Roman baths in Bath
According to legend, the city of Bath was founded by Bladud, the eldest son of the Celtic King Lud, who lived around 800 BC. In Greece, where Bladud studied, he contracted leprosy. When he returned home, he didn’t want other people to catch the disease, so he left the royal palace and became a swineherd. Soon his pigs contracted leprosy too.
One day, when Bladud was driving his pigs through the Avon Valley, he saw a spring. Suddenly his pigs ran to the spring and started rolling in the mud around it. The mud and the spring water were warm. Then Bladud saw something very strange – where the mud was washed off by the spring water the pigs no longer had marks on the skin. Bladud bathed in the hot muddy water of the spring and was cured of his illness. He could return to his father’s court.
When Biadud became king, he built a temple by the spring and founded a city around it.
When the Romans arrived in Britain, they made great use of the natural hot springs.
Luxurious spa center was built. It had five healing hot baths, swimming pools and cold rooms. The most luxurious of them was the Great Bath (now rebuilt as the King’s Bath), surrounded by statues of the gods.
The Celts and the Romans believed that they could contact the underworld through hot springs. So pilgrims came from all over the Roman Empire. A temple and many beautiful houses were also built.
During the 18th century Bath became the leading center of fashionable life in England. Richard ‘Beau’ Nash, an adventurer, dandy and gambler, helped to turn the town into a fashionable holiday center. He organized public balls, introduced new fashion trends, advertised the healing powers of the baths and gave advice to architects and designers on how to improve the streets and buildings. Soon he became a Master of Ceremonies.
Many buildings were designed by the architect John Wood and his son.
There are 5 theatres, museums and art galleries in Bath.
Bath Abbey is one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in Britain. Founded in 1499, it stands on the site of an earlier Norman Cathedral and the original Abbey Church built in the 8th century. There are tower tours which allow you to walk all the way up the 212 steps to the very top of the abbey tower.
Sally Lunn’s is the home of the famous bun baked by a French cook Sally Lunn in the 17th century. The bun is still made to the same recipe.
The city holds lots of festivals: an international music festival, a film festival, a literature festival and even a beer festival.