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Church of the Holy Spirit Heidelberg

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The Church of the Holy Spirit was first docu­men­ted as parish church in 1239. This basi­lica, pro­ba­bly from the late Roma­nes­que period, was repla­ced in 1398 by the buil­ding you can see today. Elec­tor Ruprecht III. (beco­ming King Ruprecht I. later) had orde­red to build this late Gothic col­le­giate church in com­bi­na­tion with foun­ding the uni­ver­sity in 1386. In the first days the church was not only used for ser­vices, but also as a lec­ture hall by the uni­ver­sity. The inte­rior of the church con­sis­ted of a three-aisled nave and choir. The library was loca­ted on the gal­lery. The world famous Biblio­theca Pala­tina was foun­ded by elec­tor Ludwig III. in the time during 1410 to 1436 by lea­ving his valuable coll­ec­tion of books to the library. But it was stolen during the Thirty Years´ War (1618 -1648) by Gene­ral Tilly. This spoils of war were later given to pope Gregor XV. as a gift by elec­tor Maxi­mi­lian I. of Bavaria.

About 70 years later the Church of the Holy Spirit was again the reason for trou­ble. It was set on fire and almost des­troyed by the French army of King Ludwig XIV. in the Pala­tine war of suc­ces­sion in 1633. All graves of the Pala­tine elec­to­ral rulers were des­troyed, except the one of Ruprecht III. When recon­s­truc­ted later, the church got a Baro­que style roof, and this is still the way it is loo­king today. Very spe­cial on this church are the market stalls which are erec­ted against its eas­tern and sou­thern out­side walls. Needful and unnec­ces­sary things are actually sold to tou­rists in this sou­ve­nir stalls. The Church of the Holy Spirit was used over the years by Pro­tes­tants and Catho­lics. The degree “Simul­ta­neum” was per­mit­ting both con­fes­si­ons to do ser­vices simul­ta­neously since 1698. But it was also the reason for buil­ding a par­ti­tion, which finally was pulled down in 1936.
TIP: Keep in mind to climb up the stee­ple if you visit the church. After making the steep ascent you will have an ama­zing view over the Old Town, from Neckar up to the Castle.

Loca­tion & Directions

The Church of the Holy Spirit is loca­ted in the middle of Heidelberg’s Old Town next to the market square and on the Haupt­straße. So if you take a stroll along the Haupt­straße, there is no way around the Church of the Holy Spirit.

If you are visi­ting Heidelberg by car, it is best to park in the P12 at Korn­markt or P13 at Karls­platz. From there you can reach the church in a few steps. If you come to Heidelberg by public trans­port, it is best to get off at the bus stop Rat­haus-Berg­bahn, directly at Kornmarkt.


Church of the Holy Spirit
Church of the Holy Spirit