Wiesbaden Travel Guide
Wiesbaden, the capital of the state of Hesse, is a beautiful town. It is filled with tree-lined avenues, huge well-kept parks, and stylish 19th-century villas.
The Romans already treasured the warm water springs of Wiesbaden. Although the town was briefly an imperial city in the 13th century, its real heyday came only in the 19th century. In 1806, the duke of Nassau moved his residence here and the rich and famous soon followed. Wiesbaden became famous as a spa town, with gambling allowed since 1771. Roulette started its route to fame and popularity here after the citizens of nearby Mainz were forbidden to play cards. Many famous people came here, ranging from Bismarck to Elvis Presley. However, the most famous story involved Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky who in 1865 lost 3,000 gold rubles in a single blow. Afterwards, he dictated in 26 days his famous novel The Gambler, in which he referred to Wiesbaden as Roulettenburg. He never managed to repay his gambling debts.
In 1866, the Prussians took over. Gambling – all forms, including poker rooms – was soon banned. However, while the gambling set decamped mostly to Monaco, Kaiser Wilhelm II and other German and European nobles continued to favor the elegant spa town.
After World War II Wiesbaden became the center of the American-occupied zone. Military, especially air force, installations are still being used outside the town.
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