The Festspielhaus first opened its doors in April 1998. With 2500 seats it is the second largest opera house and concert hall in Europe. The Festspielhaus is the only privately funded opera house in Europe.
The bulding was constructed around the historical train station, and the two architectural styles where combined under the leadership of Viennese architect Wilhelm Holzbauer. The acoustics of the Festspielhaus are considered to be among the best in the world.
I was fortunate enough to attend a concert of Bach's Matthias Passion, and it truly was a magnificent excperience. This was only one of 80 classical concerts presented per year, in addition to the operas, ballets and other concerts.
The Festspielhaus also houses the Restaurant Aida. Tours of the house are available on certain days throughout the year, the duration is around 60 minutes, and the cost 5Eur.
In October 2004 the museum Sammlung Frieder Burda opened its doors. After some month of struggle Mr Burda finally realised his plans for the museum. In Baden-Baden had been some people who weren’t happy with the plans for the museum. E.g . they had the opinion that the museum would destroy the general view of “Lichtentaler Allee” but the objections had been overruled. I’m really happy that Mr. Burda’s plans got accepted because I am a great fan of this building. Since my first visit I am also a fan of the inner parts of the building.
You can buy a ticket which is only valid for “Sammlung Frieder Burda” (at 9 EUR) or one which also allows you to visit Staatliche Kunsthalle (at 11 EUR)
If you are an owner of the ”Museums Pass” you have free entrance.
Don’t miss to use the lift!!!
Baden Baden has a long tradition as a spa town stretching back as far as the Roman tines. They built some of the first baths here and the evidence is now preserved for all to see. One of the baths lies beneath the Friedrichsbad and is known as the soldiers bath. Both the floor and wall heating systems are in an amazing state of oreservation.
**Please note there is no photography inside**
Audio guides can be provided and there is also a computer video animation if the original baths.
Entance fee in May 2008 was 2.50 Euro
The Friedrichsbad is one of the oldest and biggest spas in Baden-Baden.
Being prudish I never went into this spa as it is entirely nude! If you have any hang ups about your body then be warned!
The baths offer a unique experience of a routine covering all aspects of the spa from the first shower to the to the rest room at the end. The spa is very popular amongst couples.
More modern looking than the Friedichsbad. The bathing area has a large variety of bathing pools and a Roman saunascape with an outdoor area in the picturesque castle gardens. Prices vary according to how long you stay and there are parking facilities too.
The New Palace is high above the old town and near to the Stiftskirche. It is the formare home of the Margraves of Baden Baden. It is a pity because the place is run down and nothing is being done to restore it despite investors buying nearly 15 years ago. A piece of history is to be lost if nothing is done soon.
The world famous casino is in the centre of the town and visitors can walk in and admire the wonderful building. The casino is housed in the Kurhaus which, was built built between 1821 and 1824. If you can afford to spend the evening here I am sure you will spot some famous people and kiss goodbye to many Euros! "The most beautiful casino in the world”, was how Marlene Dietrich described Germany’s oldest casino. Formal dress is required to gamble or eat there but you can take a guided tour wearing what you like and you don't have to part with much money to do that.
The Trinhalle is now home to the tourist information office and is very close to the casino in the Kurpark. Built between 1839 and 1842, it is 300-feet-long and shows 14 frescoes depicting legends about Baden-Baden. There are also Corinthian pillars adornig the building.
Inside the Trinkhalle you can sample the hot spring water for free If you haven't got a bottle or cup you can buy one very cheaply there.
There is also a small cafe and ticket service in here too.
Unfortunately there is no category "water tasting" among the themes...
The Trinkhalle (drinking hall) hosts the tourist information office and one of Baden-Baden's thermal springs, the Friedrichsquelle. Hot spring water is constantly running from the tap and may be taken for free. Bring a bottle or a cup, or get a plastic cup for 20 cents there.
It is recommended not to drink more than 400 ml of this water per day. Well, I assume you won't want more. The taste is strange, rather salty. Give it a try, though - this is one of the things one simply HAS to do when in Baden-Baden...
The 19th century hall was built as a shady refuge where people could walk up and down, talk, watch and be watched while sipping their water.
The paintings on the walls show scenes from old regional legends and fairy tales.
The relief in the gable above the main entrance (photo 5) shows the healing powers of Baden-Baden's springs. From left to right, sick and old people are brought to the spring, which is impersonated by the nymph in the centre who is giving water to a little child and his mother. On the right side, healthy and happy young people are dancing and playing with their children.
The Spitalkirche was part of the medieval hospital, which was established next to the hot springs. The little church is now used by the Old Catholic community. Note the 16th century tombstones along the walls and the Mount of Olives behind the choir.
The Kloster zum Heiligen Grab (Convent of the Holy Sepulchre) was founded by Margrave Leopold Wilhelm in the late 17th century. The baroque church of St Joseph got a new facade in neo-baroque style in 1895.
Some 10 or 15 years ago the convent was closed down, the last nuns moved to an old people's home. The furniture and everything was sold in an auction and is gone for good. The school the nunnery ran is still in operation. The convent buildings are empty.
The Fettquelle ("fat spring") is one of the hot springs on the slope of the Florentinerberg - the only one that's accessible outdoors. Water may be taken for free.
Warning: Do not try to drink straight from the fountain. Bring and use a cup or a bottle. The water has a temperature of about 60°C (Celsius!!).
The Gönneranlage is situated on the Lichtenthaler Allee halfway between the town centre and Lichtenthal abbey. The park is an important example of the geometric style in gardening at the beginning of the 19th century. The garden was designed by Max Laeuger in 1909. A donation by the "coffee king" Hermann Sielcken, a rich businessman, paid for the new park on the right bank of the river Oos which was named after the former mayor of Baden-Baden. Originally a hedge garden, it has been planted with roses since 1952, it's most beautiful in early summer.
More pictures on my Gönneranlage travelogue page
Even though it has been opened only 10 years ago, in 1998, the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden has become one of the leading opera and concert halls in Germany.
The main building in the back with audience and stage was designed by the architect Wilhelm Holzbauer in postmodern style. The front part, however, is 100 years older. The entrance hall is actually the old train station of Baden-Baden. After the railway from the main station in Baden-Oos into town had been closed down and substituted by city buses, the neo-classicist station building was transformed into vestibule and box office for the new theater. The counter that once sold train tickets now serves as box office underneath the original sign saying "Fahrkarten" (train tickets).
There is so much to see in this small town! However, it is all very walkable and all of it is elegant. There is a small train that you can pick up near the theatre and the trinkhalle as well. There are also many buses to get around as well. Much of the city is built into a hill, so there are alleys of steps as well. There are castles and many ornate churches, cafes, and many shops as well. There are also 2 schloss's and several spas.