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The element of fire features strongly in Heidelberg´s varied history. The city has suffered great destruction during the 30-Years´-War and the Palatinate War of Succession. When the French general Ezéchiel de Mélac practically eradicated Heidelberg in 1693, the castle was blown up, too.

To commemorate the destruction of the castle by the French, Heidelberg celebrates castle illuminations three times every summer. Picturesque and otherworldly Bengal fires drench the ruined walls in a dazzling red light. When the “fake fire” dies away, a cheerful, brilliant fireworks display takes over, which enthuses thousands of visitors every time, and adds festive glamor to the beautiful Old Town.