This picture shows Eisenach (Thuringia), the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, with the famous Wartburg on top of the mountain (Luther translated the New Testament into German here). Bach visited the same Eisenacher Georgenschule as Luther did about 190 years before. Johan Sebastian's father, Johann Ambrosius Bach (1645-1695), twin brother of Johann Christoph, lived here since 1671 as string player, town piper and court trumpeter, that is as a higher ranking city musician. In 1668, he married Elisabeth Lämmerhirt (1644-1694) from Erfurt, who also grew up in a musical family. Johann Sebastian was born as their eight child on 21 March 1685. His two godfathers, who gave their name to the child, were Sebastian Nagel, town piper of Gotha, and Johann Georg Koch, a ducal forrester in Eisenach. Johann Sebastian was baptized in the Georgenkirche (St. George's church). The baptismal entry is dated 23 March 1685. The official Bachhaus at Frauenplan 21, now a museum, is no longer believed to be Johann Sebastian's birthplace. A more likely candidate is a place at Lutherstrasse, where most of the house from Bach's time disappeared.
The Bach family was one of several traditional families of musicians, who were often organized along guilde lines and who earned their living as town musicians, organists, and cantors. The family had produced musicians for several generations. Some of them, in particular Johann Ambrosius's cousins Johann Michael and Johann Christoph (the family had somewhat monotonous naming habits), had become composers of fame.
Johann Sebastian's mother died in 1694 and his father in 1695, so, as a 9 year old child he lost both parents in one year. Of the five surviving children, Johann Sebastian and his brother Johann Jacob went to live with their eldest brother, another Johann Christoph, who was organist in Ohrdruf.
Go to the map or to the J.S. Bach Tourist (Eisenach).
Go to the J.S. Bach Home Page