Baden, Limmatpromenade. Foto: TES.

Bathing in Baden

On the other side of the recently opened Fortyseven bathing complex in Baden ( canton Aargau), another opening occurred in November, a revival of a two-thousand-year-old bathing culture.

The hot springs in Baden produce thousands of litres a day. In Roman times (15 B.C.-c.400 A.D.), the many bathing houses (thermae) were freely accessible to the inhabitants and the soldiers from the nearby legionary camp Vindonissa (today’s Windisch).

After the immigration/invasion of the Alemanni in the fifth century, the bathing culture disappeared. However, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Baden again became the most important bathing resort in Central Europe.

However, there is one difference with Roman times: the aristocracy and bourgeoisie have their bathing houses. Ordinary people use the many hot springs in the open air.
This tradition continues until 1870.

In this period, the large bathhouses and spas for the Beau Monde were built in the city’s bathing district (the Roman quarter). This clientele shouldn’t have been confronted with people bathing in the open air on their way to their destination. The open-air baths disappeared, and there was even a ban in force until recently.

The association Bagni populari, founded in 2017, has taken the initiative of reopening these springs (between 37 and 43 Celsius, depending on the outside temperature) to the public. After all, the springs still exist, and they go otherwise go straight into the Limmat.