|Bundesland: Freistaat Thüringen||Thuringia|
The history of Eisenach is closely linked to that of the Wartburg castle. The first mention of the castle is found in a document in 1080. Three market places below the castle slowly merged into a town during the mid-12th century. Eisenach was first mentioned in 1180/89. The legendary 'Sängerkrieg' (minstrels' contest) is said to have taken place in the castle around 1206/07. This later became the basis of Richard Wagner's opera 'Tannhäuser'. Elisabeth, the wife of Landgrave Ludwig IV of Thuringia, opened a hospital below the castle in 1226. After the death of Ludwig in 1227 she continued her caritative work in Marburg. Already four years after her death in 1231 she was canonized as a saint. After the Thuringian War of Succession in 1247–1264, Hesse and Thuringia were separated and Eisenach came in possession of the house of Wettin (see chart of the Wettin dynasty). From 1498 until 1501, Martin Luther attended the Latin school of Eisenach. In 1521, Luther spent ten month as a 'prisoner' at the Wartburg and worked on his German translation of the New Testament from a Greek version. In 1596, Eisenach became an independent principality. After 1751 it was part of the Duchy (Grand Duchy after 1816) Saxe-Weimar(-Eisenach). An important historical event was the 'Wartburgfest' in 1817, a meeting of 500 professors and students organized in the German students leagues. At the end of the 19th century Eisenach became a popular tourist and congress town. The Wartburg was restored in 1853–1890. The Socialdemocrat Labour Party of Germany was founded here in 1869. Car manufacturing was introduced in 1896 (the best-known car of the post-World War II era produced in Eisenach was the 'Wartburg'). The castle was listed as World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO in 1999 (see also list of other UNESCO heritage sites).
The famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) was born in Eisenach.