BATH

There's not another place like it. It's Celtic, Roman, Georgian, Victorian, modern and it's only 75 miles from Reading. It's a tourist oriented town in the best sense, with lots to see, places to stay, and lacking only in night life (during the winter, at least.) We drove over on a Thursday afternoon, found our B&B (Milton House) and set out exploring. Bath has real hills, which makes it different from many cities in Southern England. Hills make for good views and there were a lot of those in Bath. We found a walking tour on the web, and then bought a small booklet with further information at the Tourist Information Center next to the Abby. The walk guide says that it takes from one to six hours but there really is about two days worth of touring if you stop at every attraction and museum on the walk.

Bath is the only place in the British Isles that has natural hot springs. The Celts and later the Romans considered the springs sacred, and so established Bath as a place of worship. The Romans institutionalized it, building a temple and other worship sites there. The current building is Victorian, built on top of the Roman bath house. Next door is a Christian edifice, built where part of the Roman temple stood. The beat goes on.

 

The front of the Baths looks Roman, but is really Victorian. They didn't have kings and queens in Rome.

Inside the baths, hot mineral water flows up from the earth into the Sacred Spring. The spring bubbles from gases escaping from the emerging water.

The water in the bath is around 49 degrees C----comfortably warm. The green color comes from the minerals disolved in the water.

A wooden model of the Roman baths and temples. The vaulted domes were above the baths and the Sacred Spring.

The Victorian Pump Room was built on the Roman ruins. Folks would drink the water from the springs, and still can today. I declined after I learned that the last time the water was sent off for analysis, the report came back that the horse was pregnant.

Inside the museum are Roman artifacts, mainly from the temple. This was the center of the temple pediment. It is the symbol of the goddess Sulis Minerva. Note the owl in the lower right---another symbol of the wisdom of the goddess

This picture and the next are of two corners of a large altar which was in the temple square and used for sacrifices. This statue is of Baccus.

And this one is Neptune, I think.

This fellow was from somewhere where elephants were common. Africa? If you know Latin, enlarge this twice and you might be able to read the inscription.

And we thought Dallas girls had big hair!

A lead ingot, with Emperor Hadrian's name embossed on the top. Lead was used for pipes and the lining of the bath. The original one is still there, and doesn't leak.

The hot room was like a sauna, and the heat came from the floor. Hot air circulated under the floow, which rested on these stacks of tiles.

 

On to Bath Abby

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