We spent almost an entire day exploring Heidelberg as part of my Viking River Cruise in Europe. We started the day at the Castle and while there I showed you views of Altstadt, with its two churches. When we actually made it down to tour the Old Town we were able to walk past both of those churches. I already showed you the Heiiggeistkirche, or Church of the Holy Spirit and today I want to show you a little of the Jesuit Church.
The Jesuit Church dates to the early 1700’s and is a Catholic Church by the University. In fact, many of the buildings surrounding the church are used by the University. And it is hemmed in by all these buildings so it was really hard to get a good picture of the facade.
It is made from the same Neckar Valley Sandstone as the castle, so it has a pinkish, orange look to it.
And there are lots of carvings and statues with symbolism abounding on the facade.
There are several large statues of Christ. This one appears to have him standing on a dragon, crushing it.
In this one he is holding a cross surrounded by small child like beings. They are not the normal cherub like angels so I am not sure what they represent. There was a third statue in an alcove on top of the facade above the window but I could not get a good picture from where we were standing.
There were three doors – this was the middle door. And from what we understood, this side of the church was actually a back side. The bell tower was on the opposite side from where we were and not even visible to us. I cannot imagine what that side of the church must look like.
As I stated earlier, there were lots of University buildings connected to or close by the church. This one had amazing statues and a coat of arms. It may have been part of the museum that is part of the church, the Museum of Sacred Art and Liturgy and Treasury.
Here there are supposed to be important artifacts and instruments of the Catholic faith from centuries past. I was amazed at the figures above the pediment on the door. I loved the dove.
It seems everywhere we looked while we were in Altstadt we found images of the Virgin Mary. It started in the Kornmarkt, where we found the Madonna Fountain.
And then there was a painting on the corner of the Church of the Holy Spirit.
But we also saw them on the corners of buildings – like this one on a University building by the Jesuit Church.
I wasn’t able to get close enough to get a better photo, but this was one of the prettier ones that we saw. Here Mary is with Jesus. She is stabbing the devil underneath her with a staff or rod topped with a cross. Above her are two angels and a crown. This house is known as the Haus Lorinck and the sculptor is Peter van Der Branden. And that house – just look at all those working shutters! Wow. And the little heads in place of capstones above the arched windows.
Evidently, Hausmadonnas can be common in German cities and date back to the Middle Ages. I don’t think these were that old, but it was very interesting since this is not something that I had ever seen before. And then all of a sudden they were popping up everywhere, like this one on the Butcher Shop.
And they all have their symbolism. Like this plain, unadorned one. This type is referred to the Immaculate Hausmadonna. She is not shown with the Christ Child and usually is dressed in white.
This Hausmadonna is shown crushing a dragon or snake, thought to represent the devil while the Christ Child stands on the world and caries the cross along with his mother Mary as an angel watches from above. There are so many different kinds of symbolism that can be found in these works of arts placed on the corners of houses throughout the city. And they usually all are on the second floor of the building – I am not sure what the significance of that was or is, but you have to look up to see them. It was said that in Mainz, which was not far from Heidelberg, there were over 200 of these prior to World War II.
And that is where the Arch Bishop was, so we even found a statue of Konrad, the Arch Bishop of Mainz on one of the buildings. Not sure what you would call him, a Hausbishop?
Regardless, the Jesuit Church and all of the Hausmadonnas that we saw were definitely interesting and I am glad I was paying attention, looking up. More to come on visiting more of Altstadt and the Old Bridge.
This is not a sponsored post. This is my experience from my trip with Viking River Cruises. Email me to find out how you can save $100 when you book your first cruise with Viking through their referral program.