Bad Ems Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Kathrin_E
  • Things to Do
    by Kathrin_E
  • Things to Do
    by Kathrin_E

Most Recent Things to Do in Bad Ems

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    Kurhaus and Spa Hotel

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 24, 2014

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    The Kurhaus is the poshest location for treatments. Originally these were two separate buildings, one on Hassian and one on Nassau's ground as the border between both states ran right through here. In 1912/13 they were connected and united with a common facade. The Kurhaus is not an upscale hotel with its own spa facilities.

    The Brunnenhalle (Spring Hall) on the ground floor is free to access. It contains two springs. One of them, the one in the niche underneath the stained glass windows, is the famous Emser Kränchen. The water is free to take but they have no free cups, just elegant glass cups that must be paid for. Bring a cup or small bottle if you have one.
    Also note the furniture and design. Far too posh for my taste...

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    Römerquelle

    by Kathrin_E Updated Oct 24, 2014

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    The pavillon on the riverside promenade by the spa hotel and the bridge covers one of Bad Ems's healing springs. Due to the town's historical origins it was named Römerquelle, although there is no obvious connection to the ancient Romans. Unlike others in town this one is a cold spring. The taste is - hmmm, but could have been worse.

    A few steps lead down to the fountain. Seems it is only open and runnning in the warmer half of the year to avoid freezing, though. The water is free to take but you need to bring a cup or small bottle. Before you drink larger amounts of it, read about the waters and their medical effects: http://www.staatsbad-badems.de/EN/thermal_heilquellen.html

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    Robert-Kampe-Sprudel - The Big Spring

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 24, 2014

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    The strongest spring in Bad Ems is named Robert-Kampe-Sprudel (no idea after whom). The artesian fountain exits with enormous natural pressure and can reach a height of up to 8 metres. At a temperature of 57°C it is also the hottest among the local springs. The spring is covered by a modern hall by the entrance to the Kurhaus.

    The waters are extremely rich in minerals. They are mostly used to cure asthma, katarrhs and other condiditons that affect the breathing apparatus. The concentrated minerals are on sale in pharmacies far beyond Germany's borders as as Emser Salz and Emser Pastillen. They are a popular remedy against colds and sore throats.

    More about the healing waters of Bad Ems and how to use them for which medical conditions is described (in English) on the website of the Staatsbad: http://www.staatsbad-badems.de/EN/thermal_heilquellen.html

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    Quellenturm

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    This is not a medieval castle keep or watchtower. The so-called Spring Tower is not as old as it may appear – hardly more than 100 years, it was built in 1907. Nevertheless it is a beautiful landmark on the southern river bank. Together with the fountain in the river it is most photogenic from Kurpark – see my intro photo.

    From closer by it is less romantic. Its grounds are nowadays occupied by a minigolf course.

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    Bad Ems’s Walk Of Fame

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    The spa town indulges in its history and commemorates the many aristocratic and famous visitors who came to Bad Ems in the past, mostly in the 19th century. Along the northern side of the Casino and Kursaal building, a row of bronze platters is inserted into the pavement, each naming a famous personality. These include rulers like Emperor Wilhelm I and Tsar Alexander II of Russia, authors like Goethe (now show me a place where Goethe has not visited!) but also his Russian colleagues Turgenew and Dostojewskij, the opera singer Jenny Lind, composers (Richard Wagner, Jacques Offenbach, Clara Schumann) and many more.

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    On the Limes

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    Its location right on the Limes makes Bad Ems a World Heritage site. In the 2nd century A. D. the border between the Roman Empire and Germania ran right through the present town centre. The border was fortified with a palisade and guarded by Roman soldiers. Their castellum was located where the centre of the old village and the protestant church of St Martin are standing now.

    On a hilltop on the southern side of the valley a Roman watchtower has been reconstructed. From up there you have a fine view of the town and valley.

    Various information boards, most of them fairly new, explain and depict the Roman history of the place and area.

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    Walk the Trail by the River

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    The best view of the spa buildings can be enjoyed from the footpaths along the river banks. From the Kurpark side you see the Russian church and Quellenturm (see separate tips). I recommend crossing the river and walking the trail on the opposite side, too, from where you have the panorama of Kurhaus and Casino. The photos were all taken from the southern bank of the river where the trail is right on the river bank all the way.

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    Emperor Wilhelm I

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    Bad Ems owes a lot of its fame to the fact that Wilhelm I, the Prussian King and from 1871 onwards German Emperor, loved this place and came for treatments regularly over almost six decades. Ems became the „imperial spa“ and a meeting point of the European aristocracy in that time.
    A monument to Emperor Wilhelm I with his statue made from white marble was erected in the Kurpark in 1892.

    Bad Ems made history in 1870 because of the Emser Depesche (Ems Dispatch), sent to inform Bismarck about the then still Prussian King Wilhelm’s encounter with the French ambassador concerning the sequel on the throne of Spain. The text of the telegram was then published in a shortened version which was to, and was indeed, taken as offence in France. The result was the French declaration of war, which led to the German-French war of 1870/71 and finally the proclamation of the German Empire and Wilhelm as Emperor.
    In case you want to read about the background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ems_Dispatch

    Visitors...
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    Kurpark

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    Every Kurort must have a Kurpark and Bad Ems makes no exception. Due to limited space in the narrow valley it is not big but pleasantly located on the bank of river Lahn. A long straight double alleyway with flower beds in the middle, sycamores by the river and linden trees along the street, symmetrically designed, extends from the casino to the monument of Emperor Wilhelm I. Further west a park with large trees surrounds the old bathhouse and the Four Towers house.

    Bust of Tsar Alexander II
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    Casino, Theatre and Kursaal

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    The centre of spa life is the Casino and Kursaal building on the river bank next to Kurpark and the various springs. The complex was erected in the 1830s and unites various functions. In the west there is the casino, one of the oldest in Germany, and the theatre. The central part contains the Marmorsaal (marble hall), the magnificent festival hall, designed after the model of the renaissance Villa Farnesina in Rome (sorry no photo). Attached towards the east there is an open colonnade with a café and restaurant.

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    Balmoral Palace

    by Kathrin_E Updated Oct 23, 2014

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    The white building on the slope behind the Russian church was owned by a Russian and named after a Scottish palace. The style is an example of the German Rundbogenstil, developed at the end of the era of classicism with some neorenaissance features. It dates from the 1860s. Originally it was named „Villa Diana“, but after a few years it was turned into a hotel, then it received the name Balmoral.

    Nowadays Balmoral is an „artists house“ which grants stipends to talented artists who can stay and work there for a certain time. Their works are then displayed in an exhibition once(?) per year.

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    Russian Church

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    The many Russian visitors to the spa got their own church. The Russian Orthodox church of St Alexandra was built on the river bank opposite the Kurpark in 1874-1876. Its five onion-shaped domes, one gilded and four blue, add an exotic feature to the townscape.

    The pretty half-timbered house next door with the large veranda was originally a guesthouse and café. The orthodox community recently bought it and uses it as parsonage for their priest and as community centre for their activities. This parish community has got a fine seat indeed.

    The best photos can be taken from Kurpark across the river.

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    The Old Bathhouse

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    The first spa house was erected in 1715 as Nassauer Badehaus for the Dukes of Nassau. Spa activities began already around 1700, although Bad Ems’s ‚golden era’ took place more than 150 years later. The building is still used for spa treatments.

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    19th Century Architecture

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    in addition to the spa buildings, the residential houses are worth a look. They represent Bad Ems’s golden era in the late 19th century. Along the long street that connects the old village centre with the spa area (Römerstraße) you’ll find the finest examples, many of them were or still are hotels or guesthouses (photos 1-3).

    The quarter by the river around Victoriastraße has several fine villas from the late 19th century (photos 4 and 5).

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    House of the Four Towers

    by Kathrin_E Written Oct 23, 2014

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    The so-called House of the Four Towers (Vier Türme), also named Karlsburg, is the oldest among the buildings of the spa area. It dates from the end of the 17th century. It looks like a small palace with four towers on the corners. Nowadays it is the seat of the Office of Statistics.

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Bad Ems Things to Do

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