Logo of the City of Heidelberg, Old Town Information, Photographs showing several sights of Heidelberg: Old Bridge and Castle, Town Hall, Bridge gate, Karl's Gate

Holy Ghost Church

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Holy Ghost Church

The Holy Ghost Church was first mentioned in the year 1239. In 1398 Prince Elector Ruprecht III (King Ruprecht I of Germany) laid the cornerstone of the present-day church. The chancel was finished in 1410. The nave was completed in 1441 and the tower after 1508. In the early 18th century the tower roof was redone in Baroque style. The chancel was once used as a final resting place for Prince Electors. Their tombs – with the exception of Ruprecht III’s – were all destroyed in 1693, however.

Until 1623 the church’s galleries contained Europe’s largest collection of handwritten books and documents, the “Bibliotheca Palatina”. After Heidelberg was conquered by Tilly, it first passed as war booty into the hands of Maximilian of Bavaria, who gave it to the Pope in Rome as a gift. From 1705 to 1936 the Holy Ghost Church was divided into two parts by a wall through the middle. Protestant (Lutheran) services were held in the nave, and Catholic – and later Old Catholic – masses took place in the chancel.