Monday, August 18, 2008

Bath, England (July 20-22, 2008)

Bath is a beautiful historic town in the southwest of England, situated along the River Avon. During the 1st century AD, the Romans built a spa and temple complex atop the natural hot springs they found there. The city grew and flourished over the next several hundred years, until the Romans withdrew from Britain in the 5th century.

During the Georgian era (early 18th to early 19th century), Bath experienced a revival as a fashionable spa resort, and many of the city's impressive buildings date to that time period. Today, Bath is a UNESCO protected World Heritage Site and one of England's most popular tourist destinations.

Bath is an easy city to cover on foot, with many of the historic buildings and museums within close distance of the city center. Tea rooms and Cornish pasty shops tempt passersby with countless varieties of sweet and savory treats, while the gently flowing river and the lush rolling hills of the surrounding countryside beckon visitors to explore farther afield.
The view from the terrace of the Great Bath, with Bath Abbey in the background; the statues lining the terrace date to 1894 and were carved for the grand (re)opening of the baths in 1897
A closer view of a wall in the Great Bath; the Great Bath stood at the center of the bathing complex and was fed by hot water from the Sacred Spring
The 18th century neoclassical Pump Room was the social center of Bath for more than two centuries. Today, visitors can enjoy afternoon tea or try hot Spa water (with supposedly curative properties) in the Pump Room restaurant.
The busy pedestrian street leading from the Roman Baths and the Pump Room to Bath Abbey
Inside the 15th century Bath Abbey; the present Abbey was built atop the foundations of a 10th century Norman cathedral and an 8th century Anglo-Saxon Abbey church
The Circus, built in the 18th century by John Wood the elder, is one of Bath's most famous examples of Georgian architecture

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