Useful hints and tips for travelers in Germany
For the lovely city of Heidelberg, 2013 is a year to be marked on the calendar of history. In fact, this year is the 400th anniversary of the traditional appointment with the fireworks show at the Castle, wanted for the first time in 1613 by Frederick V to celebrate his spouse Elizabeth Stuart, Princess of England. However, the three pyrotechnic events of June 1, July 13, and September 7, are just the tip of the iceberg of an eventful year, as is the tradition of this lovely city overlooking River Neckar.
On June 1st, therefore, you’re all invited at Heidelberg’s night of lights and colors. Heidelberg Castle will be the starting point of a spectacular fireworks show, the same as that of 1613: 400 years have passed since that first appointment, which is attended by tens of thousands of people from all over Europe every year.
On the night of June 1st , and then in July and September, the city of 150,000 inhabitants in the state of Baden-Württemberg becomes the beating heart of the territories of the Princes of the Rhenish Palatinate again. Of which Frederick V, who started the tradition of the fireworks from the Castle, was one of the major representatives.
Hotels in Heidelberg are already fully booked. Those who do not want to miss out this event, should consider booking a hotel in nearby Mannehim, or in Frankfurt, less than 50 kilometers away from Heidelberg.
Heidelberg boasts an unmatchable range of festivals during the year. From early spring to Christmas, there are a number of celebrations in the city, with dozens of events, especially on weekends. It all starts in spring with the international music festival, which has a line-up of international performers, and the literary festival Heidelberger Literaturtage. In May, it’s theater time with Stückemarkt, the market of plays, and the festival of contemporary drama.
In the summer, when temperatures reach 30°C in Heidelberg, a rich schedule of events cheers up visitors during the Castle Festival, Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele, where stages are set up in the park beloved by Goethe to host performances by singers and actors, which alternate with concerts of international orchestras.
In autumn, in the historical centre of the city that was the birthplace of Ernst Jünger, where Weber graduated and where Karl Jaspers was kept as a prisoner by the Nazi regime, it’s time for Heidelberger Herbst, the long Autumn festival. The main event is the Enjoy Jazz Festival, followed closely by the Internationales Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg, dedicated to German and European independent cinema.
Just in time to close these major international events and you get ready for Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt, which fills Heidelberg with Christmas markets and stalls. To the delight of adults, teens and children alike, near the Castle a large ice rink is set up, which can only be called “Christmas on Ice.”
In all this, between a party and an event, tourists visiting Heidelberg will spend pleasant cultural and recreational moments at one of the city’s museums. Those who love history and art may head towards Kurpfälzisches Museum, the Museum of the Palatinate; very special are the Apotheken-Deutsches Museum, the German Pharmacy Museum, with antique objects, and Studentenkarzer, the punishment cell for students: the bad students imprisoned here were in the habit of writing and drawing on the walls. These little murals dating between 1780 through 1914 have become actual works of art.
Sammlung Prinzhorn, instead, hosts a collection of artistic works by psychiatric patients of the XX century who were treated in the clinic that was located here. For everyone, but especially for the little ones, Carl Bosch Museum and Museum am Ginkgo, the Technical Museum on the life of Nobel laureate Carl Bosch, and the ExploHeidelberg where natural phenomena are presented in an interactive and very amusing way.
Finally, you shouldn’t miss out Heidelberg Zoo, on Tiergartenstraße, perfect for the whole family, which hosts several species including tigers, bears, elephants and birds, all settled in perfectly reconstructed, welcoming environments. The zoo also has a beautiful playground for children.
Photo by Rane.abhijeet
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