Bad Nauheim's landmark

The Fountain Courtyard is one of the most impressive examples of German Art Nouveau.

Fountain Courtyard

In the largest closed Art Nouveau ensemble in Europe, the reference to water as a health-giving power is omnipresent. The former spa complex is a total work of art and impressively demonstrates the connection between architecture, free and applied art as well as garden and square design.

Upon entering the Sprudelhof, the visitor is fascinated. From the upper steps of the large open staircase between two gatehouses, the view of Bad Nauheim's landmark opens up. Bright white walls with ornaments carved in shell limestone invite you to take a stroll through the bathing facilities of the turn of the century. Large clock towers tower above the buildings. In the centre there is a monumental basin with bubbling fountains, which is surrounded by clearly designed arcades.

 

In the Sprudelhof, the visitor immediately senses the history of Bad Nauheim as a world spa. The spa complex was built between 1905 and 1911 in art nouveau style. It comprised six bathhouses with waiting rooms and a total of 265 bathing cells, two administrative buildings, which form a courtyard-like complex open to the spa gardens and in the centre of which two characteristic whirlpools can still be found today. What is special about Bad Nauheim's Art Nouveau is that everything is still preserved in its original form - waiting rooms, courtyards and the bathtubs in Bathhouse 3 take visitors back to the time around 1900.


Even when viewing the interior, the special Art Nouveau style of Bad Nauheim can be found, where the reference to water is always seen as a health-giving force. Thus the bath houses and jewellery courtyards reveal one gem after the other: Ceramic masks, fountains made of honey-coloured terracotta, bubbles of carbonic acid, mermaids, wave ornaments and seahorses.

 

Important representatives of the artists' colony on Darmstadt's Mathildenhöhe, who were committed to Art Nouveau, took over the new construction of the Bad Nauheim bathing facilities at the beginning of the 20th century. The architect Wilhelm Jost gave the Sprudelhof its shape. Many renowned artists contributed to the artistic design - including Jakob Julius Scharvogel, Wilhelm Kleukens, Albin Müller and Heinrich Jobst. In the process, they created a total work of art which today represents the largest closed Art Nouveau ensemble in Europe.

Facts & Figures

0 years


It took six years to build the fountain courtyard, from 1905 to 1911.

0 Goldmark


This is how much the construction cost, which today is the equivalent of about 54 million euros.

0 mineral water springs


The healing water at the spring tap of the fountain courtyard comes from one of nine minera water springs.

The bath houses in the fountain courtyard

Bath house 2 The black lot painting of the windows with their symmetrically arranged pairs of birds magically attracts the visitor. Honey-coloured terracotta reliefs, embedded in blue-glazed ceramic clinkers, exude the charm of a fairytale world. The frieze zones along the long sides of the ornamental courtyard are filled with figures from mythology. A crowned mermaid on the fountain column rides coquettishly on a dolphin.
Bath house 3 Blue and red-brown mosaic patterns conjure up a festive and ceremonial atmosphere in the waiting hall. The ornamental courtyard with its rectangular water basin is reminiscent of a Roman atrium house. Rose covered columns and pergolas give the courtyard classicistic features. The fountain, made of shell limestone, rises from the water basin, on which a roundish putto offers the visitor grapes.
Bath house 4 & 5 The walls of the waiting rooms in both bathhouses are covered with violet-brown lahnmarble, which is decorated with a gold mosaic in bathhouse 5. Coloured oval windows made of opalescent glass set strong accents. The abstract ornaments give a hint of a frog and a dragonfly. In the ornamental courtyards, memories of Baroque grottos and water creatures of Art Nouveau are combined in the jewellery of the fountains.
Bath house 7 The "Ceramic jewelry yard" with a circumferential arcade reminds of monastic cloisters. Water animals cavort on pedestals, capitals, planters and benches. The fountain with its erotic charisma and Mediterranean lightness reminds of the time of the Renaissance. Flower children dance a spring dance, the breasts of the mermaids spray water as an allegory of life-giving nature. The bus stop shelter is lined with sharp-fired ceramics in the colours grey, brown, green and white.
Prince's bath Due to its precious furnishings, the Fürstenbad was reserved only for the high nobility. Among the prominent guests was the Russian Tsarina Alexandra. Those seeking healing went to the marble bath at the feet of the goddess Aphrodite, the "foam-born" or "Anadyomene", "the one rising from the water". The snakes hovering above her head are a reference to Asclepius, the god of healing.
Technical buildings Technology of the Art Nouveau epoch: The machine centre of the old laundry with district heating plant, power station, ice factory and steam washhouse is evidence of this.