Arena Redaktion, 05.06.2024

Summer solstice bonfires

Proud is probably the right word to describe what we feel when the countless, small, blazing flames light up our mountain ridges every year at the summer solstice and shed light on the shortest night of the year. The entire scene looks mystical and spectacular.

The mountain fire will take place again this year, on 22.06.24. Weather-related alternative date is 29.06.24. 

A picture consisting of small fires on the mountainside. The picture shows a horseshoe and a shamrock inside.
People who light the traditional mountain fires on the mountain

Of fire and sawdust

People have always been fascinated by fire, the red-yellow flickering of the flames that lick around everything in their path, the cosy warmth it provides on cold nights and the soothing crackling of firewood in the stove as it slowly disintegrates into ash. Here in the TZA, too, people have always been mesmerised by the power of fire. Every year around the 3rd Saturday in June, mountain fires are lit on the gravel fields and mountain ridges of the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena to drive out the evil spirits of winter and welcome the summer with all its warmth, lightness and joy. A custom whose roots go back to the 14th century and are based on St John the Baptist. Back then, simple fires were lit, but today they are amazingly precise motifs that amaze onlookers. The fire groups plan their fiery images months in advance in secrecy and with great attention to detail. On the day of the mountain bonfire, around 10,000 sacks filled with sawdust and rapeseed oil are precisely placed at an altitude of up to 2,000 metres and lit with torches at dusk. Whether cross, candle or Disney figure, the sight is absolutely breathtaking.

The spectacle can be marvelled at from the Ehrwald-Lermoos-Biberwier ring road, from a walk surrounded by fireflies in the ‘Moos’ valley basin or, for the more ambitious, from surrounding mountain peaks such as Daniel. This unique custom in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena is protected as an intangible UNESCO World Heritage Site, so future generations of mountain enthusiasts can also marvel at how the motifs slowly reveal themselves in the darkness and how the small, glittering headlamps mark the descent of the feurs back into the safe valley.

 

Please only use public car parks, camping is only permitted at designated campsites, there may be increased traffic and congestion on the ring road.

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