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BADEN-BADEN

Two thousand years ago the Romans founded Aquae Aureliae in the valley of the Oos, which was destined to become Baden-Baden, international health resort and spa.
They built a connecting road to the Great High Road of the Rhine. The city layout, contained elaborate imperial baths at the thermal springs as wall as baths for the soldiers of the Legions, Further there was a temple with diverse alters, shrines and statues, including votive stones, the Black Forest people, who were still Celtic, worshipped alters dedicated to Greek, Roman, and Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, as well as shrines for the Deities of the Orient.
About 250 AD the Alemans flooded in, the Republica Aquensis fell into oblivion, and it was not heard of for centuries. It was not before the end of the first millenium that there was again n settlement in the valley of the, Oos.
In the second millenium the Princes of Zahringen built Hohenbadan Castle high on rocks, not far from the former Celtic Castle of Refuge. A city with walls and towers was built, The The Margrave of Baden and his Knights hold the rights to the thermal baths, In the middle ages when the Plague broke out the streets were flooded with the steaming waters of the springs; miraculously the Plague no longer spread.
By the Year 1500 Baden had become a health spa under the direction of a famous surgeon a Kurclirektor. Over 3000 visitors at a time had flocked on to the little city. In the 16th and 17th century, the time of the Reformation, hard times and suffering were prevalent. Trials for witchcraft took place - some 150 witches were burned at the stake in Baden. In the Thirty Years War the Swedes came to Baden, The new Margrave invited the Jesuits to come to Baden; they found a college and today it is the Town Hall, The Capuchin Monks also established a monastery - later to become a hotel, the "Badischer Hof".
Then - the year 1896; the town was burned to the ground by Louis XIV At the end of the 18th century it again became a resort; rebuilt in the neo classic style. The Casino opened, the International horse races at Iffezheim commenced, the Theatre, thus Baden became the Summer Capital of Europe". Then, 1870 war and an untimely end to all the splendour.

Baden then decided to return to the thermal springs and the city become a cure center. Bathing establishments were built. The 1914-18 war brought a crises and only. the re-opening of the Casino, closed since 1872, saved the., town from ruin. World War II shook the world and the town became an Occupation Army Centre until 1950. Today Baden-Baden is an International spa and health resort of world renoun. It is the most attractive visiting card that Germany can present.

THE KURHAUS
Built in 1924, with all its stately columns, the Kurhaus did not open the Speilbank (Casino) until 1927. A succession of French lessees operated the Speilbank until the and of the Franco-Prussian war in 1871. It remained closed until 1933.
From then on the Roulette wheels spun busily until 1944. The high ceilinged room was closed to the public until 1950. Several concert and lecture halls, resturants, bars and dance floors offer a wide variety of entertainment. Operas, symphony concerts, art exhibits, balls and conventions are only a part of the Kurhaus calendar.
Although not generally known, the profits from the Speilbank have contributed to some well known institutions in the Baden area . The Trinkhalle, the railway linking Baden and Baden-Oos and the Iffizheim race track are examples of what the roulette wheel can do.
A landmark in center of Baden-Baden it is well worth a few minutes of your time.

KLEINES THEATRE (Little Theatre )
Construction commenced in 1860 under the supervision of Edouard Benajet who was also responsible for the building of the Kurhaus, the Trinkhalle, the Iffezhein racing stands and the Establishment of the Lichtentaler Allee. Two French architects were commissioned, Dechy responsible for the somber exterior and Counteau responsible for the elegant interior.
The grand opening took place, in August 1862 and composer Hector Berlioz wrote the opera "Beatrice and Benedict" for the occassion. Journalists declare it equal to the premiere of the Grand Opera in Paris.
After the Franco-Prussian War 1870-71 the theatre enjoyed its greatest success until 1918. At this time all opera's, operettas and concerts moved to the Kurhaus concert hall and the Theatre was used only for straight plays. It carries on this tradition today.
The "Kleine Theater" is one of the most beautiful in Europe and a marble plaque next to the enterance bear this inscription; "The opening of this theatre took place in 1862. Composer Hector Berlioz personally conducted his opera "Beatrice and Benedict", which he wrote especially for this occassion, commissioned by E. Benazet.

PARKS
Lichtentaler Allee;
Extending from the Kurhaus to the Lichtentaler Convent, Baden Baden's most famous park the 'Lichtentaler Allee" is situated beside the Oos River, Flowers, shrubs, trees and fountains are included for the enchantment of the tourists.
Almost 300 years old it was originally the "Avenue of the Great Oaks'. It has existed in its present form for about 100 year.
Of historic importance was the attempted assassination, in 1861, of King Wilhelm of Prussia by a student, near the Kettenbuche (Chain Bridge) where Gunzenback Strasse crosses the Allee. The King was carried to the shepards cottage, (still to he seen) where it was discovered the wound was only superficial.
A delightful park for a stroll; afternoon or evening to suit your taste. Incidentally each tree carries a plaque with its-type and country of origin.
Goenneranlage;
On the other side of the Oos from the tennis courts in Lichtentaler park is the Goenneranlage. Origin of the name is interesting. The cost, of laying out the Park was paid for by a rich German-American -offee king, Kerr Sielcken In appreciation of this generosity, the city wished to name the park after him, but he wished to remain anonymous. At that time the mayor was Kerr Goenner and "Goenner" means paid for by a patron. The name Geonneranlage was chosen, (Anlage meaning garden or park).
Neue Schloss Park;
The park of the "Neue Schloss", the Mariahalden Park is reached by proceeding toward Lichtentaler and turn right at the Alleehaus and follow the Yburg Strasse to its end.
Krupp Park;
Follow the road between the Kurhaus and the Theatre, at the end is Krupp Park. Zaehringer Hof Park;
Just off the Sonnenplatz and behind the 'Ewige Lampe" is Badens oldest park. It is over 300 Years old.
Bellevue Park;
The Hotel Bellevue his a very nice park within the grounds. May be seen from Lichtentaler Allee park.

RASTATT

The first settlements on the Rhine Plains around Rastatt are estimated at the end of the Bronze Age; 1,100 B.C., This is based on excavations of the "Heiligenbuck" a killock about 12 feet high near Huglesheim. They revealed the burial place of a tribal Chief with his war chariot; also, his Queen was buried close by.
Little is known prior to 500 BC when the Helvetians, a Celtic tribe, took over Baden province and built fortifications on the Battert Rocks above Baden. In turn they were defeated by the Teutons and they by the Romans in 50 B.C.
The Romans likely founded Rastatt along with Aquae (Baden) and Saletio (new Seltz) This is supported by the discovery of an alter to Mercury under the Bernhardus church. Rastatt was probably derived from the old German word Raststaette, meaning resting place; although some believe its origin is Rasta, a Roman lineal measure.
In 1422, 1 feed broke out between the Margrave of Baden and the south Baden nobility, In the course of the fued, Rastatt was burned to the ground, The Thirty Year War brought the Swedes. Shortly thereafter, more conflict, Holland and France, brought more suffering to the area. About this time the Margrave of Baden (the famous Turkenlouis) came into the picture. While away on a campaigns against the Turks in 1688, the French destroyed Rastatt, and the Margrave's residence above Baden. When he returned, he moved his court to Rastatt and built a new residence which was completed in 1705. It was along the style of the Palace of Versailles.
According to Legend, the Margrave and his wife disagreed over the symbol for the new castle. He favoured a statue of the God Jupiter and she favoured the Madonna with a cross. Emperor Leopold arbitrated, and favoured Jupiter (the Golden Man), which is the symbol of Rastatt to this day.
The new castle brought Rastatt forth on a peace negotiation centre. In 1714, the War of Seccession ended in the conference room, now known as the "Peace Room".
In 1799, Rastatt was the center of negotiations of a Peace between France and Germany. The negotiations flopped after 15 months and two French envoys were attached and murdered as they departed. No motive has ever been established. A memorial stone inscribed, "In memoriam to the Envoys Murder" can still be seen in the Park close to the Murg Dike.
The Margrave's court returned to Baden and Rastatt became a garrison town, In 1848/49, mutiny broke cut which had to be quelled by the Prussian army, It is interesting to note that the flag of the revolt was black, red, and gold - the colours of the present Federal German Republic.
1870 brought the Franco-Prussian War and Rastatt was a main supply base for east of the Rhine. After the war, Wilhelm I ascended the German throne and the Prussian army took over the Rastatt garrisons.
In 1877, Wilhelm Ist visited Rastatt during large scale army maneuvers in the Rastatt/Ettlingen area. In honour of the event, a white marble plaque was affixed to the, town hall.
During World War I, no fighting took place in the district. World liar Il saw 30% of out e community destroyed and the town surrendered to the French army without resistance The past 20 years has done much to heal the scars of war.
PARKS
Volkspark; On this side of Rastatt just off the main in road in the Volkspark (peoples Park), also known to the locals as "Schnops Park". The origin if the name is lost in antiquity.

There are pleasant paths leading through grassy slopes, shade trees and a little lake adds charm, There are even boats for hire.
In the olden d Rastatt was a fortified town, protected by encircling ramports. The "Kehler Tor" archway still stands opposite the Shell Service station. The little lake formerly a part of the moat around the town. The trees of the park were originally planted to serve as timber for defenses in case of attack.
The pleasant shade of the park is a far cry from its origin for defense.

BUEHL

As with Baden and Rastatt, Buehl dates back to the Roman occupation. Proof of this was a Roman mileage stone from 100 AD giving the mileage to Mainz as -120 Roman miles. In 1283, when records began, the town was under the rule of the Counts of Eberstein whose residence was the Burg Windeck.
The word "Buehl" in English means "Hill" or "Hillock", and that was the towns early symbol, It remains the coat of arms to this day with the same blue and gold colours.
During the 15th century, Buehl was a free market town under King Ruprecht of Pfalz. It was fortified, with a moat around the town, and had two large gates, one of which was known as the Witches Turret.
The 17th century brought destruction. First the Groats burned the town to the ground and 11 years later, Buehl was again laid waste by the Swedes. Later Hannoverian troops pillaged the town and 5 years later the French burned the castles to the ground.
During, the Napoleonic wars, Buehl was occupied by foreign troops and paid heavy tributes.
In 1835, Grand Duke Leopold of Baden raised Buehl officially to the status of a town. Since that time it has prospered and has developed an industrial complex.
One of the largest town in the Baden wine growing area, Buehl has an annual wine festival in May. In addition, Buehl is the centre for another fruit festival, every September the Plum festival is held. This festival is complete with floats, parades, bands and all the festivities of a community fair - even a beauty contest. Each year a Miss Plum is selected.
Buehl can boast of having the highest storks nest in this area. The storks arrived in the area in 1900 and after a few years moved to the 186 foot high Gothic church steeple. To all Germans, the stork is the symbol of fertility, so the children of Buehl Place lumps of sugar on their window-sills in hopes that the storks will bring a baby brother or sister on their return from Africa in the spring. It is also regarded as a good luck omen by the whole town if the storks nest is occupied.
During World War II, Buehl did not suffer too severely from bombing -466 houses hit, only 44 being totally destroyed. Only 9 miles from the airfield, Buehl prides itself on its hospitality and being the home of good cooking. Many fine eating establishments are in the town which is situated beside the access road to the Black Forest hills. A pleasant town in pleasant surroundings.

GAGGENAU

Gagenau is famous for its Mercedes-Daimler-Benz factory and is at the entrance to the Murgtal, valley of the Murg. The word "Gagenau" is derived from two old words "Gacko" which was the name of the oldest Germanic settler, and "au" derived from the middle-high German "Owe" moaning meadow.
The official seal has a wheel with a reversed T-cross in one half, inferring the shape and burden of the earth, and sickle in the other half, which is the, symbol of the village of Lichtenau which now belongs to Gagenau
In 1288, was the first mention of Gagenau in official documents. 1622 saw its complete destruction by the Bavarian army. French invaders burned the town in 1691 and again a century later. A memorial of the 70 years war can still be found in front of the ruins of the town hall.
On September lOth 1944, 180 American aircraft bombed the town, dropping 800 explosive and 30,000 incendiarie bombs on the town. The attack was repeated in October after which the town was little more than ashes; 265 deaths occurred. A memorial to the dead called "The Mourning' is located in the cemetery.
The hard working people quickly rebuilt their town and today there are over 12,000 inhabitants. The Mercedes Factory which was built in 1911 is presently employing in excess of 5000 workers.
Gaggenau boast charming open air swimming pools which are situated along the edge of the valley near the forests. It is a town with a beautifyl setting as are most towns in the Black Forest area.

 

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