GERMANY  |  Lahn Valley, Germany Travel Guide
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Bad Ems

Kurhaus with Spielbank (casino) at Bad Ems, Germany (cc)

Bad Ems

Bad Ems is a small town but a famous Kurort (Health Resort). It has a large number of health clinics and taking to the waters is currently as popular as it has ever been. This is also a very elegant town with much of its 19th-century charm intact. In contrast to most parts of the Lahn Valley, it is in Rhineland Palatinate and not in Hesse.

Sightseeing in Bad Ems

Although the Celts and Romans lived in the area, the first written reference to the hot springs is from 1172. The counts of Nassau and Katzenelmbogen built a bathhouse in the 15th century and the lovely Baroque Kurhaus in 1711-20. The health waters may be sampled for free in the Brunnenhalle.

Nearby, the Benedettistein, Platz der Partnershaft, a flagstone named after the French foreign minister, marks the place of his meeting with King Wilhelm on July 13, 1870. Good views of the Classical bathhouse architecture are available from the Kurbrücke (bridge).

The Kursaalgebäude (Spa Hall buildings), Römerstraße 8, were erected in 1836-39. There is a lovely marble hall as well as the early 20th-century Kurtheater (Spa Theater). The Spielbank (Casino), Römerstraße 8, is also here. It was popular from its inception in 1720 until it was closed by the puritan Prussians in 1872. It reopened in 1987. In contrast to Wiesbaden, Bad Homburg, and Baden-Baden casinos, jackets and ties are not compulsory. However, elegant dress is required – an information desk is available to clarify the definition. Roulette is popular, with bets between €2 and €10,000 possible.

Farther downstream is the Kurpark (Spa Park). It has a memorial to KaiserWilhelm I, the town’s most famous visitor.

The Russian nobles discovered Bad Ems shortly after the Napoleonic era. Improved transportation networks, especially railways, saw several thousand Russians visit the spa town by 1880. They often stayed several weeks and became a good source of income. To cater for their spiritual well-being, the local population suggested the construction of a Russian Orthodox chapel, which was erected in 1876. The St Alexandrakapelle (St Alexandra Chapel) is located at Wilhelmsallee 12.

The Emser Therme (Spa Baths), Viktoriaallee 25, is a modern spa park with hot-water baths, a therapy and massage center, and an “oxyparc” fitness center with a high oxygen concentration. 

Last updated March 28, 2012
Posted in   Germany  |  Lahn Valley
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