Bad Ems, GERMANY: The Picturesque Imperial Spa
Bad Ems, is a compact ‘Great Spa’, showing in both form and function, the depth of the European bathing tradition over time. Set in a deeply cut valley of a tributary of the Rhine, the picturesque ‘Imperial Spa’ became one of the most important spa towns in Germany; a venue for major political events and decisions, pioneering gaming and a vibrant musical heritage. Its thermal springs are clustered by the river where the spa quarter has continually occupied the same site throughout history. Architectural developments range from the medieval ‘Wildbad’ through courtly life in the Baroque, to the sophisticated international resort of the nineteenth century and modernising developments of the early twentieth century. The spa landscape has challenging therapeutic trails and high rocky overlooks. Bad Ems mineral water has a long bottling history, and its salts are still used in the famous Emser pastilles.
Historic Urban Landscape of the ‘Great Spa’
The spatial plan of the nominated property can be divided into:
- The monocentric spa quarter in the valley bottom (both sides of the Rive Lahn, but predominantly the north bank), with its grand Kurhaus and pump room centred on the principal cluster of springs (that remained the centre of the spa), together with the bath houses, structures for leisure and pleasure (including Kursaal, casino and theatre).
- The linear, street-lined, hotel quarter and spa park on the north side of the river.