On the track of historyWiesbaden'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.