The Zella Abbey in the southern Eichsfeld was founded in around 1100 or even earlier as a double monastery and convent for both men and women. The abbey was not badly affected by the Peasants’ War; in 1525 it was plundered, but not destroyed. As a result of the Reformation, all the nuns left the abbey except for the Prioress who felt connected to Luther’s teachings.
Mühlhausen is known as the town of towers, gates and churches. Luther does not have any direct link to the town, and it was his former companion, the radical theologian Thomas Müntzer who was the priest here and led the local rebels during the Peasants’ War. During the war, Mühlhausen was its Thuringian centre. Luther tried to convince the peasants with his arguments and on 10 May 1525, he published the article ‘Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants’ – an exposé that was intended to make it clear that you cannot enforce the law with violence, but should pray for divine assistance. Thomas Müntzer was referred to as the ‘Arch Devil of Mühlhausen’ and someone to be avoided.
On 15 May 1525, the peasants led by Thomas Müntzer were almost entirely wiped out at the Battle of Frankenhausen. Müntzer himself survived the battle. He was arrested, tortured and beheaded in Mühlhausen on 27 May 1525.
According to cultural and local history, St Mary’s Church was used for imperial legal decisions, J.S. Bach’s ‘Ratswahl’ cantata was first played here and Thomas Müntzer preached here. Today the church is a Müntzer memorial and is also used as a music and religious venue.
The interior of the Kornmarktkirche church, which was secularised in 1802, is the home of the Peasants’ War museum and features an exhibition on the progression, the climaxes and the aftereffects of the German Peasants’ War in the context of time and as a part of German national history.