Bathing in Baden-Baden

BADEN-BADEN, Germany -- Baden-Baden is a health resort, holiday center and, most notably, an international spa and convention center, attracting many people from around the globe year-round. And many people come here for bathing.

There are many reasons that people gather at this regional hot spot.

A majority of the people visit for health reasons, while others go to see the world's renowned gambling casino. Of course, some people like to combine the two.

Baden-Baden extends from the Rhine Plain, a plateau about 10 miles wide in the southern woodlands of the Black Forest, and reaches its highest peak at the Badener Hoehe at 3,310 feet. Because of its favorable location in the Oos valley, Baden-Baden has a very mild climate with an early spring and a long and sunny autumn.

History shows that the earliest signs of human life in the Baden-Baden valley date back about 10,000 years to the Mesolithic period; however, it wasn't until 75 A.D. that the Romans arrived and settled after discovering the healing powers of the springs found there. The Romans noticed they had found an ideal location for living and soon started to build magnificent thermal baths.

In 1256 the town of Baden, which literally means "bathing," was called by this name for the first time in a document belonging to Margrave Rudolph. Not long after, bathing in Baden really became a popular pursuit when Roman Emperor Friedrich III came to town for a cure. Two years later Baden became his royal seat.

From 1688 until 1689 Baden was occupied by French troops, and on Aug. 24, 1669, the Great Fire burnt almost all of the town, including the castles. It took nearly a whole century to rebuild the town, and it wasn't until 1797 that European princes and diplomats discovered Baden-Baden at the Rastatt Congress.

They started to take cures here and some moved their summer residencies to the nearby castles. Famous spa doctors moved there around 1800, installed steam baths and pump rooms, and introduced mud-pack treatments and other health cure treatments, developing the town into a spa resort. Many prominent people visited Baden-Baden, and the town soon became very popular as a spa, tourist and convention center.

To see all the sights and cultural activities in Baden-Baden, one has to stay for months. The main attractions include the Baden-Baden Gambling Casino, thermal baths, thermal fountain, the Kurhaus, the Glockenspiel clockmaker's house, various churches and cloisters built in different time eras, art galleries, the old city, many stores (including some very exclusive ones), the Novelty Rose Garden, Shepherd's Cottage, Paradise Gardens and much more.

The health resort is surround in woodland with numerous hiking and walking paths. For those who prefer an extensive trip, Karlsruhe, Pforsheim and even Strasbourg are only a short distance away.