Bad Homburg

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Bad Homburg
Bad Homburg

[ source: Wikipedia]

Bad Homburg (Homburg vacation rentals | Homburg travel guide) is located in the state of Hesse, on the southern side of the Taunus mountain range. In recent years, Bad Homburg has become one of the wealthiest towns in Germany, as it is the home of a number of Frankfurt (Frankfurt vacation rentals | Frankfurt travel guide) bank directors. However, for a much longer period the town has attracted wealthy visitors from around the world because of its glittering casino and its mineral waters and spa.

Bad Homburg was founded in the 12th century, and received its market rights ca. 1330. In the 17th century, the Hessen-Homburg aristocratic family of landgraves was established, but they lost their significance in the subsequent century. In 1866, Bad Homburg became the territory of Prussia. Although this is an important political date, the actual shift in the town's history came in the 1840s, when two brothers opened the first spa building and casino in Bad Homburg. Because of the casino's presence, Bad Homburg's popularity as a spa resort rapidly grew. The town became internationally famous, and was a particularly favorite destination of Russian nobles. In 1896, even the Russian Czar and his wife stopped over in Bad Homburg. In 1888, Kaiser Wilhelm II declared Bad Homburg's castle to be an Imperial summer residence, making the town's name known throughout the German empire. King Edward VII also stayed in Bad Homburg frequently, and he was responsible for popularizing the so-called Homburg hat (which he started wearing after trip to the town) and cuffed trousers. The Bad Homburg Golf Club is the oldest in Germany and was founded in 1899.

Among a long list of wealthy and prominent visitors, one in particular stands out because of the mark he made on Bad Homburg's physical landscape. After a successful cure in Bad Homburg in 1907, King Chulalongkorn of Siam gave the town a temple as a gift of gratitude. He had the temple built in Bangkok, and then shipped it to Bad Homburg, where it was constructed in the Kurpark. In 2007, in celebration of the centennial of King Chulalongkorn's visit to Bad Homburg, the Thai royal family gave a second Thai-Sala to the town, which is also now located in the Kurpark. These two golden pavilions are a must-see for anyone visiting the Kurpark.

Actually, the Kurpark is a significant historic site in its own right. It is one of the largest and loveliest spa parks in Germany and was designed by Peter Joseph Lenné, the Royal Prussian Garden Director-General. Lenné was one of the most prominent landscape designers in Germany in the 1800s, so it was no minor affair that the brothers who built the spa and casino procured his services. Notably, the Bad Homburg Kurpark is the only park outside of Berlin (Berlin vacation rentals | Berlin travel guide) and Potsdam (Potsdam vacation rentals | Potsdam travel guide) that Lenné designed. The park covers 40 hectares and is laid out as an English landscape park.

Besides the Kurpark and the casino, Bad Homburg offers an array of other interesting cultural experiences: the Central Garage (a small but fine automobile museum), the Gothic House (contains a local history museum and a hat museum), the Sinclair House (a contemporary art museum), and the Saalburg (Roman fort ruins that are now included on the UNESCO World Heritage list), to name a few.

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About this Article

Rachel Hildebrandt

This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.

Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).

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