June - July 2007
TIMELESS BATH: A city with 2000 years of heritage
The beautiful, elegant and historic Royal City of Bath is some 100 miles from
London in the south-west region of England. It has a Roman Spa heritage together
with magnificent and glorious 18th century architecture. Most of the city is
built in so called honey-stone, and laid out in the valley of the Avon River.
It has a similarity with Rome, as it is also surrounded by seven wooded hills.
All features of the city have been influenced by fashionable Georgian society
with all the wealth at their disposal. They built impressive public and residential
buildings mostly in neoclassical Palladian style.
Roman Baths in pastel colours
Note the terraces of the open air roof top pool of Thermae Bath
Minerva Pool of the Thermae Bath
Museum of Roman Baths: the main attraction of the city has always been the
2000 years old Roman Baths fed by the only natural hot spring in the British
Isles. The city derives its name from it. This is one of the best researched
and well illustrated archaeological sites. The remarkable museum shows all
aspects of the comfortable and sophisticated life of the Roman people.
Thermae Bath Spa: is also nearby, in the centre of the town. It has been open
to the public since summer 2006. The Millennium Commission funded the project,
and the Local Council together with the contractors struggled with its completion.
The scheme involved five old Georgian buildings, which were converted and restored
into an ultra modern Spa. It has not only given a new lease of life to the
dilapidated historic buildings, but also revived and brought back the Spa culture
The Circus, a desirable residential address
Shops over Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon with a weir in the foreground
Beautiful sculpture, drinking fountain
The spa facilities include main Minerva Pool, an open-air rooftop pool with
terraces providing breathtaking views of the city and surrounding hills, Turkish
baths with three steam rooms at different temperatures, a beauty treatment
salon including body massage, and a restaurant with bar. In fact, this is a
place to communally bathe in natural hot spring water, relax and get healing
and therapeutic treatments to invigorate the soul and mind.
Bath Abbey: is the landmark building as its tower dominates the city’s
skyline. The main features of the Abbey are the Tudor fan-vaulted roof and
the stained glass windows. The great east window is of particular interest
as it has 56 scenes from the life of Jesus Christ.
Pulteney Bridge: is a unique 18th century structure over the River Avon as
it ranks amongst three bridges in the world which have a row of shops on them.
The river near the bridge has a dramatic swirl at the horse shoe weir.
The Royal Crescent: is the longest crescent in Europe. It is a majestic residential
block facing over Royal Victoria Park and beyond to the river valley and hills.
Each house originally had a kitchen in the basement, dining room on the ground
floor, living room on the first floor, and bedrooms on the upper floors.
Abbey Green in pastel colours
Oldest house in Bath,
Sally Lunn House
Ovens where Sally Lunn baked
buns in the 17th Century
Typical residential architecture
Roman Guard at Bath Abbey
Stained Glass window at
Tudor fan-vaulted roof
Circus: is a set of four quadrants of five storey high buildings, constructed
in Georgian style and enclosing a circular open space with large plane trees.
The Circus was completed in 1767 and was the first of its kind in the country.
Famous people who lived here include Thomas Gainsborough (portrait painter),
missionary David Livingstone, General Clive of India and the arctic explorer
Sally Lunn House: not on such a grand scale as the Royal Crescent or the Circus,
this is an interesting and the oldest surviving house in Bath, built in 1482.
It is now known as Sally Lunn House because of a woman who lived here in the
17th century for a few years. She used to make buns with her own special recipe,
and these are still being sold in the restaurant as part of a light snack or
a main meal. The kitchen with its original ovens is in the basement, and this
is now converted into a small museum.
There are other attractions in Bath and these include the Jane Austin (famous
writer) Centre, the Assembly Rooms and Museum of Costume, and various art galleries.
The City of Bath claims to be the finest Georgian City in Britain with plenty
to see and do in and around its environment.
More articles by Bajrang Bahadur Mathur
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