Worms, Germany

3:33:00 PM Unknown 13 Comments

We had to make a quick trip up to Frankfurt over the weekend and I mean really quick.  Had an appointment Saturday morning at 10am, then had to be home by 6pm so Eliza could do her online ACT prep course.  That meant we had about 3 hours to explore just one city along the route; we chose Worms (pronounced Vorms).  As one of Germany's oldest cities there is loads of history from the Roman era right to the Reformation and on through World War 2.   

Unfortunately, Worms was a Nazi stronghold and consequently suffered quite a bit of damage--it is estimated that 60% of its populace was rendered homeless after attacks to capture the city.  The Worms Cathedral or Dom St. Peter was significantly damaged, though today has been restored. The cathedral, which was once a part of the royal residence is huge.  I would love to have climbed into the towers, but you aren't allowed. 

These were taken on the grounds of the Heylshof Garden which butts up against the Dom Peter.
The real reason I chose to visit Worms is because it is here that Martain Luther was officially excommunicated from the Catholic church.  It is here that he stood before Emperor Charles V in 1521  refusing to recant his teachings.  It is claimed he said, "it would be wrong to act against a conscience which God had committed...Here I stand, I can do nothing other.  May God help me, Amen."

In so doing he set off the Reformation and essentially split Germany in half religiously.  Even today, southern Germany is Catholic and the north is Protestant. I love seeing these places where acts of courage took place.  William Tyndale who was martyred because he translated the Latin Bible into English, did it here in Worms!  I am the beneficiary of his work, we read the King James version of the Bible which was heavily influenced by Tyndale's translations.  My hope is that by associating a story with an actual spot on the ground my children will connect a bit more with the world's fascinating history.
This reads, "Here stood before the king and ruler, Martin Luther. " The bishop's court or residence hall where the trial took place was destroyed in 1686, it's a garden now.

This is a massive stone carving from the life of Christ.  Several panels line a wall in the Cathedral.  It was very dark inside and only a few were illuminated by the sun light streaming through the windows.  It is so interesting to me how medieval artists depicted Christ's era using their own knowledge of the world.  Notice the castle turret in the background.  Also, notice how nicely curled Mary's hair is--it carved from stone yet has a natural quality about it.
Again, notice the guards--they hardly look like Roman soldiers, but rather medieval knights.
I really had to crank up the ISO on my camera--the church was not this light at all.

Model of the Cathedral complex. The baptistry complex is gone!
Light streaming though the stained glass window.

This is the oldest surviving in situ Jewish cemetery in Europe, the oldest headstone dates to 1059.  Worms had a flourishing Jewish population until World War 2, but as you can imagine, not any longer.
There are 2500 headstones, 800 of which date from 1059-1519. I don't know much about Jewish burial practices, but there is loads of information to be gleaned from the styles, symbols and information contained in the headstones.
These are called the "hands of Kohen."  Kohen were priests believed to have descended from the line of Aaron and thus were officiators in the temple.  The position of the hands symbolized the act of blessing. Interestingly enough, I only saw two or three headstones with this symbol.  I presume this fellow was a Kohen.

Like I said, we only had a short time to visit Worms, but it was absolutely worth the effort.  There is a medieval wall surrounding the old city that we didn't have time to climb around, a really cool tower on the bridge entering the city and a few other newsworthy churches.  If you're in the vicinity, I'd check it out.


  1. Wow! I love your photos. I haven't been to Worms in years, but it looks just like I remember. Beautiful moss on those gravestones.

  2. What a huge place, it's spectacular...the interiors are also amazing...thanks for sharing this and linking up today

  3. What a name! I loved all of your photographs. They have such clarity.

  4. Love the images! Guess I will have to add this to my list. I'm sure you are enjoying the ISO range on your camera.

  5. Wow! So much to see in Worms and I crossed this place twice without halting.
    What a blunder on my part.

  6. I had a chuckle reading this as it took me back to A level history studying the Reformation, Luther and the Diet of Worms! I always found that funny so it's good to see images of the real place. The cathedral is such an unusual shape. I now also know where you took th ephoto for SilentSunday too!

  7. Vielen Dank! War noch nie in Worms aber es sieht wahrlich geschichtsträchtig aus! Tolle Bilder ….besonders "Hier stand Martin Luther". …Und der jüdische Friedhof!

  8. How magnificent - gorgeous shots!

  9. I was born and raised in Worms. Check out the history of the Nibelungen. which takes place in Worms and is mentioned in Richard Wagner's "The Ring" (of the Nibelungen)
    Also Worms was called "Warmaisa" by the Jewish people of the Middle Ages and it means "Jerusalem on the Rhein"
    Thank you for sharing all the beautiful photographs! It made me homesick!