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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.