Copyright by Aquensis Verlag Baden-Baden 2009

All rights of distribution through film, radio, TV, photomechanical reproduction, sound carriers of all kinds, electronic data, on the Internet, copying or saving the data in extracts as well as recovery of data processing documents are prohibited.

Text: Gereon Wiesehöfer, Manfred Söhner

Cover picture: W. Breyer, W. Peter, Pressebüro Baden-Baden GmbH, PR

Fotos: Wolfgang Breyer, Robby Erhard, Heiko Held, Eric Tran-Quang, H.D. Volz, B. Weigel, G. Wiesehöfer, Stadt Baden-Baden, Stadtmuseum Baden-Baden, PR, Pressebüro Baden-Baden GmbH, Plangrafik: Gerold Oberst

Sources: Haebler, Geschichte der Stadt und des Kurortes Baden-Baden, Bde 1 u. 2 (Schmidt 1969); Fischer: Von Caracalla bis Charles de Gaulle (Battert); Bischoff: Baden-Baden (Du Mont, 1996), Kunst und Kultur in Baden-Baden (Aquensis 2007)

Design: Schauplatz Verlag & Werbeagentur, Baden-Baden, seeQgrafix, Karin Lange

ISBN 9783954570591, Aquensis Verlag Baden-Baden

Get to know


A travel and town guide

ISBN 978-3-937978-52-9

Welcome to Baden-Baden!

Take your time visiting Baden-Baden. Our city offers something for everyone. Visit the unique thermal spas, the Kurhaus (conference centre), the Trinkhalle (pump room), the colonnades or the world famous Museum Frieder Burda. Or enjoy nature and stroll along the avenue Lichtentaler Allee, one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.

Baden-Baden though, has a lot more to offer: Visit the roman bath ruins. Or mount Florentine, the market square and the lovely Collegiate church. And how about a detour to the old castle, or a leisurely but exciting funicular railway ride to the summit of the Baden-Baden’s landmark mountain, the 700 meter Merkur? This town guide is a good reference for simply getting to know Baden-Baden better.

Hopefully you will experience sunny and happy days during your stay in our city. Discover Baden-Baden and have fun!

Yours truly,

Wolfgang Gerstner

Mayor of Baden-Baden

First impressions

Baden-Baden – with its just over 50,000 inhabitants in no way a large conurbation – is sometimes called "the smallest metropolis".

There are for one, certain highlights that have made Baden-Baden well-known all over the world: the spas with their healing thermal water, the unrivalled casino, the stylish "Kurhaus" (Assembly Rooms) with its many events, the International Horse Races, the avenue "Lichtentaler Allee", the Festspielhaus (festival hall) or the Museum Frieder Burda next to the Staatliche Kunsthalle (State Art Gallery).

That will do to accord the city a special position. But the “legend Baden-Baden” has far more to offer.

Whoever comes to Baden-Baden will feel the exceptional charm and charisma of the city as soon as they drive towards town from the motorway, the train station or Söllingen airport. And, after these first impressions, you will experience a close familiarity with the “quaint and artsy Baden-Baden” and its inhabitants.

Baden-Baden is blessed by its source of natural spring water which supplies the hot and healing water for the thermal baths. The city is attractively situated between the wide valley of the Rhine and the gentle sloping mountains of the Black Forest. Spring arrives here a little earlier than elsewhere. Autumn defies winter a little longer. The climate almost approaches Mediterranean conditions. This and the closeness to nearby France are some of the reasons why the people of Baden-Baden are more tuned in to the "art de vivre" than elsewhere.

Baden-Baden owns the largest municipal forest in Germany, with 5000 kilometres of hiking trails, the vineyards in the city and the surrounding Baden-Badener Rebland (wine growing region around Baden-Baden) are well known for its superior quality wines, spacious alleys, the well maintained parks, Baden-Baden’s landmark mountain Merkur, the Battert Felsen (Battert Rock), the Alte und Neue Schloß (Old and the New Castle), the unhurried gurgling of the river Oos, the big and small hotels, the many stylish villas, the numerous historic buildings, the traditional hospitality of the Baden region, the many offers for health and beauty, and the large arts-, politics-, sports-, media- and community-events – all this defines the city.

You will notice it yourself: This town does you good.

A brief survey of the centuries

At every turn visitors meet history and histories in Baden-Baden.

It was the ancient Romans who, around 2000 years ago, fist made this locale a popular destination. "Aquae Aureliae" was an ideal place of recuperation for the emperor, his soldiers and horses. The Roman baths' ruins under the "Friedrichsbad" of today bear witness to a sophisticated Roman bathing culture, they give you a sense of the particular importance the bath had to them as a meeting place.

Yet people had settled here long before Roman times: Finds of burial sites from the late Bronze Age confirm the existence of settlements at around 1000 BC. The very first traces of human habitation in the valley of the river Oos date back even to the Middle Stone Age, around 10,000 years ago. In the past 2000 years misfortune and negative influences also had an impact on Baden-Baden. Despite political commotion and economic depression, despite wars and catastrophes, despite some heteronomy and restricted currents – the city and its inhabitants were able to stand their ground.

In the past 200 years in particular, Baden-Baden was able to create and always offer something special. As gambling was forbidden, Spas and Medical Treatment Centres gained in importance. The city was made the centre of social life by kings and princes, composers, writers and intellectuals as they found here “excellent hostels, kind people and a lovely special atmosphere”.

To list all the famous people of bygone centuries who came to Baden-Baden and those who still like to come here today would fill a whole book. But one person never came: Goethe. If legends are to be believed, the master was finally, after many unrealised travelling plans, on his way to Baden-Baden when a wheel of his carriage brokenot far from the town. Unnerved, Goethe turned back.

75 AD to around 260 The Romans arrive, discover the healing power of the springs and build thermal baths for the emperor and the soldiers. They name the town "Aquae Aureliae" (1st peak period).

712 First mentioned in records.
Merovingian king Dagobert III gives the convent Weißenburg the march including the hot springs.

1112 Hermann II founds the Margraviate of Baden. His reign sees the erection of castle Hohenbaden (Altes Schloss, i.e. Old Castle).

1256 to 1400 The term "Stadt Baden" (town of Baden) appears for the first time in a document of Margrave Rudolf of Baden.

1365 The citizens of Strasbourg are given safe-conduct for journeys to Baden.

1473 Spa life blossoms. Kaiser Friedrich III arrives in Baden for Spa treatments. Two years later Baden becomes the seat of royal power. The margraves move their residence from Castle Hohenbaden (Old Castle) to the "Neues Schloss" (New Castle, 2nd peak period).

1507 Margrave Christoph I. establishes an ordinance for Baden and inaugurates the visitor’s tax.

1601 Dr. Johannes Matthäus, personal physician adopts mud treatments (fango).

1688/89 French troops occupy Baden - on 24 August 1689 a devastating fire destroys most of the town as well as castles in the vicinity. Rebuilding was to take almost a whole century.

1706 Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm, also called "Turk Louis", moves his residency to Rastatt.

1797 At the "Rastatt Congress" European princes and diplomats discover the joys of Baden-Baden - a new era begins: Baden-Baden becomes the summer capital of Europe (3rd peak period).

1798 For the first time gambling was officially recorded.

1810/11 Friedrich Weinbrenner and Tulla draw up plans for a new Spa District. The Jesuits' College is converted into a "conversation house" with casino.

1815-1834 As the city grows architect Friedrich Weinbrenner disapproves demolition of the town gates.

1838 Jacques Bénazet takes over the casino. His ideas and initiatives lay the foundations that turn Baden-Baden, within a short space of time, into the "summer capital of Europe".

1858 Otto v. Bismarck and Count Cavour stay at "Hotel d'Angleterre". International Horse Races for the first time in Iffezheim.

1860 to 1863 Princes Congress in Baden-Baden. Assassination attempt on King Wilhelm of Prussia in the Lichtentaler Allee. Three-Emperors-Meeting in the "Hotel d'Angleterre" between Franz Joseph of Austria, Tsar Alexander of Russia and Napoleon III.

1872 Government decides to shut down the casino. Emphasis in Baden-Baden is again shifted to the spa offerings. The continuity of horse racing in Iffezheim is ensured by founding the International Club. The private orchestra of the casino’s tenant changes into the 1. Municipal Orchestra of today’s Baden-Württemberg.

1877 Opening of the "Friedrichsbad".

1933 Re-opening of the casino

1945 Invasion of French troops. Baden-Baden is the domicile of the supreme commander of the French Army.

1950/51 1950 first season as a Spa & Health Resort. Third opening of the casino. From 1951 International Horse Races in Iffezheim.

1972 Upon request of the city, the hotel business and the industry, the initial 3-day Spring Meeting is being held on the horse racecourse in Iffezheim.

1977 Two more race days are added to the International Horse Race in June.

1985 Opening of the baths and sauna environment "Caracalla-Spa".

1989 Completion of the Michaels-tunnel.

1997 The "International Club Baden-Baden" celebrates its 125th anniversary. The town of Baden-Baden receives the "Olympic Cup Award".

1998 Opening of the festival hall "Festspielhaus Baden-Baden".

1999 The French troops leave Baden-Baden. In the following years, the guiding idea for the development of a 60-hectares-district of the Cité is a mix of residential & industrial: It becomes the new business location for numerous companies (e.g. the European media-and event-academy, Klambt-publishing).Attractive family homes are being built.
On the second Christmas-Day, the winter Storm ‘Lothar’ destroys one fifth of the municipal forest.

2000 Town twinning with Jalta (peninsula Krim/Ukraine)