The St. Peter’s Church is the oldest church of Heidelberg and the former version of this building was first documented in 1196. It was a Romanesque church in the middle of a small villlage. The city of Heidelberg was founded in the beginning of the 13th century by a dynasty called the Wittelsbacher. The church was located outside the city walls for a long time. The environs of St. Peter’s Church were used as a cemetery until the opening of the mountain cemetary in 1844. Even today you can find graves and monuments of the past centuries if you take a walk around the building. Inside the church you can also visit a lot of graves of professors of the university, electoral civil servants and other respected citizens. The most famous grave is the one of poet Olympia Fulvia Morata. She died in Heidelberg in 1555 und was known as one of the most erudited woman of her time.
In former times St. Peter´s Church was used as a parish church, in 1400 it was appointed collegiate church by elector Ruprecht III. It was completely restored in 1489. The chapel with an arched choir and the west-tower were designed in a late Gothic style. Destroyed in the Palatine war of succession (1689 – 1693), it was rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century in a Baroque style. 1863 – 1870 it was reconstructed in neo-Gothic style with a three-aisled nave. Even until today this church has been redesigned for a couple of times, because of various renovations and changings in utilization.
Today St. Peter’s Church is used by the university for protestant services, as well as for various concerts and exhibitons.
The church is open to the public on working days between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from April to October.
Location & Directions
St. Peter’s Church is located right opposite the university’s library and the ArtHotel is also located directly next to the church. From the pedestrian zone (Hauptstraße) it is not far to the St. Peter’s Church. The small detour up the street is worth it to have a look at the old church.
If you are not from Heidelberg or if you are in another corner of Heidelberg, you can also reach the church quite easily by bus. The bus stop Universitätsplatz is located below the library in Grabengasse, near the cafeteria. The Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage bus stop is also nearby. Both stops are served by many bus lines and have good connections to Heidelberg main station.