The Badenweiler Roman bath ruins (Römische Badruine Badenweiler) are among the most significant Roman remains in Baden-Württemberg. To this day, the complex remains the best pre-served Roman spa north of the Alps.
When the Romans conquered this region in what is now southwestern Germany, they brought with them their established custom of bathing. Many of the thermal springs that had been used by the Celts became Roman spas. The bath in Badenweiler was constructed in several phases. In the second half of the first century AD, a small building housing two pools was erected. This was later followed by a reception area, changing facilities, the Roman equivalent of a sauna, with two cold pools, and stone terraces.
The Roman bath ruins have retained their symmetrical structure. The pools for warm and cold water still have their original surfaces. And large parts of the relaxation room and sauna area, which were lined with sandy limestone, also remain. The remains of the hypocaust heating system – a forerunner of today’s underfloor heating provide a further point of interest.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the distinctive bathing tradition also began to wane. The Badenweiler complex had long been forgotten – until it was rediscovered and excavated by Margrave Carl Friedrich von Baden in 1784. In the late 19 th century, the ancient spa received a more contemporary counterpart: marble Neoclassicalstyle baths that were extensively extended during the subsequent decades. The natural springs, with temperatures up to 26.4 °C, were enjoyed in Roman times and form the basis for Badenweiler’s status as a spa town today. Since 2001, a spectacular, multiple award-winning glass roof, designed by Stuttgart engineers Schlaich, Bergermann und Partner, has protected the historical site.
The permanent exhibition at the bath ruins offers an insightful look at the Roman culture of bathing and provides fascinating facts about the entire complex.References:
Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.
Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.
Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.
The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.
The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.
With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.
Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.