Church of the Holy Spirit (Heiliggeistkirche)

Short introduction: The Heiliggeistkirche (Holy Ghost Church) was built from 1344 to 1441, its tower completed in 1544. It was the burial place of 55 Prince Electors and hosted the famous Bibliotheca Palatina until 1623.


View at Heidelberg's historic center including the Church of the Holy Spirit;
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Detailed history:
A late Roman basilica was first mentioned in 1239. In 1398, it was replaced by a large church building which nave was constructed in the typical style of the late Gothic period. The chancel was completed in 1410, the building of the nave took until 1441. There was also a delay in the construction of the church tower which was started again in 1508. The chancel contained the tombs of the Prince Electors of the Palatinate. Most of the commemorial tablets were destroyed in 1693. Of the originally 54 epitaphs, the only one to remain was the one of Prince Elector Ruprecht II (1352 - 1410).

During the 30 Year´s War, however, the complete collection became the booty of Heidelberg´s conqueror, commander Tilly. Following orders of the Catholic Prince Elector Maximilian of Bavaria, the library was given to the Pope of Rome. Of the collection which once included more than 5000 books and 3524 manuscripts, only 885 manuscripts were returned to Heidelberg in 1816. During the following centuries, the church frequently changed its religious denomination and was used at different times by Catholics as well as Protestants. Even a partition barrier was erected in 1706 because both denominations wanted to hold service here. For 230 years, the barrier stayed in its place until it was removed in 1936. Today, the Church of the Holy Spirit is a Protestant Church.

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