© GDKE Rekonstruktion, Die Fenbacher Informationsmedien Xanten

Barbara Baths Trier

A wonderfully warm bath...

The floor and walls are nicely heated, while gentle sunlight streams through the high double-glazed windows. The whole area is clad in precious marble while ornate statues adorn the niches. The vault is decorated with stucco and glass mosaics and is supported by columns. The Romans could enjoy true luxury in the public baths! And at a reasonable price too. They made up an integral part of public life in major Imperial cities and were important leisure centres.

A bath bell heralded the beginning of bathing time. The entrance fee had to be paid to the dressing attendant, and those who had got undressed enjoyed a “wellness course”, which may have looked something like this:

A lukewarm passage takes us into the sweatroom, and from then on into the hot water bath. Another lukewarm passage room then takes us to the cold water bath. Visitors were then led into the changing room.

But the thermal baths not only offered wellness, they were also places for socialising. There were cultural options and opportunities for sport. Servants took care of personal appearance, ensuring proper nail and beard care and plucking unwanted body hair. Masseurs took care of health. Anyone who was hungry or thirsty would find food and drink.

Bathing houses were found in smaller towns and settlements along with major metropolises. And those who could afford it treated themselves to their very own wellness wing in their homes.

Bathing wings such as these could be found in the Roman villa complexes in Longuich and Mehring, which you can see today as reconstructions on site.

You can explore an original Roman water conduit that once supplied the bathing facilities of two villas in Pölich.


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