Philipp Melanchthon was one of the most important Reformation figures alongside Martin Luther. He was born in Bretten, in the region of Kraichgau. The Melanchthonhaus attracts visitors here from all over the world.
Luther was capable of being rather loud. He was an agitator and a polarising figure with an assertive and direct style. The quiet man by his side was called Philipp Melanchthon. A fine intellect with diplomatic skill and phenomenal linguistic abilities. Without his help, the translation of the Bible would likely have never been possible.
He was born in Bretten on the 16th of February 1497. In those days, the town was still called Brettheim, and Melanchthon originally bore the name Schwartzerdt. His uncle was the famous humanist, Johannes Reuchlin. It was Reuchlin who first gave him his Greek name "Melanchthon".
The Melanchthonhaus in Bretten is a museum and research facility, an impressive synthesis of the arts. It is located right next to the historic marketplace, at the heart of this small town gem in the middle of the gently rolling hills of the Kraichgau region.
Narrow alleyways, cobblestones and half-timbered buildings are a reminder of the town's history, and this is the ideal starting point for a stroll around the small independent shops.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays there is always a bustling market selling regional products in the town square. After making your purchases, you can retire to one of the numerous cafés to enjoy a cappuccino, while observing the hustle and bustle in this historic setting.
Incidentally, Melanchthon spent the first ten years of his life in Bretten. So, as a seven-year-old, he was a witness to one of the most significant historic events in the town. In 1504, the Palatinate town of Brettheim came under siege from Württemberg. But the residents held their position and saw off the Swabians.
This victory is commemorated in the annual Peter and Paul festival, a medieval spectacle that is like something from a storybook. The town comes to resemble an army camp, packed with soldiers and minstrels. An authentic tradition in one of the loveliest locations in Kraichgau. Since 2014, the Peter and Paul festival in Bretten has been an official part of Germany's intangible cultural heritage.