Spa is a Belgian town located in Liège Province, and the town where the term spa originates. Spa is one of Belgium's most popular tourist destinations, being renowned for its natural mineral springs and production of 'Spa' mineral water, which is exported worldwide. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spas of Europe'.

As the site of cold springs with alleged healing properties, Spa has been frequented as a watering-place since the 14th century. It is the town of Spa which has become eponymous with any place having a natural water source that is believed to possess special health-giving properties, known as a spa. The Spa town grew at that time, in the oldest iron and steel centre of Liège Province. The ban Spa was created around 1335 and included two urban concentrations, vilhe of Creppe and vilhe Spas, 2 kilometres away. Prior to the exploitation of mineral water, the steel industry developed communication lines, which made it possible to develop the spa town.

 

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Rue Royale 39, Spa, Belgium
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Founded: 14th century
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Belgium

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Late Baroque Town of Ragusa

The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.