Monumental expressions of sublime architecture and the power of the Church
The cities of the Historic Highlights of Germany present a vivid record of how religion evolved in Germany - indeed, throughout much of Europe - during the past two millennia.
In the 4th century, the city of Trier numbered between 60,000 and 80,000 inhabitants, saw six Roman emperors reign from here and, under Constantine the Great (306-316), became an early center for the spread of Christianity north of the Alps.
The influence of the Mainz ecclesiastics as archchancellors of the Holy Roman Empire and organizers of the elections of the German kings in the Middle Ages was enormous. This finds self-confident expression in the epithet "Golden Mainz". This still stands for the city on the Rhine River even today. The Jewish tradition of "Magenza" also lasted from the Middle Ages until the twentieth century. Poetry and prayers bear witness to the fame of the city's scholars.
Numerous churches and the "Dom" (Cathedral) mark Augsburg as the seat of a bishopric. It was here that, in 1518, Martin Luther and Cardinal Cajetan engaged in their famous debate. It is the fertile interplay of religious and secular power that gave Augsburg its inimitable flair. The "Augustinerkloster" (Augustinian Monastery) dating back to 1277, is a Gothic monastery complex in Erfurt. Inside there is an exhibition that shows life and work of Martin Luther who lived here as a monk from 1505 till 1511.
The Frisian monk Liudger, dispatched on mission by order of the Emperor Charlemagne (Charles the Great), founded a monasterium (cloister) to which Münster today thanks its name. Following the violent introduction of the Reformation, the Anabaptist war raged here. In 1628 the last Protestants were expelled from Münster.