A veritable magnet for visitors on every Wednesday, Sunday and public holiday during the season (1 May to 3 October), they attract an audience of thousands to Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe. Many visitors follow the course of the water downhill on foot.
The Baroque structures were built from the late 17th century onwards under Landgrave Carl (r. 1677–1730). Landgrave Wilhelm IX – later to become Elector Wilhelm I (r. 1785–1821) – complemented them in the late 18th and early 19th centuries with huge water sceneries in the style of an English landscape garden. The water features have been operating for 300 years now, always on the same principle, utilising the laws of physics and without the need for pumps. In their sophisticated orchestration of the elemental force of water, they are a stunning metaphor of the Absolutist claim to power of the Landgraves of Hesse.
The unique spectacle starts at the foot of the Octagon, which serves as a wellhouse. Feeding small fountains at first, the water then floods the Baroque Cascades in a seemingly unstoppable wave. On its way downhill, it operates the park's sceneries including Steinhöfer Waterfall, Devil's Bridge and the Aqueduct, where it thunders down a 30-m waterfall. Visitors accompanying it on its way will have covered about 2.3 km when they finally reach Fountain Pond where the Great Fountain will rise, a 50-m artificial geyser and the crowning glory of the water displays.
Times of the water features
Every Wednesday, Sunday and public holiday from 1 May to 3 October visitors will have the opportunity to follow the water on its way from the Hercules Monument down to the Great Fountain in front of the Palace, starting at 3.45 pm. The water will reach and operate the individual features at these times:
2.30 pm Water features start at Baroque Cascades at the foot of the Hercules Monument
3.05 pm Steinhöfer Waterfall
3.20 pm Devil's Bridge
3.30 pm Uhr Aqueduct
3.45 pm Great Fountain (lasting until about 4 pm)
Each individual water display will be in operation for about ten minutes.