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The good waters of Bad Homburg



By Tyler Allen, Contributor

BAD HOMBERG, Germany – Just north of Frankfurt, Germany is a town renowned for the healing powers of its mineral waters.

Bad Homburg—bad meaning “bath” in German—has attracted people from around the world since remains of the old Roman baths were discovered 170 years ago. Its 14 therapeutic springs are used internally and externally to treat rheumatism, digestive and intestinal issues, circulatory problems, liver and gall bladder diseases and dermatological complaints.

The town itself is a very prosperous neighbor of Frankfurt, which is the economic capital of the eurozone and is where many of the bank executives commute from in Porsches and BMWs. It’s has long been a destination for nobility from around the world. King Chulalongkorn, who ruled the Thai kingdom for 42 years, was so pleased by a successful cure here that he donated a Thai garden pavilion to the town in 1914. Czar Nicholas II, one of many Russian elites to vacation here, built a Russian church nearby to serve his summer residence. King Edward II was a frequent guest of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who in 1888 made Bad Homburg his summer residence.

Today five spa clinics offer holistic aqua therapies including Indian Ayurvedic treatments. The Taunus Therme at one end of the Kurpark has a 15,000-square-foot water facility with mineral baths, Jacuzzis and a solarium. Across the park is the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Bad, built in 1890. This neo-Renaissance building houses the Kur-Royal Day Spa, which opened in 2002 after a lavish restoration.

But the town is not just a vacation for the elites, as showcased by Kurpark—or “spa” park—in the center of town. Here, fountains cap numerous wells, and anyone can imbibe the healing waters lying beneath Bad Homburg.

The most important of these is the Elizabethenbrunnenbrunnen is German for well—which is renowned for treating gastroenterological disorders. Its rich mineral water has perhaps the most active ingredients of any source in Germany. During World War I, Wilhelm II himself designed the ornate temple capping the spring.

Each of the springs in the 109-acre Kurpark has a placard denoting the well’s depth and mineral content, and the maximum quantity a person should consume daily.
Doctors here will prescribe patients a regimen of the different waters, depending on their malady or particular recovery needs after an operation.

Strolling through the park tasting water from the different fountains—some salty, some metallic and one with an overpowering sulfur scent—it’s hard not to imagine what it would be like to recover from an illness here. Instead of a prescription for synthetic pills from the pharmacist, a patient would be armed with a measuring cup and a list of the healing fountains to visit each day. A walk through the leafy, well-manicured Kurpark on a sunny day is therapeutic in its own right.

Bozeman writer Tyler Allen traveled to Bad Homberg this winter.

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