Germany off the beaten track

Würzburg: Mozart Festival in the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Residenz" (Residence) © Oliver Lang

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On the track of history

Wiesbaden's special attraction was discovered as early as 2000 years ago, when the Romans found springs that carried hot thermal water to the surface. They found the effects of the waters to be miraculous for themselves and their horses and set up the first bath houses. The couriers of the Roman Pliny bore the news of their sensational discovery from Germania across the Alps to Italy.

The site where the springs were found became the Roman fort "Aquae Mattiacorum." After the Roman defeat by the Teutons in 407 A.D., the "Wisibada" of the Germanic tribes became popular as a trading post along the Rhine.

Between 1200 and 1243 the Dukes of Nassau set up a number of castles and fortresses, remains of which can still be viewed in the suburbs of Wiesbaden. The Nassau rulers also helped this settlement to flourish, and numerous bathhouses and inns ensured a lively business with visitors seeking to restore their health. In 1866 the new Prussian rulers supported the development of the city and Emperor William II influenced the architectural design of the cultural centers such as the Hessisches Staatstheater  (Hessian State Theater) and the "new" Kurhaus (Spa House), both of which were constructed during his reign. He solemnly declared his favorite summer residence to be a "world spa city."

World-renowned poets, thinkers and musicians laid the foundations for the cultural life of the city. Impressive architecture, elegant villas, extensive green spaces and parks as well as generous boulevards document the urban development that occurred during the Wilhelminian Era.

Wiesbaden emerged from both world wars almost unscathed. The magnificent buildings have been preserved for the most part and bear witness to a famous and brilliant past. The city has been the state capital of Hesse since 1946; it is a city with an individual character and profile and has an attractive historic Old Town.

Discover Wiesbaden

See the best of Wiesbaden

Inspiration, discoveries, relaxation, family fun: whatever your mood and whoever you´re with, an escape to the beautiful and historic places makes a perfect day out.

Wiesbaden: City Walking Tour

Get to know one of Germany's greenest cities and taste the water of the "hot springs" which were used by the Romans more than 2000 years ago. See the former palace of the Dukes of Nassau, which is the seat of the Hessian State Parliament today, and learn about the significance of the two town halls and what makes Wiesbaden's architecture so special.

Further information

European History

100 examples of Historicist Architecture European aristocracy and high nobility have influenced the architectural development of Wiesbaden –around about 100 sites in the “Pearl of Historism” are worth visiting.