There is an Augustinian abbey in the centre of Erfurt. It was established by Augustinian hermits who settled in the city in the 13th century. The first buildings of the monastery started appearing in 1277. Gradually new buildings were added, money for the construction often being donated by the residents of Erfurt. Already in the beginning of the 14th century there was a considerable library collected in the monastery. It was growing so quickly that in the 16th century it required a separate building. Today it holds around 60 thousand volumes and is one of the largest collections of religious literature in Germany. A well-equipped reading hall functions in the library.
The monastery also attracts tourists as an important milestone in the life of the most famous among the local monks – Martin Luther. They say that on July 2, 1505 Luther, still a student of the local university, got into a terrible thunderstorm near Erfurt. Fearing being struck by a lightning, he prayed to St. Anna and promised to become a monk if he avoided death. He kept his word. Already on July 17, notwithstanding his father’s rage, Luther became a novice in the monastery, while in April 1507 he was ordained as a priest in the Cathedral. In 2002 the monastery opened an exposition in Luther’s memory called “Bible – Monastery – Luther”. Here you can visit Lutherzelle – a modest cell where Luther once used to live, and other facilities of the monastery.