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Wiesbaden is a city in central Germany. It is the capital of the Bundesland Hesse. Wiesbaden has about 270,000 inhabitants (Dec 31, 2002).


Vestiges of first settlements date back to the neolithic era.

Continuous occupancy began with the erection of a Roman fort in the year 6 A.D. The thermal springs of Wiesbaden were first mentioned in Pliny the Younger's Naturalis historia. The Roman settlement is first mentioned by the name Aquae Mattiacorum in 121 AD. This name refers to the Chattian tribe of the Mattiaker who were living in this area.

The Alamanni captured the fort in the year 259/260. Later, in the 370s, when the Romans and Alamanni were allied, the Alamanni gained control of the Wiesbaden area and were in charge of its defense against other Germanic tribes.

During the 6th century the Franks displaced the Alamanni. In the 8th century the Franks built a royal yard (Königshof, curtis regia). Somewhere between 828 and 830, Einhard mentions wisabada. This was the first time that the name Wiesbaden is used.

In the 1170s the Dukes of Nassau received the area around Wiesbaden as fiefdom. They governed until in 1242 the archbishop conquered Wiesbaden and burned it down. Wiesbaden returned to the house of Nassau in 1270. In 1329 the house of Nassau and thereby Wiesbaden received the right of coinage from Louis the Bavarian.

Due to peasant risings Wiesbaden lost all its privileges in 1525 for over forty years. During this time, Wiesbaden built a new vineyard in 1526, 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. 1566 the privileges of the city were restored.

The oldest building of the town, the Old City Hall, was built from 1609-1610. No older buildings are preserved due to two fires in 1547 and 1561.

Thermal Sources and Spa

Wiesbaden is famous for its thermal sources and spa. The thermal sources were first utilised by the Romans. The bathing business became important for Wiesbaden near the end of the Middle Ages. In 1370, 16 bathhouses were in operation. In 1800, there were 2,239 inhabitants and 23 bathhouses. Famous people visited spas in Wiesbaden, among them Goethe in 1814, when there were 4,200 inhabitants and 6,300 visitors, as well as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Wagner, and Johannes Brahms. In 1900 there were 86,100 inhabitants and 126,000 visitors. In those years there were more millionaires living in Wiesbaden than in any other city in Germany.

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