Wiesbaden (to be continued)
28th december 2013:
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 273,000 inhabitants, plus approximately 19,000 United States citizens (mostly associated with the United States Army). Wiesbaden, together with the cities of Frankfurt am Main, Darmstadt and Mainz, is part of the Frankfurt Rhine Main Region, a metropolitan area with a combined population of about 5.8 million people.
Wiesbaden is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe. Its name translates to “meadow baths,” making reference to the hot springs. It is internationally famous for its architecture, climate (also called the “Nice of the North”), and its hot springs. At one time, Wiesbaden boasted 26 hot springs. Fourteen of the springs are still flowing today.
In 1970, the town hosted the tenth Hessentag state festival.
Due to its participation in the uprisings of the German Peasants’ War of 1525, Wiesbaden lost all its privileges for over forty years. During this time, Wiesbaden became Protestant with the nomination of Wolf Denthener as first Lutheran pastor on January 1, 1543. The same day, the first Latin school was opened, preparing pupils for the gymnasium in Idstein. In 1566 the privileges of the city were restored.
The oldest remaining building of Wiesbaden, the old city hall, was built in 1609 and 1610. No older buildings are preserved due to two fires in 1547 and 1561. In 1648, at the end of the devastating 30 years war, chronicles tell that Wiesbaden had barely 40 residents left. In 1659, the Countship of Nassau-Weilburg was divided again. Wiesbaden became part of the Countship of Nassau-Usingen. In 1744, the seat of Nassau-Usingen was moved to Biebrich. In 1771, the Count of Nassau-Usingen granted a concession for gambling in Wiesbaden. In 1810, the Wiesbaden Casino (German: Spielbank) was opened in the old Kurhaus. Gambling was later outlawed by Prussian authorities in 1872.
As a result of Napoleon‘s victory over Austria in the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved. On July 12, 1806, 16 states in present-day Germany, including the remaining Countships of Nassau-Usingen and Nassau-Weilburg, formally left the Holy Roman Empire and joined together in the Confederation of the Rhine. Napoleon was its “protector.” Under pressure from Napoleon, both countships merged to form the Duchy of Nassau on August 30, 1806.