Destination 2016: Wiesbaden

Destination 2016: Wiesbaden


The city of Wiesbaden,
the capital of the state of Hesse, has a history going back to Roman times. But you won’t find the usual
collection of timber-framed houses that most historic German cities have. Most of what you see today
was built between 1850 and 1914, making it the ideal destination
for anyone interested in neo-classic and art nouveau architecture. Wiesbaden escaped the Second World War
with relatively little damage, and later escaped the worst that
post-war city planners could have done to it. Although you can certainly find some questionable
examples of modern architecture, plans to modernize the city were dropped, as they would have meant the demolition of
large numbers of historic buildings. This would have included Villa Clementine, the scene of an infamous
diplomatic incident in 1888. The Queen of Serbia had just moved in
with her 12-year-old son, only for the King to file for a divorce
and demand the return of the Crown Prince. Eventually, the local police controversially
took the Prince by force and put him on a train to Belgrade. But Wiesbaden didn’t become famous
for abducting members of foreign royal families. What really made Wiesbaden
was its geothermic springs. The biggest of these is the Hot Spring, so called because the water has
a temperature of 66.1°C, much higher than that recommended for bathwater. Some of the water is piped
to two public fountains, but most is fed into
the city’s thermal water system which, among other things, heats the City Hall. The Romans, of course, were
very much into bathing, so it’s not surprising they built a city here. One of the very few relics of that era
is known as the “Heathen Wall”, and this isn’t it. This is the so-called “Roman Gate”, which was actually built in 1903. The real Roman parts are the
less spectacular bits on either side. Right next to it is
the Kaiser Friedrich bath house, which uses water from
Wiesbaden’s second biggest spring, and was completed in 1913. And so about 18 centuries of history
are missing from Wiesbaden’s architecture. Well, not quite. The mediaeval street layout is still there,
even if the buildings are more recent. The oldest building in Wiesbaden
is the Old City Hall, built in the early 17th century. It’s still in use as the registry office,
meaning you can get married there, but the city council now meets in
the palatial New City Hall, completed in 1887. It was even more ornate than it is now, but following bomb damage in the Second World War,
the façade was rebuilt in a much simpler style. The real palace was built in the 1830s
as a residence for the Dukes of Nassau, and is now part of a complex that houses
the Hessian State Assembly. The Market Church was also built around that time, and is still the tallest building in the city. The west tower rises 88 metres
above the market place. All this is in the historic centre of Wiesbaden, which has the form of an irregular pentagon. To 19th-century city planners, the chaotic layout
was a bit of an embarrassment. As the city grew, their solution was
to build wide boulevards with grand buildings and churches to cordon off the Historic Pentagon
from the modern city. These new developments survive to this day: quiet, leafy streets of impressive,
early 20th-century houses. During this period, the city’s population
was doubling every 20 years. To the east of the centre,
the Spa House was built. It wasn’t just for bathing: it was a social and entertainment centre, and included a casino in which Dostoyevsky
is said to have lost all his money but gained the inspiration for
his novel “The Gambler”. Nearby is the Hessian State Theatre, built in only 22 months and inspired by theatres
in Prague, Zurich and Vienna. Behind the Spa House, for the benefit
of those visiting for a rest cure, the tranquil Kurpark was designed,
taking English gardens as its inspiration. It even has some fake Roman ruins. As much as 19th century architects preferred
to forget the Middle Ages, they just couldn’t get enough of the Romans. I’d like to thank my sponsor Lingoda,
the online language school. What I really like about it is that
you use the magic of the internet to attend virtual classes of about 5 students with real, live human teachers. You can learn German, or English,
or French, or Spanish from qualified native speakers. Follow the link in the description and use
the code “rewboss1” for a 15% discount.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

43 Comments

  1. Watching this video by English man about my hometown whilst living in the sister town 'Tunbridge Wells' in England… Sachen gibts…

  2. How nice to see professional footage of my favorite city—I hope you come back and take some nature shots too. Thank you.

  3. Fun-fact: Wiesbaden is the second-largest city in Germany without a tram or subway system. The largest city is Münster in NRW, but at least they are the bicycle capital. There was a tram in Wiesbaden, but when it was closed in the early 1950s, a big jubilation broke out under the citizen, because the tram was considered as "the monster, which races along the Church Alley". The Church Alley (Kirchgasse) is the main shopping street.

  4. Selber bin ich ja zu faul für Ausflüge, aber deine schau ich gerne an. Habe nicht besonders viel Ahnung was die ganze "Heimatkunde" angeht, umso kurzweiliger sind die Videos.

  5. MY GRAND MOTHER FROM FATHER SIDE WAS FROM WIESBADEN. HER NAME WAS ANA MARIA ALTENHEIMER FUCHS. MY FATHER WAS DE OLDEST SON. MY NAME IS KARIN WAASDORP-SESSELER. I WAS MARRIED WITH SR. SESSELER. I LIVE IN THE NETHERLANDS.

  6. May God forgive the Hessian who still holds the Christian faith and remove the Arabic invaders from our homeland, from our Fatherland.

  7. Hello i wisch you a good day visit may citi off Wiesbaden we have here beatful parks Kurpark Schlosspark we have Nerotal we have Many beatful places visit may citi Wiesbaden common people ::::))))

  8. Werbung werbung fur Wiesbaden common people visit may citi the people are super common now visit Wiesbaden thank you

  9. Werbung werbung fur Wiesbaden common people visit may citi the people are super common now visit Wiesbaden thank you

  10. Werbung werbung fur Wiesbaden common people visit may citi the people are super common now visit Wiesbaden thank you

  11. Interesting Video, but with at least one mistake: 04:23 min: the Marktkirche is not the tallest building like you said and not even the tallest structure of Wiesbaden, like the most said. Tallest building means it have to be a building till the top and if you ask me, it isnt; its just without the belltowers. With the Towers it is a structure but there are at least 2 much taller structures in Wiesbaden. I know it is a well known Information, but it is wrong. I uploaded a Video on my channel "Das höchste Bauwerk von Wiesbaden" which Shows the 2 taller structures. Unfortunately I can't link it here without getting flagged as spam. Best regards, Jeno.

  12. To all the Johann Ritzels my ancestors that go way back to forever all from this lovely city. Didn't even learn that until recently, thanks to DNA. And I realize except for a cruel twist of fate would have been my hometown. Thank You for a nice video. ♥

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