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The 2013 Heidelberg Schlossbeleuchtung (Castle Illumination) & 400th Annual Fireworks

2013 Schlossbeleuchtung (Castle Illumination)

Around 930p, we decided to leave Bar d’Aix and to start walking back down toward the river for the Schlossbeleuchtung (castle illumination), which is held on the first Saturday of June and July and the second Saturday of September each year in Heidelberg, Germany to commemorate the 1689 and 1693 burnings of the castle and city by Louis XIV’s troops. The castle also caught fire one more time in 1764. The castle illumination begins at 1015p and is accompanied by fireworks (Feuerwerk), a tradition begun in 1613 by the Elector-Palatine of the time, Friedrich V, who arranged for his new English bride, Elizabeth Stuart, to be greeted by fireworks when she arrived in Heidelberg. 2013 thus marked the 400th anniversary of that tradition.

As it was the first Schlossbeleuchtung of the year, I had thought it might be crowded, but I guess the cold and flood had an effect on the turnout as there weren’t that many people. We picked one spot but thought the street lights might get in the way, so we moved further down.

Our first spot along the Neckar River from which we moved.

We needn’t have worried as, when the time got closer, the streetlights were put out.

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Waiting for the Schlossbeleuchtung to begin.

There were a few fireworks, then the castle lighting. The castle was lit up by Bengal fire.

At first after the fires went down, there was nothing. We wondered if it was the end, but I didn’t think they’d have closed the bridge so early for a brief illumination and just a few fireworks. After the fires died down, there was a much larger show, so I’m glad we stuck around. I took a lot of pictures and some video. I wish I had realized sooner the video setting on my camera (a Canon PowerShot SX230 HS) actually worked better for photographing fireworks than the other settings I had tried. You can see some of my favorite photos and videos below and more video here. My favorite fireworks were the ones they set off on top of the water which looked really cool (last video below).

The gate of the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge) taken during the fireworks.

 

 

After the fireworks, we walked back down toward the other bridge and took a cab from Bismarkplatz to the train station, which we had parked near thinking we might have trouble finding parking downtown. It was about 9 euro each way to do that.

All in all, we had a fun time at Heidelberg’s Schlossbeleuchtung and I am glad that we went out despite the flooding and cold and wind. I imagine we would have had a better time in warmer weather, which that area of Germany seems to get so little of, but then that also might have brought more of a crowd, and we had an excellent spot and unobstructed view.

Note: If you’d like to go to a Schlossbeleuchtung in 2015 they’ll be at 1015p on June 6, July 11, and September 15. The best spot for viewing is supposed to be the right (north) bank of the Neckar river, but I have also heard of people going on the Philosophenweg and on river cruises.

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2 Thoughts on “The 2013 Heidelberg Schlossbeleuchtung (Castle Illumination) & 400th Annual Fireworks

  1. I love watching fireworks and this looks like a celebration not to be missed! It must be a beautiful castle to warrant the dedication to rebuild. I wonder when we do plan to go, should I plan to grab something on the way or would you recommend eating in town?
    Christi recently posted…2016 New Year Fireworks in WiesbadenMy Profile

    • It’s a nice castle, but it’s actually only been partially rebuilt so it’s more of a ruin than a full castle. There are some good places to eat in town, but if you go on one of the castle illumination nights, I would arrive early if you’re driving as they start closing some of the roads and make reservations if you plan to go anywhere to sit down as some of them will be pretty crowded especially close to the river. I think the only thing that accounted for it not being as crowded when we went is that it the river had flooded. On the Hauptstrasse there are a few places like Pizza Hut where they have walk up windows and you can buy something to eat as you walk around.

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