Bad Kreuznach is a famous spa town, the prefix Bad refers to bath and healing. It becomes very obvious when walking through the town, there are many clinics and practises dotted around the town and of course the Kurhotel (spa hotel) in the middle of all these. Bad Kreuznach was already inhabited during Celtic times (5th century BC) when it was called Cruciniacum, then the Romans settled here – remains of a Roman villa with marvellous mosaic floors can be visited today. They all liked the mild climate and the healing properties of the water. But it was only early 19th century that physicians have used these healing properties of water and salt to establish the town into a spa town. Over the years the treatment possibilities have been increased and by now but traveller and sick people have a whole variety of treatments and wellness options to choose from. There is the Radon tunnel for example, one of the few in Europe, excellent for any kind of respiratory problems including asthma. Or the Bäderhaus (bathing house) with a huge variety of different saunas, spas and pampering treatments.
Given the beautiful surroundings with Nahe river and the valley, old castles and castle ruins, vineyards and a varietiy in sport activities like cross-bowing, cycling, hiking through the vineyards, it is indeed a perfect place to spend some lovely days. I was astonished to see many younger people here as well, a clear sign that not only old people come for treatment but that the younger generation also starts to refuse the quick but long-term maybe unhealthy pills and chemistry doctors prescribe today and prefers a softer way to treat body and soul for health benefit.
Please see VTer's Don (@Nemorino) description of the term Bad = spa, he has the better words that there is nothing bad at all with "Bad" :-)
No doubt, the main attraction for traveller and tourist in Bad Kreuznach are the lovely houses on the little bridge across Mühlenteich (a side arm or channel of Nahe river). They are rather old, built between 1480 and 1612 and originally it was seven of them. They were built because no more space was left in the old city centre. Today only three are left. One is still a shop, Ad Opticum, an optician, a very clever and innovative shop. I loved the decoration at the façade (a microscope and huge but simple golden spectacles), the stone bench in front of the shop in spectacles’ form and also the suffix to his shop, in ponte sitium, the Latin term for “located on the bridge”. I have made a travelogue with more photos of the shop’s exterior, from top of the bridge. This optician is very innovative, but that’s part of another to-do tip.
Back to the houses: the other house was once a wine pub, and it is still mentioned in several guidebooks and websites. Sadly, it is out of business and will not reopen again (that’s what the girl at the tourist office told me). Hopefully they find a new owner or tenant, because the location is top notch. The houses architecture is quite interesting: the ground floor is rather narrow and each of the upper floors is wider than the one below. This most probably had its origin in the tax which was fixed based on the ground floor surface. If you stand at the waterfront and look at the bridge piers you will notice wooden shores (photo 4 and 5). These were meant to support the weight of the structure above.
Walk on top of the bridge for a closer view of the houses. Depending which side of the little stream you come from, it is either along the street or via a small spiral staircase behind the little restaurant.
Bad Kreuznach’s website has a webcam for some better views of the houses from the western side and there is also an aerial photo with views of the eastern side (the houses’ facades).
Bridge houses on google maps
Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
When I was in Bad Kreuznach recently I saw several people “watercycling” on Mühlenteich, the little side stream of Nahe river, near the bridge houses. I never saw something like this before and even don’t know how they are called in German, let alone in English. These bikes are mounted on a device with two bodies of catamaran style and one “cycles” on the water. It must be a bit difficult though, because we watched the cyclists for a while and it took some time for them to get used to the movements of their boat-bike (photo 1 and 3).
Another great idea to spend some fun time on the water is in the boats called KahnMaran, a pun name deriving from Kahn (boat) + Katamaran (catamaran). Tow boats are mounted parallel and a table is fixed between them. So one can sit at the table, enjoy delicious meals while the boat is rowed on the water.
This all is organised by the optician Armin Goeckel (remember that I promised to write about his innovative ideas in my tip about the bridge houses?) and there is a lot more of offers he has in his “some time on the water” activities. The prices depend on what you want to do, andif it is only you or a couple of people. Contact him and ask for specials and his offers. He speaks English as well: Boot & Mehr (Boat & More).
Bad Kreuznach is not the only spa town at Nahe river, just around the corner at Nahe river is Bad Münster am Stein (usually the town name has the suffix Ebernburg, referring to the nearby castle). Both towns cooperate in almost every treatment question and they also share what is called Salinental. This is a collection of graduation towers along Nahe river between both towns (I add a descriptive link to a Polish website, because somehow the English versions in Bad Kreuznach and Bad Münster am Stein fail here). As much as six of these salt graduation towers are located between the towns, perfect for inhalation of a healthy portion of salt containing air. If you close your eye and walk along you really feel like being at the sea. This is all for free, there is no entrance fee to the inhalation places. Usually it should be enough chairs for the ones who seek this air breeze, but it might help to bring a small folding chair in the peak seasons.
the graduation towers cannot be missed, they are located at B48 (road) between Bad Münster am Stein and Bad Kreuznach. Parking space is enough, and the train station in Bad Münster is close by (500 m).
The Bridge house's are something you shouldn't miss seeing in Bad Kreuznach, infact, they were my favorite sight in the Town!
These house's, which now are Shop's, some in need of attention, were built in 1480 because of a housing shortage.
The old bridge, built around 1300, was near the intersection of two highways, and then served as a part of the city walls.
Ingrid and I viewed them from several point's, and I think this is a must do!
We went down to the edge of the River Nahe and viewed them from here, I thought this was the best view.
Then it was time to walk along the Bridge, and to see what their front's looked liked.
Would be nice to see them preserved as a part of the Town's history!
The St. Paul Lutheran Church is located on an island, close to the canal and mill. For many year's, it was the only building in the city near the old bridge, on the other side were Cattle pastures.
This Gothic style Bascilica, was consecrated in 1332, and originally dedicated to Jesus' mother Mary and St. Kilian.
In 1689, it was destroyed by the troops of French King Louis XIV, so was rebuilt in 1781 as best as possible to its original design, including the 61 metre high Tower, built in the baroque style of 1780.
Tombstones from the Middle Ages can be seen.
HAVE YOU HEARD OF KARL MARX?
Karl Marx and Jenny von Westphalen married here on the 19th June, 1843.
Rising 327m above the Nahe River, these are Germany's highest cliffs north of the Alps. Along the edges and at the bottom, vineyards cling to the hills. Local climbing clubs enjoy the cliff challenges on the weekends - contact the local Deutshce Alpenverien for more info. Trails will take you from neighboring towns: Bad Kreuznach or Bad Muenster - up through vineyards and forested hills to the cliff tops. The views out over the Nahe and Alsenz valleys are wonderous - forests, castles, vineyard-clad hills, little towns and pastures. Nothing like a picnic lunch atop during the week to continue your 'vacation from a vacation'. Maybe include a bottle of Nahe riesling in the picnic basket, too;-/
Check out the website for much more local information on these dramatic cliffs. I was privileged enough to live just across from them for three years and I still know their nooks and crannies by heart. Remember to drink the wine after the climb :-0
The 'Cure' (Kur in German) is a unique happening that Germans can take advantage of when life's stresses impinge. Most people go on Kur for valid reasons, though others just go. I remember playing squash many nights with a fellow who snuck out of his Kurhotel. He followed up our squash games with the obligatory drinking that one needs to replenish oneself afterwards;-0
There are many Kur towns in Germany - in Europe, in general. There are so many that each needs that 'thing' to attract the guests. For Bad Krueznach, it is the saline waters that are pumped up and through the gradierwerks. Beautiful parks along the Nahe river next to forested canyon walls on the western edge of the city are dotted with these structures. You can see the daily promenade of kurguests and locals wandering around their favorite gradiewerk, breathing the vaporized air giving off as the waters percolate through aromatic bush branches.
Along with the gradierwerks in the Salinental, the bridgehouses are Bad Kreuznach's most potent tourist symbol. There are three houses on a small bridge that goes over a part of the Nahe to the Roseninsel - heart of the Kur district of Bad Krueznach. The middle house sports a cannonball embeded in the doorframe, purportedly of Swedish origin, shot directly into the middle of the door frame during the 30 Year's War.
Recent floods have brought about massive reconstruction along the banks of the Nahe, to attempt to repeat reoccurrances. The water in the picture shows only a trickle as most was diverted while the reconstruction of the river banks and river beds took place. A more recent visit shows that the reconstruction is now complete and water once again flows under the Brueckenhaueser!
Bad Muenster is a small town 5 km upriver from Bad Kreuznach. It is crammed along the river under towering forested canyon walls. Two castles - one ruins from the 11 hundreds, the Rheingrafenstein - rising 135 m directly above the river; the other a restored chateau from the 15-1600 hundreds, the Ebernburg - hover over the town. Actually, towns, as originally, the towns were separate with Bad Muenster belonging to Prussia and Ebernburg to Bavaria before the unification in the late 19th century. Even today, you can feel the difference between the two towns, though some of that might be due to the more modern residential nature of Ebernburg. The town is surrounded by forested hills in which it is easy to wander for days. Plenty of excellent restaurants and gasthouses to find a zimmer frei. To the south and the west, you find vineyard-clad hillsides, some of the best wines of the Nahe coming from wineries in Bad Muenster and neighboring towns like Traisen and Niederhausen. Also, the Rotenfels - highest cliffs in Europe, are straight across from Ebernburg.
The Nahe region is one of the smaller and lesser known wine regions of Germany. It makes up for its lack of size by the excellence of its white wines. Names that I know - and there are many more, for sure - include Crusius and Moennhoff. One look at the vineyard sites will be enough to realize the potential for some complex rieslings.
A special treat if you are in the area during October-November is federwiesse. This is taken off the top of new fermenting wine and served up fresh. It tastes like a sweet soft drink but packs one heck of a punch the day after. For that reason alone, I like the name you find for this in southern Germany and Austria - Sturm or 'storm' for what it does to your head when too much has been drunk the night before:+0 A local accompaniment is the Spansauer Essen - a yearling pig spit-roasted. Not for calorie watchers!
The Egg Market is a square, surrounded by the church of St. Nicholas, half-timbered houses and the medieval Butcher's quarter. This was the market place for fruit, fish and pottery.
I really liked the house in my photo. Start's of small, and the higher the building, the wider it get's!
There are a lot of sculpture's too! These are a group of figures, showing how the master butcher Michel Mort Kreuznacher saves the town’s ruler, Count of Sponheim, during the battle of Sprendlingen in the year 1279.
The Catholic church of St. Nicholas on the egg market is the oldest religious building in the town. The Church was built in 1266, and originally was used as a Monastery church of the Carmelite Order.
If you can visit the interior, expect to see ornate carvings, grave cover plates with illustrations of earls and knights and wooden sculptures from the 15th Century.
Bad Kreuznach was interesting to walk around, I just wish I had longer to see more!
Not only do you have to look up, but also on the ground. There were some interesting piece's.
Of course, there were the nice wrought iron sign's, and there were some very unusual face's on one of the building's.
Mannheimer Strasse is the main shopping center street in Bad Kreuznach. Most of the street is restricted to pedestrians only. The street leads over teh Nahe river via the Brueckenhaueser to the Altstadt to the north of the river. Lots of shopping alternatives exist along or very nearby the street. This is the city's living room and you will run into most people you know at some time or another along this street.