Bad Kreuznach History

Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History

Bad Kreuznach panorama
Bad Kreuznach panorama

[ source: Wikipedia]

The history of Bad Kreuznach (Bad Kreuznach vacation rentals | Bad Kreuznach travel guide), a charming town on the Nahe River in Rhineland-Palatinate, dates far back into antiquity. Archaeological excavations have determined that a Celtic settlement was located near Bad Kreuznach as early as the 5th century BC. Once the Romans became the rulers of this area, a large palace was built here around 250 AD. Bad Kreuznach, then known as Cruciniacum, became significant during the Roman period (1st - 4th centuries AD), as reflected by the settlement and fortress that were constructed here. These functioned as a supply station between the larger towns of Trier (Trier vacation rentals | Trier travel guide) and Mainz (Mainz vacation rentals | Mainz travel guide).

After the Roman empire fell, Bad Kreuznach became a royal village in the Frankish empire. Between the 6th and 8th centuries, the fortress was converted into an imperial palace. The first written mention of the town dates from 819. The history of Bad Kreuznach remained relatively stable during the Middle Ages, but as with many towns, the 30 Years' War in the 17th century brought destruction and hardship. During this period, the population of the town was reduced from 8,000 to 3,500. In 1689, Bad Kreuznach was significantly damaged in the 9 Years' War.

The next major historical shift came in 1817, when the first spa treatments from local salt springs were offered. Within a few years, hotels and bath houses cropped up all over Bad Kreuznach, ushering in the town's new era as a health resort. This period brought new wealth and prominence to this small Rhineland town.

The 20th century added a militaristic element to Bad Kreuznach's history. During World War I, the Kreuznach spa, hotels, and villas were requisitioned to serve as the imperial headquarters in 1917. Kaiser Wilhelm II and his general staff took up residence here until the winter of 1918. Early in the Nazi years, Bad Kreuznach was the site of communist and labor union resistance to the Nazis. However, in 1939-40, the hotels here were again utilized as a center for army command. Reflecting wisdom and a degree of mercy, the last commander of the city peacefully surrendered to the advancing American troops in 1945. This spared the city any damage from fighting. In 1958, the French President Charles de Gaulle and the West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer met at Bad Kreuznach to formally restore Franco-German relations after the war.

Bad Kreuznach's history is reflected in a variety of historic sites that can be visited by tourists today, including the Pauluskirche (where Karl Marx was married in 1843), the Dr. Faust House (the home of the alchemist who supposedly inspired the Faust tale), and the Roemerhalle museum (with its exquisite mosaics taken from a nearby Roman villa site). However, most visitors to this area have probably been attracted by Bad Kreuznach's significance as a wine-growing region. Wine has been made in this area since Roman times, and over 70 vineyards alone are located around Bad Kreuznach. Zum Wohl!

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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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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Ringstraße 64, 55543 Bad Kreuznach, Germany

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