Spa, BELGIUM: Café of Europe
Spa, ‘Pearl of the Belgian Ardennes’, played an important role, as early as the seventeenth century, in the recognition of the medical properties of mineral water. Its carbonated waters were ideally suited to drinking and have been widely distributed across Europe ever since, leading to the introduction of the name “spa” in the English vocabulary. Since the early eighteenth century, Spa’s many springs, located on a wooded hillside south of the town were used for both crenotherapy and physical activity, with a network of walks linking the various springs and connecting them to the town. Spa became internationally-renowned as the ‘Café of Europe’, and a pioneer of gaming. From the second half of the nineteenth century it was transformed into a modern spa resort with French classicist architecture. Today, thermal tradition and know-how is sustained by the addition of a new thermal centre overlooking the town.
Historic Urban Landscape of the ‘Great Spa’
- The spatial plan of the nominated property can be divided into: The historical centre of the spa town, located in the lowest level of the valley of the River Wayai in the north.
- The sloping woodlands in the south with their springs and the network of historical routes that connect them.
- The promenades that linked the two main areas.
- Attributes and Principal Elements of OUV/Urban Ensemble of the Spa Town