Healing waters, fine art, and the allure of luck have made Baden Baden a must for those seeking a pampered getaway.
By Alevtina Altenhof
The image of Baden Baden is quite unique around the globe: a vacation town abounding with spa and treatment facilities set in the gently undulating foothills of the Black Forest, and home to international festivals and conventions. In the past, many world-renowned writers and composers, including Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, and Richard Wagner, visited Germany’s oasis of tranquillity which is famous for its natural beauty and favorable climatic conditions. Most of them were lured to Baden Baden to spend time bathing and enjoying the healing powers of the thermal water. Fortunately, the tradition of bathing has survived until today, with the modern-day Baden Baden still very much acknowledged as the greatest spa and bath resort in Germany, if not in the entire universe.
The word spa stands for “sanus per aquam” and means “health through water”. In the case of Baden Baden, the town celebrates a long bathing tradition. Since primeval times, almost 800,000 liters (211,337 US gal) of water rushes up daily to the earth’s surface from a depth of some 2,000 meters (6,561 ft.), enriching itself with healing minerals on its journey and reaching a temperature of 68˚ Celsius (154.4˚ F). It was the Romans who discovered and appreciated the value and healing power of hot thermal springs. They erected their first baths in the place named Aquae Aureliae and enjoyed the delights of thermal bathing as far back as 2,000 years ago. One of these well-preserved Roman baths is known as the “Soldiers’ Bath” and is not far from the present Friedrichsbad. Actually, it is a ruin which, with help of either a guided or audio tour, offers a fascinating step back into a mysterious age, when the bathing cult and its customs were an inseparable part of people’s lives.
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