Friday, September 30, 2011

Heiliggeistkirche, Heidelberg

Heiliggeistkirche has quite a history in Heidelberg. Rupert III laid the foundation stone in the 1300s, though the construction went on for quite some time and many additions have changed the layout and look of the church.

The church was originally built as the university's church dedicated to the Holy Ghost, Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. The other main function the church served was as the burial ground for the local leaders. The only tomb remaining in the church is for Rupert and his wife, the rest were torn out and thrown to the street in the late 17th century by those pesky French soldiers.

I wonder if my wife would go for this kind of tomb for us

Germany had been highly divided during the rise of the Protestant faiths, though Heidelberg was more tolerant than other areas. To solve the problem of who should use the church, the people of the town decided to build a wall in the middle. The Catholics worshiped in the choir while the Protestants worshiped in the nave.

Where the dividing wall was

Protestant side of the church

Catholic side of the church

This was known as the simultanium, allowing the services to go on at the same time. In 1886 the university celebrated its 500th anniversary. They didn't want an unsightly wall in the university church, so the wall was take down temporarily. Finally, the wall was removed in 1936 since the evangelical church had bought the rights  to much of the rest of the church.

The church does feature some impressive stained glass, one seemingly dedicated to the end of World War II.

This is the first window I've seen with "e=mc2"

Bright and lovely window

Climbing up the stairs for a nominal fee, one can discover some of the exterior gargoyles brought inside for closer inspection.

I think this is a duck.

Obviously a dog

Ascending to the top on increasingly narrow staircases, one is rewarded with an amazing view of the town and even the squares below.

Jacob would have loved the stairs

The trail up to Philosophenweg

The Schloss on the hill

The town

Outside the church are found numerous little shops and trinket stands built into the base of the church. Originally, these booths were used by merchants and craftsmen to sell their wares. Over time, souvenirs and food have replaced the classier offerings. I guess I can't complain, since I did pick up a needed bottle opener as a practical souvenir.

The seller I went to also spoke Spanish

After this visit, I returned to the hotel in time to find the rest of my family ready for dinner. We had a lovely meal in the platz by the church. I had wiener schnitzel and a hefe-weissen to wash it down. The children ate a little of my schnitzel and some apple juice. Then we walked about until we discovered a fun little playground near the river.

The playground seems to have been randomly placed and follows the scheme of the one from Stuttgart--some fun climbing and some science too! Jacob and Lucy enjoyed the scientific equipment (basically lifting sand with a pulley and pouring it through a tunnel or a wheel) almost more than the other parts. They did a great job taking turns playing with the equipment.

Lucy ran in to have fun

Jacob, look out for the sand!!

The playground did have some rules and the bust of someone who must have donated it. I really need to brush up my German to find out more about these things.

Thanks, whoever you are!

If only every playground was rauchfrei

After some play, we returned to the hotel for a quiet night of sleep before the morning, when we'd have to pack up and return to Stuttgart. I put the bottle opener to good use on a bottle of Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunkel, which I am enjoying as I write. [Editor's note: alas, that was a week ago, and now only water is available to drink. Sigh!]

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