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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
The Hotel Bellevue his a very nice park within the grounds. May be seen
from Lichtentaler Allee park.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Baden Remembered | Base