Old Churches in Heidelberg
There are many historical sites and churches in Heidelbergand its surroundings. The impressive churches are some of the city attractions, along with the castle and the beautiful cityscapes. A tour of the old churches in Heidelberg should include the Church of the Holy Spirit, theChurch ofJesuits and St. Peter’s Church.
The church of Holy Spirit
The most famous church in Heidelbergis the Churchof Holy Spirit. This is located in the middle of the market place (Marktplatz) in the old center ofHeidelberg, next to the government building, very close to theHeidelbergCastle. The church was built in 1398, but it took until 1544 to finish the tower. The steeple of the church dominates the township by rising above the other roofs. This church has been shared by Catholics and Protestants for centuries since the Reformation. It is among the few buildings to survive the past centuries wars. A divider separating the two religions was placed in between in 1706, as both Protestants and Catholics wanted to have service here. This wall was demolished in 1930. The French set the church on fire in 1709, but it has been rebuilt. The church has the remains of the tombs and epitaphs of thePalatinate leaders and a collection of old manuscripts. Today the church is used exclusively by Protestants.
The church of Jesuits
Jesuitenkircheis a Catholic church built in 1712. The additional bell tower was built between 1866 and 1872. This church is also home to the Museum of Ecclesiastical Arts (Museum für sakrale Kunst und Liturgie) and there are areas inside the church displaying documentation on the church history and on the Order of Jesuits. Except for the central altar painting, the original interior has not been maintained.
St Peter’s church
From all the old churches in Heidelberg, St. Peter’s church (or Peterskische) is the oldest. It was built in the 12th century by the early Christians. There is no documentation for the exact building date. When the city of Heidelberg was founded by the Wittelsbacher dynasty, in the 13th century, this church was outside the city walls. Although originally built by the Catholics, the church is today a Lutheran church. It was rebuilt in the 14th century. The cemetery outside the church keeps tombstones dating from the 16th century and a big oak planted in 1883 on the 400th birthday of Martin Luther. It is located on the opposite side of the University library and is today used for Protestant services, as well as for various concerts and exhibitions.