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The Burning Castle: Schloss in Flammen

- William

It is night. The air is crisp, but not harsh. Hundreds of people are gathered around. As if by magic, a ruined castle blazing with flame appears on the mountains above you.  A cannon fires across the valley, echoing like thunder. Then, fireworks are launched into the night, exploding in a blast of color and sound.

You are at the Heidelberg, Germany’s ‘Schloss in Flammen’.

In the history of Heidelberg, the city has been damaged and nearly eradicated numerous times. The most severe destruction, at the hands of French general Ezéchiel de Mélac in 1943, decimated the magnificent Heidelberg castle. To commemorate this occasion, every summer three magnificent fireworks shows light up the night sky.

The night begins with a lot of traffic. Large crowds of people are everywhere, trying to get to the best position before the show begins. The best place to watch the show is either to rent a hotel room with a balcony or to go out and sit on the banks of the river. The time that the show begins often depends on when it gets dark out, but on average the show begins around ten.

First, a cannon shot will boom across the valley. After this, theHeidelberg castle will be bathed in red light, appearing to start on fire in an elaborate display crafted by numerous lights and fake fires.

When the castle’s light finally dies down, the fireworks over the river begins. It is nearly impossible to describe the feeling of watching the show. The noise is amazingly loud, and your eyes are overwhelmed with the colors and crackle of the fireworks. This is experience you will never forget.

The first show this year is on June 2nd, the second on July 14th, and the third on September 2nd.

The show is exceedingly loud and it will probably not be appreciated by any infants you may have in tow.

Also, the Rhine-Neckar-Passenger Ship Company can take you out on a boat into the river, for a unique way to experience the show. Traffic is shut down around the river around 9 PM and starts after the crowds have dispersed around 11 PM. This is one of my favorite places to go and each year they offer a different show. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I have.

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