Heidelberg Castle Illuminations
The legendary Castle Illuminations capture the imagination of thousands of people every year. June 1 / September 7, 2024
Heidelberg Castle Illumination and Fireworks: Several times every year, the Castle Ruin is bathed in red light in memory of the two fires of 1689 and 1693. The event is combined with a spectacular firework display over the River Neckar.
In addition, visitors can look forward to a varied program ranging from musical performances and guided tours to an artisan and handicrafts market.
- On the Nepomuk Terrace at the northern end of the Old Bridge, a small beer garden invites visitors to enjoy a cozy get-together between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m., starting at 6 p.m. live music by the “Heidelberg JazzMen” band.
- On the Kornmarkt, an artisans’ and handcrafts market will be attracting visitors between 12 and 8 p.m.
Representatives of the Heidelberg Showmen’s Association (Schaustellerverband e.V.) will provide refreshments at Bismarckplatz and Anatomiegarten starting on Thursday to get visitors in the mood for the event, also on Saturday at Neckarwiese.
- The old town is waiting to be discovered by public tour at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (German) or 10:30 a.m. (English).
- Furthermore, a city tour at 1:30 p.m. invites you to discover Heidelberg in a comfortable and informative way. Meeting point: Neckarmünzplatz, information board (bus stop)
- The convertible bus departs every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a tour of Heidelberg in 10 languages, stopping at Karlsplatz.
- Finally, the Heiliggeistkirche is looking forward to many listeners at 6:15 p.m. at the “Concert for the Castle Illumination – Musical Fireworks”. The ensemble “Between the Times” plays Bach, Händel, Jazz, Impro and much more.
Catch a falling star
Bright stars will be shooting down from a dark summer sky during Heidelberg´s famous castle illuminations and fireworks. The open air events will start after dusk (10:15 p.m.) on Saturday 2. September. In the preceding hours visitors can enjoy a concert at the Church of the Holy Spirit, starting at 6:15 p.m. – a perfect program for a romantic Heidelberg weekend.
Mark Twain visited the castle illumination in the year 1878.
” As reminders of big events in Heidelberg history, the fireworks and castle illuminations have a most interesting background: They originated in 1613 when newly-wed Prince Elector Frederic V welcomed his young wife to Heidelberg. The English princess Elizabeth Stuart was received with due respect and a splendid event. The castle was illuminated by bright colors, and star balls were to be seen high above the Neckar River. Today, the star balls highlight the Heidelberg summer. “
The Elector Friedrich V first had the fireworks staged to provide a fitting welcome for his newly-betrothed wife Elizabeth Stuart. These fireworks laid the cornerstone for the later festivals of light held in the night sky over Heidelberg.
If the French General Melac and his troops had not destroyed and burned down Heidelberg Castle over 300 years ago, perhaps it would never have achieved the fame it enjoys today as the most beautiful and romantic castle in the world. To commemorate the destruction of the castle by the French, Heidelberg celebrates castle illuminations three times every summer. Picturesque Bengal fires flood the ruined walls turning them blood red in the glow of torches in the dazzling light. When the fire has died down, it is followed by a brilliant fireworks display launched from the Old Bridge, bathing the entrance to the Neckar valley in a stunning panoply of light and colour.
The fireworks are ignited from the Old Bridge, which is closed to pedestrians from 17:00. Those on foot or bicycle can cross the river via the weir beside Karlstor and both pedestrians and cars can use the Theodor-Heuss-Bridge connecting Bismarckplatz with Neuenheim. All traffic is diverted from the roads along both sides of the Neckar river routes from around 21:00 until after the crowds have dispersed around 23:00 hours.
It”s a spectacular event that attracts thousands of visitors each year from far and wide. For the best view, find a space along the river routes Neckarstaden (south bank) or Ziegelhäuser Landstrasse and Neuenheimer Landstrasse (north bank). Or you can watch the spectacle from one of the boats which offer special trips along the river.
The ruins of Heidelberg Castle are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The castle has been destroyed several times in its history, by bolts of lightning, for instance in 1537 when much of the upper part of the castle was destroyed, and again in 1764.The castle was also badly damaged in two major wars, the Thirty Years” War and the Palatinate War of Succession.
The city of Heidelberg was badly damaged during the Thirty Years” War (1618-1648), one of the most destructive conflicts in European history, when opposing armies fought in the hills above the town, and then again during the Palatinate War of Succession, also known as the War of the Grand Alliance (1689-1697). In 1693, the troops of the Sun King Louis XIV burnt down the castle, leaving behind the world-famous ruins.
The Castle Illuminations are always accompanied by a concert at 18:15 in the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit) on Marktplatz (Market Square). For tickets, call +49 (0)6221. 5820000.
Display dates for 2024 – June 1 / September 7
For more information – Heidelberg Tourist Marketing, www.heidelberg-marketing.de