Russians and Americans

When at the end of World War II Soviet and US soldiers met on the bridge over the Elbe River in Torgau, renewed attention was drawn to a town that was once one of the most important in Saxony. Only part of the bridge remains, but the monument to the famous meeting still commemorates the event. Actually, soldiers from both armies had already established contact in nearby Strehla where another monument was erected. But the famous picture linked Torgau irrevocably to the end of World War II.

Wet nurse of the Reformation

Martin Luther is known to have stayed over forty times in Torgau. In 1527 the basic principles of the Protestant visitation order were set out in the superintendent’s office. Three years later, Protestant rulers founded the Torgau Confederation, and the Torgau Articles of 1530 resulted in the Augsburg Confession. On October 5th 1544, the great reformer consecrated the first newly-built Protestant church in the world at Hartenfels Castle. The locations of these events, which were so important to the history of the world, still exist today and can be visited. This also includes the house where Katharina Luther died in 1552 after an accident at the outskirts of Torgau. She is buried in St Mary’s Church, where her epitaph can be seen.

Residence and Renaissance

Torgau was the residence of the Electors of Saxony until the middle of the 16th century. The town is still dominated by Renaissance buildings from its heyday including the majestic Hartenfels Castle. Its imposing spiral staircase with no central support is still a puzzle to architects today. The Torgau Museum Path connects all the important historical buildings in the town, which became part of Prussia after the Napoleonic Wars and did not return to Saxony until 1990. In one of the historic houses near the market square, Germany’s oldest toy shop can be found.