A Postcard from the Heidelberg Fireworks Show

by William Wellman / Sep 11, 2012 / 0 comments

On three days out of every year, thousands of people gather to watch the Heidelberg Castle Illuminations. Don’t know what that is? Neither did we. Basically, it’s a fireworks show. With some very special qualities, I might add, but we’ll get to that in a second.


Heidelberg Fireworks Show


First, a history lesson…


All the way back in 1688, Heidelberg was held by French invaders, who received orders to burn the place. And they did so quite effectively - not only torching the castle, but blowing the biggest tower apart, shearing it in half. To this day, the castle’s never been fully restored.


The first ever fireworks show in Heidelberg was in 1815. A bunch of Government officials were staying in Heidelberg for a couple of weeks, and they’d just decided to unite against Napoleon. Fireworks were launched to celebrate the occasion. Since fireworks weren’t common around that period in the area, it would have been the most spectacular thing you’d ever seen.


Today, Heidelberg’s Castle Illuminations is an awesome spectacle to behold. Remember those special qualities I mentioned? One of them happens to be the strategic location of Heidelberg. It’s nestled between a couple mountains. It lends this incredible-sounding echo to all the fireworks. Not only is it a show to see, but one to hear!


Secondly, the Castle Illumination ceremony itself. Strangely enough, its purpose is to commemorate the original burning of the castle in 1688. Fires are lit all around the castle, illuminating the night air and bathing the castle in a spectral red glow. Don’t worry! The fires are supervised by the local fire brigade. As soon as the tourists are done taking pictures and the fire fades, the fireworks show begins. It can last anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes, and it’s something you’ll never forget. All the fireworks are launched from the town’s Old Bridge, which is blocked off during the show.


Third, location. The Heidelberg castle is stop two in a tram ride up the mountain. At the bottom, a fantastic hotel. At the top, a small park with rides for children. It’s a short hike from the top of the tram to the park, and if you’re not careful, you might actually go on a nature trail on the long way around to the park’s entrance. Nature is nice, but whining kids are good at making you think otherwise. Here’s a tip: When you get to the intersection, turn right. Walk on the sidewalk with the tree stumps in the middle of it.


You’ll be fine.


The Heidelberg fireworks show is visible on the first Saturday of June and September, and the second Saturday of July. Looking it up on the internet is always a good idea. The show begins at sundown with the lighting of the castle.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this excursion into the Heidelberg Fireworks show.


Get out there and keep traveling!



William Wellman is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.


Photo courtesy and copyright William Wellman