When you come to the Hessian spa town of Bad Sooden-Allendorf today, it might be hard to imagine that four centuries ago the town was totally sacked during the Thirty Years’ War. Or, how the town was a bustle with trade during the town’s thousand year history of salt trade.
You know what this means, don’t you? No? I’ll tell you — it’s a place with history and culture, as well.
Before you’ve donned your bathing gear and hit up the spa, you might want to do your sightseeing first. This way you can really (really) relax afterwards!
One attraction is the Schifflersgrund Grenzmuseum, a border museum about Germany when it was divided between East & West (the town is on the Thuringian border). There’s even a collection of military cars and helicopters at the museum.
In Bad Sooden’s Old Town, there are many timber-framed houses right out of a fairytale. This is the perfect setting for the annual Märchenwoche (Fairytale Week) right after Easter which entertains with fairytale theater and other performances.
Another festival is the Brunnenfest (Well Festival) held at Whitsunday, where you can see the ancient art of salt extraction. Salt was extracted here for more than a millennia, right up to the 19th century.
Salt was big during the Middle Ages, as was the building of churches. The Hospital Chapel was built in 1363 and filled with 14th century artwork. Three centuries later residents built the Gradierwerk (known as the Graduation Tower) in 1638, and rebuilt again in 2000.
Overlooking the Gradierwerk is the Werratal-Therme (Werra Valley Spa). It’s said to help with everything from heart problems to general weakness. Its brine pool, wave pool, and sauna is just what everyone needs after a hard day’s work. Or, in this case, a hard day’s sightseeing. ;-)
For more information about what to see in Bad Sooden-Allendorf, the Tourist Office (Landgraf-Philipp-Platz 1-2) is the place to go. However, with a spa as fantastic as the Werra Valley Spa center there’s no need to go any further.
Except, maybe, to one of the town’s camping sites, or to see the medieval Diebesturm (Mugger Tower).
Oh sure, that’s worth getting out of the super relaxing pool for… ;-)