Just a few steps away from the busy city centre and the market square and close to the cathedral is an oasis of peace – the beautifully landscaped Heylshof Gardens with mature trees, cherubs and fountains. Offering views of the impressive imperial cathedral, the Heylsschlösschen and the Heylshof Museum, this is an excellent place to relax and find out about the history of Worms.
The historic site where Martin Luther was interrogated by the emperor and the empire on 17th and 18th April 1521 is today in the attractive landscaped Heylshof Gardens. The Bishop’s Palace, which once stood here, was destroyed in 1689. That is where Luther refused to recant his writings at the Imperial Diet in 1521.
The site is marked by a plaque with a quotation from Luther’s speech. A bronze relief by the artist Gustav Nonnenmacher and dating from 1971 shows a view of the Bishop’s Palace, which was destroyed in 1689, and a flash of lightning that splits a relief of the city into two parts is a reference to the separation in the church. The step-in bronze sculpture “Luther’s big shoes” (Die Großen Schuhe Luthers), dating from 2017, encourages you to have your own thoughts and let your imagination play.
Near the original location and In shoes that are so big that you can simply step into them, you can look beyond Gustav Nonnenmacher’s sculpture and survey the extensive and attractive gardens – the scene of historic event over the centuries. You stand there, caught for a moment in that situation. Stepping into a pair of shoes that are anchored can be understood as an invitation to enter the world of freedom of conscience that Luther showed the way to.
By stepping into the shoes themselves, visitors enhance the static ground-level sculpture, turning it into a movable, temporary, and spatially effective modern artwork.
The gardens are usually open from 9 am until nightfall, but closes no later than 5 pm.