Friday, 11 July 2014

Bath City Centre Accommodation - Roman Bath by Torchlight

Bath offers a breadth of city centre accommodation. Today we are faced with an almost overwhelming variety of propositions: small boutique hotels, city centre budget rooms, apartments for couples, and Georgian townhouses for reunions and family gatherings to name a few. However, the city’s role as a place for people to meet, as a location for social gatherings or a peaceful riverside location for rest and recuperation, has changed little over the past 2,000 years. The formation of Bath today is largely attributable to the discoveries made back in those ancient times and the actions taken by the Romans of building accommodation and areas of hospitality.

Visit in the summer and as the sun settles gently in the west leaving the warmth of her day’s embrace on the honey coloured Bath stone, relax and wonder at her charms. The stunning architecture of Bath holds us in her embrace long into the summer’s evening. As we glide into the long evening months of July and August, Bath willingly shares the depths of her memories with us all. Every evening the Roman Baths welcome visitors to submerge themselves in memories of our Roman past, each evening, until late at night.

The Roman Baths by torchlight take on a glow of the centuries past. Standing within the Roman Baths one may only wonder as the water rises at a rate of 240,000 gallons per day. A gurgling mineral rich flow of warmed water gushes out into the Roman Baths, as has happened for at least the past 2,000 years. The water rises at a temperature of 114F, making Bath the source of the hottest naturally flowing springs in the entire United Kingdom. The Romans, when first shown the hot springs were unable to understand the phenomenon. The flow and warmth of the water was beyond their comprehension. The mineral rich waters were surely of another world. They believed it to be the work of the ancient gods. In tribute to this Sacred Spring, a great Temple was built to accommodate the source. The Temple is known to have been a grand building. As the rag torches burn beside the Roman Baths, throwing dark shadows across the ancient walls, one may catch a glimpse of centuries past. The Temple was dedicated to the goddess of healing, Sulis Minerva. The healing waters and magnificent Temple attracted visitors from across the Roman Empire. Many of those who visited the Sacred Site made small offering to the goddess, a horde of more than 12,000 Roman coins have been recovered.

The Temple is one of only two classical Roman Temples known to have been built during the Roman stay in Britain – a further tribute to the importance of Bath and the Sacred Spring. The temple courtyard houses the spectacular gilded bronze head of Minerva, one of the most widely known and recognised objects from Roman Britain. The head is believed to be from a full body statue of the diety. The statue is believed to have stood with ‘her’ temple beside the source of the flowing Sacred Spring. The bronze head was unearthed in 1727 by men working in the nearby Stall Street. This tremendous discovery was the first intimation of the Roman ruins below the streets of Georgian Bath.

With the lamp light flickering behind you, make your way into the Great Bath. The water is believed to be sourced form 2 miles below the Mendip Hills. In Roman times, the Great Bathwas  covered with a vast vaulted roof. The alcoves surrounding the Great Bath were used for beauty treatments, relaxing and entertaining. The city of Bath has indeed a long and lustrous heritage as a place of care, nurturing and reinvigorating the weary soul.

As one enters the East Baths, the table lamps offer up a welcoming glow of soothing light. For the Roman these were the treatment rooms. Supplementing the naturally warm water the Romans created a tepidarium (warm room). In this room, little different in purpose from those in a modern spa, trained masseurs would apply fragrant oils and massage the joints and muscles of the weary Roman politicians and leaders. Beside the tepidarium is the caldarium (hot room) with elevated flooring, heated by a hypocaust steam system beneath. Passing further into the West Baths, where the Circular Bath stands, a lone flickering candle is reflected on the glassy surface of this, the cold plunge pool. The classic combination of warm, hot and cold rooms was deemed to be invigorating and uplifting for the body and souls of those who led the Roman Empire.

Bath remains to this day a destination for those who wish to relax, reflect and refresh themselves.
Over the past 2,000 years, little has changed. The desire for city centre accommodation remains as strong today; as does the desire for close proximity to the Roman Baths, easy access to local eateries, and a lively interest in advice over the locations that offer fine wine and relaxed entertainment.

Dukes hotel Bath city centre, click here to view our accommodation and luxurious offer

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