IRENE's TRAVELOGUE

JUNE/JULY 1999

TRACING ROMAN GERMANIA I

The Trip
Bad Ems
Bad Kreuznach
Köln/Cologne
Mainz
Saalburg
Trier
Xanten
Abtei St. Hildegard  Lennep  Remagen/Linz

MORE TRAVEL
Tracing Roman Germania 2002
Tracing Roman Germania 2003 in the works
Ancient Rome as seen in the year 2001

Russian Church

photos

BAD EMS

Bad Ems, on the Lahn river, which flows into the Rhine opposite Koblenz (and opposite the Moselle river) has been a spa since the 14th century and is famous for being a popular watering place, especially in the 19th century, boasting such guests as Queen Victoria, The Prussian Royal (later German Imperial) family, Richard Wagner, and Dostoyevsky. The Russian Church – see photo above and here – is testimony to the popularity of the place to the Russians, who indeed at one time made up a quarter of the spa visitors. Ems is also famous for the “Ems Telegram” which started the Franco-German War of 1870. In recent years, there has been less money in the health plans for “taking the cure”, which has taken a toll on the town's businesses. A gambling casino in the Kurhaus has helped some. But all in all it's a sleepy little town. If you want to go to the movies, for instance, you have to drive or take the train to Koblenz.

[If one does go however, one has a wide selection of movies, German, European, American, documentaries, etc. We went to see the documentary Herr Zwilling und Frau Zuckermann, about German speaking Jewish survivors in Czernovicz (Chernivtsi) in the Ukraine and the attempts to revive a Jewish community. The movie won the Grand Prix Vision du Reél NYON. A summary in English.

The Limes ( Limes overall (english version) was built around 90 CE and crossed the river here. There are some well preserved sections of the Limes on the outskirts of town, and a tower excavated in 1847 was later reconstructed in honor of Kaiser Wilhelm I. There were two camps and a vicus until the Limes was abandoned around 260 CE. Interestingly, remains of a Roman bath with hypocaust, etc., show that the Romans did not take advantage of the hot springs!

This picture, taken from my hosts' living room window, gives you an idea of the narrow, steep and wooded valley – imagine what it must have looked like in Roman times.

Finds also indicate that there was already a settlement during the Bronze age. The village of Ems itself is documented for the first time in 880 CE with the name aumenzu.

Like every respectable German town with Roman antecedents, Bad Ems exhibits its Roman finds in the Town Museum, the Kur-und Stadtmuseum Bad Ems - die Römer in Bad Ems. Here is my photo file

© Irene B. Hahn 1999

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