the ‘Heiliger Sand’ cemetery on Willy-Brand-Ring, which dates back to the 11th century and is thought to be the oldest preserved Jewish cemetery in Europe.

The Jewish cemetery in Worms, Lutherstadt

The Jewish cemetery in Worms, Lutherstadt

The highlight of the city tour is St. Peters Cathedral. The Romanesque basilica was built in the 11th and 12th centuries and is one of the Imperial Cathedrals on the Rhine alongside those in Mainz and Speyer. The baroque high altar designed by Balthasar Neumann is a very striking piece. The quarrel between Nibelungen queens Kriemhild and Brünhild is said to have taken place at the Kaiserportal to the north. Legend has it that this quarrel led to the murder of Siegfried the Dragon Slayer and the downfall of the Burgundian Empire.

A dachshund on the southern portal of the cathedral is often overlooked, but no less charming. This lop-eared fellow clearly earned this prominent place that would normally have been reserved for a saint. During the renovation work in 1920, he is said to have warned his master, cathedral architect Philipp Brand, about a falling stone by attacking his leg, thus saving his life.

Every summer, the Imperial Cathedral forms the backdrop for the Nibelungen Festival, which centres around the famous saga. It was only because of the anniversary of the Diet of Worms in 2021 that the stage belonged exclusively to Martin Luther.

View of St. Peter's Cathedral in Worms, Lutherstadt

View of St. Peter's Cathedral in Worms, Lutherstadt

Opposite the cathedral is the Heylshof, which is surrounded by gardens. The Heylshof Museum is home to one of the most important art collections in Rhineland‑Palatinate. The Heylshof Gardens were once home to an episcopal palace that was the setting for the historic encounter between Emperor Charles V and Martin Luther. There is an artistic memorial to this event in Heylshof Gardens. Diagonally opposite from here, you can also see the Luther Monument, which was built in 1868. It depicts the monk and scholar among other reformers and is one of the largest monuments to the Reformation in the world.

The Heylshof Park in Worms, Lutherstadt

The Heylshof Park in Worms, Lutherstadt

The Luther Monument in Worms, Lutherstadt

The Luther Monument in Worms, Lutherstadt

At the end of the garden on the Adenauerring, the red sandstone Romanesque Basilica of St Martin with its lovely west portal is visible from afar. Legend has it that St Martin was once incarcerated on this spot because he had converted to Christianity and refused to do military service. On Ludwigsplatz in front of the church, there is a large obelisk fountain in memory of Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse. From there, it is just a few steps to the former Jewish district with its synagogue.

You can finish off the tour in style with a glass of Worms wine at the Wormser Vinothek or one of the other pubs along the Rhine.

More excursion tips for culture lovers in Worms:

More information about holidays in Worms

Find out everything about events, sights and more destinations in Worms at Tourist Information Worms.

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from 12.07.2024 - 28.07.2024