Bad Homburg vor der Höhe - Germany

Introduction

Foundation period

Bad Homburg’s history as a township began in 1170 with the construction of a castle set on a ridge at the foot of the low mountains of the Taunus range. The village that sprang up beneath the castle received its town charter as far back as 1330. The town prospered when the Landgraviate of Hessen-Homburg was established in 1622, and never more so than during the reign of Landgrave Friedrich II, whom the famous German writer Heinrich von Kleist glorified as the “Prince of Homburg”. In 1680, he started transforming the old castle into a baroque-style palace, and also ordered the establishment of the new town, while promoting and overseeing increased trade and commerce. His successors followed his example, securing Bad Homburg’s place in German cultural and intellectual history (Hölderlin, Goethe, Klopstock, among others). Bad Homburg also became famous for its landscape design and, perhaps surprisingly, its role in military history. Six of Bad Homburg’s princes took up arms against Napoleon in that era; so many that Bonaparte was once moved to say: “Everywhere I go I meet a prince of Homburg.” Hessen-Homburg was one of the acknowledged royal houses of Europe, which are widely interconnected through countless royal marriages.

History of the spa

Once enjoyed by the ancient Romans, Bad Homburg’s famous mineral springs were used to produce salt in early modern times. It wasn’t until 1809, when children playing near a stream discovered a hidden source, that the healing qualities of the waters were recognised. This event marked the humble beginnings of Bad Homburg as a spa town. Its first moment of glory occurred in 1834 with the rediscovery of the “Elisabethenquelle”, or “Elizabeth’s Spring”. The spring was awarded a certificate of excellence by no lesser than renowned German chemist, Justus von Liebig. Soon thereafter, in 1841, Francois and Louis Blanc were commissioned to build Bad Homburg’s casino in one of the spa halls. They then erected a lavish spa hotel, hired the famous landscape designer, Peter Joseph Lenné, to create the spa park, helped to connect the town to the European railway network, and organised a great variety of social and cultural events. Bad Homburg was transformed into a go-to venue for cosmopolitan high society.

The town’s popularity persisted even after the Landgraves of Hessen-Homburg died out in 1866 and the casino was closed in 1872. Germany’s imperial family had already discovered the exquisite spa, which officially belonged to Prussia, for itself and soon established a summer residence in the former Landgrave’s palace.

In the years following, European nobility, famous literary figures, politicians and the high-ranking military regularly congregated in Bad Homburg, taking the waters, strolling in the parklands and nearby Taunus, swinging rackets on the continent’s first tennis courts (1876) or clubs on Germany’s very first golf course (1889). The then Prince of Wales, who was later to become King Edward VII of England, visited Bad Homburg a total of 32 times. On a side note, it was he who popularised the famous “Homburg hat”.

The golden years of the royal spa town – known as the “aristocrat amongst Europe’s spa resorts” – came to an end with the outbreak of the First World War. Bad Homburg has nevertheless remained a celebrated and widely recognised spa resort.

Historic and cultural spa heritage

Over the years, Bad Homburg has retained its history and tradition. The 40-hectare spa park, which is listed as a historical monument, is home to a variety of historical buildings, sculptured fountains, the Kaiser Wilhelm Bath, the old casino, an orangery and a Russian chapel. The old spa landscape remains largely intact, embracing everything from the gardens of the Landgrave’s palace, the parklands, and the adjacent Hardtwald forest to the low mountains of the Taunus range and the Saalburg Roman Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nestled between Kaiser-Friedrich-Promenade, which runs along the edge of the park, and the city centre with the Louisenstrasse pedestrian zone, most of the magnificent spa architecture of bygone eras has also been preserved. Sadly, the historical spa hotel was destroyed in the only air raid on Bad Homburg during World War II. The present-day “Kurhaus” was erected at the same location in 1984. To this day, Bad Homburg continues to play host to a rich cultural scene, just as it did back in the glory days of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Renowned cultural events held here today include “Blickachsen” (“Points of View”), a biennial exhibition of large-scale sculptures set up throughout the spa and castle parks, and FUGATO, the international organ festival. The latter is flanked by a poetry and literature festival, which culminates in the award of the Hölderlin Prize for Literature. The Thai Festival and the three-week Bad Homburg Summer Festival are two further popular cultural attractions that take place every year.

Bad Homburg is synonymous with 200 years of healing and healthcare tradition. As a spa location, it ranks among the very best. The famous Bad Homburg medicinal clay treatments are as renowned for their healing qualities as the mineral springs in the spa park. The historical “Kaiser-Wilhelms-Bad” is nowadays home to the “Kur-Royal Day Spa”, a haven of wellbeing that combines health promotion and regeneration. The mineral waters at the nearby “Taunus Therme” come from the Viktoria Louise Spring. The thermal baths in their oriental-style surroundings offer comprehensive health and spa programmes with indoor and outdoor sauna landscapes, sunbeds, sports and fitness. Bad Homburg is also home to an acute care clinic and four follow-up rehabilitation and preventive care clinics, all of which are equipped with the very latest medical equipment and services.

Spa water

Indications for the nine mineral springs in use:

Drinking Treatments

Elisabethenbrunnen (Sodium-chloride acidulated water): For gastrointestinal disorders

Landgrafen- und Auguste-Victoria-Brunnen (Sodium-chloride acidulated water): For liver and gall bladder disorders

Louisenbrunnen (Sodium-calcium-chloride-hydrogen-carbonate water): For cardiovascular disorders

Stahlbrunnen (Sodium-chloride acidulated water): For anaemia and blood pressure disorders

Bathing and Drinking Treatments

Kaiserbrunnen (Sodium-chloride acidulated water): For cardiovascular disorders

Ludwigsbrunnen (Sodium-chloride acidulated water): For upper respiratory tract disorders

Bathing Treatments

Solesprudel (Carbonated salt water): For psoriasis and neurodermatitis

Viktoria-Louise-Brunnen (Thermal sodium-calcium-chloride-hydrogen-carbonate acidulated water): For rheumatic disorders

Spa treatments

Kur-Royal Day Spa at Kaiser-Wilhelms-Bad: Saltwater relaxation bath, Roman steam bath, hay steam bath and herbal steam bath, aqua salina, odorium, physiotherapy, heat therapy, cold therapy, lymphatic drainage, Bad Homburg medicinal clay, imperial massage, “Luise” massage, Rasul mud therapy treatment, aromatic oil massage, foot and leg massage, classic foot reflex zone massage, Thai foot reflex zone massage, facial massage, honey massage, hot stone sensitive massage, Lomi Lomi Nui massage, Tibetan, Thai and Hawaiian massage, Reiki, Shiatsu, trigger-point therapy, Siddhalepa ayurveda.

Taunus Therme: Thermal baths (up to 34.5° Celsius), effervescent massages, aqua-gymnastics, 11 saunas, medical wellness massages, aqua-fitness, back-fit, Hatha yoga, yoga and meditation, workout room. Hamam Paradise: Warm and hot-air baths, bath brush massages, steam bath, thermal baths, cold-water bath, Hamam massages.

Spa beauty products

Biocosmetics “Ligne Kur-Royal®”: Kaiserbad (sea salt rich in minerals), vitamin shower gel, pearl peeling, pearl body balm, gemstone body oil.

Facts and figures

- Arrival (2013): 147.844
- Medium stay length (2013): 3,6
- Other forms of complementary tourism: Congress and business tourism, cultural tourism, sport tourism and passing tourism.
- Arrivals and attendances of spa tourists: 13.00 arrivals – 299.000 nights
- Accomodation capacity: 20 hotels, 929 Rooms and 1.528 Beds, 1 to 5 stars

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