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Roman baths | by Isabella Perry
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Roman baths

The thermal springs at Bath - the only in Britain - were known by the Celtic people living in the West Country before the Roman invasion. Legends tell of one Prince Bladud, an exiled leper, who was cured by the waters uncovered by the pigs he was herding.


To the Romans, those famous lovers of baths, the hot springs were a magnificent attraction. Combining Celtic and Roman gods, they dedicated their impressive bath complex to Sulis Minerva, throwing offerings and curses into the steaming waters for the deity's attention. Bath, called Aquae Sulis, grew as a town, and excavated burials have demonstrated that the cosmopolitan settlement was home to travellers and merchants from distant parts of the Roman Empire


Bath's second high-profile era was the eighteenth century, when the Georgian town was a hugely popular resort for royalty, aristocracy, gamblers and rakes. In between 'taking the waters' at the Pump Rooms, and attending colourful assemblies, Bath's Georgian tourists indulged in all manner of intrigues, and the kind of superficial lifestyle described by one-time resident Jane Austen.


Almost the entire town centre remains a coherent and attractive map of honey-coloured limestone terraces. Among the town's architectural highlights are the curved and panoramic crescents, and Pulteney Bridge, where you can pause to shop while crossing the river Avon.

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Taken on January 16, 2008