Symphonies of blazing light in Heidelberg! Steeped in tradition, the spectacular Castle Illuminations will set the Neckar city aglow this season on three Saturday nights: June 5, July 10, and September 4.
In general, the illuminations begin at 10:15 p.m. This year, however, because of the FIFA World Cup, the second illumination (July 10) will begin later, at 10:30 p.m. Should Germany be in the third-place playoff, the second illumination will start only at 10:45 p.m.
Three times a year in Heidelberg, in the evening, thousands of faces are turned expectantly toward the castle. They are awaiting the beginning of a fascinating spectacle of flames and light. First, Bengalian beacon fires slowly bathe the Heidelberg Castle in a mysterious blaze of red light. It is as if the ruins were once again, for a further time in their long history, going up in flames. Just as in 1689 and 1693, when the troops of the Sun King of France razed the castle and the town, and left behind them the now world-famous ruin.
When the glowing castle slowly fades into the darkness, the second part of the spectacle begins. Suddenly, fireworks radiate through the night sky over the romantic city on the Neckar: explosions fill the air, golden rain falls from heaven, the firmament is lit up in a play of colours. The Old Town of Heidelberg takes on an almost unreal appearance in this blaze of light.
Already the well-travelled American author Mark Twain was enchanted by the castle illuminations during his stay in Heidelberg in 1878: “The towers continued to spout thick columns of rockets aloft, and overhead the sky was radiant with arrowy bolts which clove their way to the zenith, paused, curved gracefully downward, then burst into brilliant fountain-sprays of richly colored sparks.”
Before each Castle Illumination, the stage is set for the coming drama by a festive concert in the Holy Ghost Church, on Market Square. (www.studentenkantorei.de).
For the second illumination, the concert “Seductive Carmen” will be performed on July 10 in the castle courtyard, within the framework of the Heidelberg Castle Festival. The beguiling melodies from Bizet’s opera have been transformed into a highly virtuoso fantasy for violin and orchestra attuned to the drama of the evening: www.heidelberg-schlossfestspiele.de.
Following each of the castle illuminations, the Castle Gastronomy Mövenpick beckons with “Fireworks & Fingerfood,” a special tour featuring culinary highlights presented in unusual places. Information: www.restaurants.moevenpick.com/heidelberg
This year for the first time, Heidelberg Marketing GmbH is offering a package arrangement for the Castle Illuminations. In addition to overnight hotel accommodations, a guided tour of the Old Town, a three-course meal, and entrance to the castle, the package provides free streetcar and bus transportation. For further information and reservations, please contact our website and reservation(at)heidelberg-marketing.de, Tel. 06221-1422-24/-26.
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