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Baden-Baden is situated at an elevation of 211 m on the Oos stream in the western part of Germany's state of Baden-Württemberg. The Romans founded a settlement here that soon became known as Aquae (waters), named for the thermal springs of the place. During the 3rd century, Aquae became the capital of the Roman administrative district Civitas Aurelia Aquaensis. Hermann II of the Zähringer family built the first castle in 1102 and founded the Margraviate of Baden (marchio de Baduon). In 1535 the two lines of the house of Zähringen founded the margraviates of Baden-Baden and Baden-Durlach (see Karlsruhe). Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm of Baden-Baden, nick-named 'Türkenlouis' because of his victory over the Turks at Slankamen, moved his residence from Baden to his new palace at Rastatt in 1706. In 1771 the last male member of the line Baden-Baden died without heir and the two margraviates were reunited. During the Congress of Rastatt (1797–1799) Baden was rediscovered as a spa place, which marked a long-lasting flourishing period for the town. The Margraviate of Baden was elevated to a grand duchy in 1806. It was Grand Duke Friedrich I who proclaimed the German Emperor in Versailles in 1871. After World War I the last Grand Duke, Friedrich II, had to abdicate. In 1931 the official name of the town was changed from Baden to Baden-Baden. After World War II the state of Baden was divided into two parts. The northern part was merged with parts of the former Kingdom of Württemberg to become the state of Württemberg-Baden (capital at Karlsruhe), the southern part, Baden (capital at Freiburg), was occupied by France. Württemberg-Baden, Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern (occupied by the United States, capital at Tübingen) were merged to form the present state of Baden-Württemberg (capital Stuttgart) in 1951.
The old castle (Altes Schloss, Schloss Hohenbaden) [left] was built in 1102 by Count Hermann II of Zähringen, later first Margrave of Baden. The castle was enlarged in Gothic style in 1393–1453 by Margrave Bernhard I and his successor Margrave Jakob I. At the end of the 16th century a large fire destroyed the castle which then fell into dereliction. First attempts to secure the remaining parts of the structure were made after 1830. Parts of the castle were restored after 1950 and since then house a restaurant and a small hotel.
The Kurhaus [left] was built in 1821–1823 in Classicist style by Friedrich Weinbrenner. It replaced the earlier 'Promenadenhaus' of 1766, and originally was named 'Conversationshaus' [as labelled on glass no. 1001, left]. Two wings were added to the building in 1853–1854 and 1912–1917. The Kurhaus is also home of the world-famous Casino of Baden. The first documented mention of legal gambling dates back to 1748. After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, gambling became illegal and the casino was closed in 1872. Re-opened in 1933 the casino had to close again only 10 years later during World War II. After the war, the illustrous casino opened again in 1950.
The square Leopoldsplatz [left] in the heart of Baden-Baden is named for
Grand Duke Leopold who reigned from 1830 until 1852. The centre of the square originally was marked by the
See also: Baden (A), Baden (CH).