Stiftskirche - Collegiate Church

The history of Stuttgart's Stiftskirche, or Collegiate Church, spans back to the 10th or 11th century. Evidence discovered in the altar area points towards a presence on the site from the early Romanesque period. A Romanesque village church was constructed on the same site in around 1175. The original church continued to evolve, with new extensions added, and other sections demolished and increased in size. A particularly striking feature of the church, and one of Stuttgart's best known landmarks, are its two contrasting towers.

Stiftskirche at nightVergrößern
Stiftskirche at night. Photo: Uli Kraufmann

Elevation to Collegiate Church and extensions

In around 1320, Count Eberhard the Illustrious of Württemberg adopted Stuttgart as his central seat and moved his family burial ground from Beutelsbach to Stuttgart: The Collegiate Church subsequently gained a new and larger choir in the early Gothic style.

Around 100 years later, a Gothic nave with three-aisled pseudo basilica was added. There is space in the building, which was finally completed in 1463, for a congregation of over 3000.

Reformation

The Reformation came to Stuttgart on May 16, 1543: Konrad Öttinger delivered the first Protestant sermon in the Duchy of Württemberg in the Collegiate Church. In 1553, the reformer Johannes Brenz became the Collegiate Church's first Protestant provost. Today, he still lies buried below the chancel.

World War II

Bomb attacks on Stuttgart in 1944 all but destroyed the Collegiate Church.  Only the towers and the North Wall survived unscathed.  During the fifties, the church was rebuilt in the style of the times. The newly created space with its wooden wagon ceiling and absence of columns affords clear visual access to the altar and chancel from every seat in the congregation.

Renovation 1999 - 2003

Various deficiencies in the building prompted a comprehensive renovation of the Collegiate Church in 1999.  The barrel ceiling was replaced by a bold new ceiling construction, with suspended acoustic glass ceiling panels echoing the layout of the three-aisled Gothic church. A new organ is another attraction for visitors to the Collegiate Church. With its 5366 pipes in 81 registers, the organ was inaugurated in August 2004.

A number of important historical remains were discovered during the renovation work. For the first time, archaeologists found evidence that there had been a settlement predating the establishment in 950 of the Stutengarten or stud farm which gave the city its name. Two Alemannian graves provide an indication of habitation from the seventh or eight century.

 
 

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