In southwestern England there is a natural site that was once ruled by an Iron Age people known as the Dobunni. Here is found the only hot water springs…Read More »
in England, bringing mineral-laden water from the depths of the earth. The religious class of the Celtic Druids thought this site to be sacred to the goddess Sulis and that it was a special place where men could communicate with the underworld.
When the Roman Legion arrived here in A.D. 43 they immediately recognized the significance of the site. After a regional revolt was forcefully put down…Read More »
in A.D. 60, the Romans began to turn the natural springs into spectacular sacred baths. The hot springs had to be controlled so Roman engineers began the placement of oak piles driven deep into the mud while lead pipes directed the sacred water into a 6-foot (2-meter) deep lead sheet-lined reservoir. Bathers would enter the sacred water by four steep steps that surrounded the entire bath.
The powerful face of Gorgan greeted bathers from the top of the temple pediment and reminded all citizens who came to the baths of Minerva's military power and wisdom.
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Ancient Roman Baths England
Credit: Linda and Dr. Dick Buscher
The sacred water that still flow into the baths today once fell as rain in a nearby region known as Mendip Hills hundreds or even thousands of years ago.…Read More »
Slowly it percolated down through the layers of limestone to a depth of over 3 miles (5 km) where the Earth's natural heat warms the water to between 147 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (64 and 96 degrees Celsius).
The water is colorless, but what is seen today at the baths is very green because of the algae growth that is stimulated by the heat and sunshine. Water…Read More »
from the baths is not recommended for drinking or bathing since it still flows through the lead pipes laid down so many years ago by the Romans. Drinkable spring water can be consumed today in the world famous Pump Room restaurant, which brings the mineral rich water from the same ancient springs to the restaurant from its deep, underground source through modern lead-free piping.
Forty-three different minerals are found dissolved in the water. Sulfate and calcium are the two main ingredients while chloride and sodium are also found…Read More »
in great abundance. There are very few dissolved metals found in the water with the exception of iron, which causes a distinct orange staining around the sacred pools. Exsolved gases cause a constant series of bubbles to rise and explode on the water's surface. In Roman times, the baths were enclosed in a beautiful temple with high, vaulted ceilings.
For over 300 years the hot water baths and The Temple of Sulis Minerva were a beacon of Roman culture and power in this corner of the ancient world. But…Read More »
late in the fourth century, raiding barbarians foretold the end of this part of the Roman Empire. Neglect and vandalism of the baths and the great temple became common and eventually The Temple of Sulis Minerva collapsed back into the mud of an ever-growing swamp.
The neo-Palladian buildings and terraces that were built around the ancient Roman site and that are seen today were the design of two architects, a father…Read More »
and son both with the name John Wood. The original buildings were completed in time for the 1897 grand public reopening of the ancient baths. Modern architects honored the traditional Wood family design as over the years more buildings were added to the historic site.
In 1987, the City of Bath was selected as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)World Heritage Site. Known as one…Read More »
of the most romantic cities of the world, the historic Roman Baths help to bring over 1.8 million day visitors to this beautiful part of England every year. Learn more and enjoy the official web site at www.romanbaths.co.uk.