|Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe|
|o Mayor||Alexander Hetjes (CDU)|
|o Total||51.17 km2 (19.76 sq mi)|
|Elevation||137 m (449 ft)|
|o Density||1,000/km2 (2,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Postal codes||61348, 61350, 61352|
|Vehicle registration||HG, USI|
Bad Homburg vor der Höhe is the district town of the Hochtaunuskreis, Hesse, Germany, on the southern slope of the Taunus, bordering among others Frankfurt am Main and Oberursel. Bad Homburg is part of the Frankfurt Rhein-Main urban area. The town's formal name is Bad Homburg vor der Höhe (translated as "Bad Homburg in front of the height") to distinguish it from other places of the same name, abbreviated as Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe. It is best known for its medically used mineral waters and spa (hence the prefix Bad, "bath"), and for its casino.
Today, Bad Homburg is again one of the wealthiest towns in Germany (with the Hochtaunuskreis and the Landkreis Starnberg regularly competing for the title of the wealthiest district in Germany). As of 2004 , the town's marketing slogan is Champagnerluft und Tradition (Champagne air and tradition).
Local tradition holds that Bad Homburg's documented history began with the mention of the Villa Tidenheim in the Lorsch codex, connected with the year 782. This Villa Tidenheim was equated with the Old Town, called "Dietigheim". This connection is also reflected in street names. Local historian, Rüdiger Kurth, doubted these traditional stories based on his study of written sources and local factors. In 2002 Kurth initiated archaeological digs by the University of Frankfurt under the leadership of Professor Joachim Henning. The excavations showed that there was no evidence of settlement between the beginning of the Christian Era and the 13th century. It appears that the historical record which makes mention of Wortwin (or Ortwin) von Hohenberch--as Homburg's founder--as a documentary witness in Eberbach in about 1180 is the first concrete evidence of the town's existence.
As early as 1962, in a dig under the Hirschgangflügel ("Hart Stalking Wing") at Bad Homburg's Schloss (stately home), two burnt layers were discovered, which the man conducting the dig, Günther Binding, took as evidence of two former castles having been built on the site one after the other, but each having burnt down later.
Further digs by the University of Frankfurt at Bad Homburg's Schloss in April 2006, once again initiated by Kurth and under Professor Henning's leadership, led to the discovery that it was actually only one burnt layer from a half-timbered building--possibly a castle with towers--which from ceramic finds could be dated to the 12th or 13th century. Most likely this building stood in connection with Wortwin's "castle". Quite possibly, though, a further cultural layer from an even earlier time lies waiting to be discovered underneath these remains. Investigations using methods from natural science (carbon-14 dating and micromorphological analysis) will show whether the dating can be made more precise.
Homberg acquired market rights about 1330, but the document granting these rights is said to have been lost.
The town's name, "Homburg", comes from the Hohenberg Castle. The postfix "vor der Höhe" was probably first recorded in a document in 1399.
The Hessen-Homburg noble family of landgraves was founded with Friedrich I of Hessen-Homburg. Friedrich II (1680-1708) attained fame as Prince of Homburg. In 1866, as a result of the Austro-Prussian War, Homburg became Prussian territory.
With the coming of the spa industry in the mid-19th century, which profited greatly from the casino built in town, the town changed into an internationally famous spa town. Bad Homburg was particularly favoured by Russian nobility for its baths.
The spa industry began with the discovery of the Elisabethenbrunnen (Brunnen is German for "well") in 1834 (although the designation "Bad" was not conferred until 1912). The first spa building and the first casino in Homburg were built in 1841-1842 by the brothers François (1806-1877) and Louis Blanc (1806-1852), who later took over the Casino in Monte Carlo, which is why the Homburg Casino is sometimes called the "Mother of Monte Carlo". In 1860, the town was connected with Frankfurt by a railway line, the Homburger Bahn.
In 1888, Bad Homburg became known throughout the German Empire because Kaiser Wilhelm II declared Bad Homburg's Schloss an Imperial summer residence, and later financed the building of the Church of the Redeemer (Erlöserkirche) close by. His mother, too, Empress Friedrich, the old emperor's widow--and Queen Victoria's eldest daughter--lived there for several years. Edward VII was also often a guest. It was he who introduced the Homburg hat and permanent turn-up trousers. He also underwent fasting cures at Homburg 32 times.
The "Bad Homburger Golf Club 1899 e. V." in the Röderweisen in Dornholzhausen--nowadays part of Bad Homburg--is Germany's oldest golf club. It had its beginnings in the Bad Homburg Spa Park (Kurpark), where the old clubhouse and even playable parts of the old golf course may still be found.
Not far away stands the Russian Chapel--actually more properly called All Hallows' Church--an Eastern Orthodox church whose first stone was laid in the Russian Imperial couple's presence on 16 October 1896, although they did not attend when it was consecrated almost three years later.
King Chulalongkorn of Siam (Thailand) sent a Thai garden pavilion in gratitude for a successful cure. It was erected in 1914.
Horex was a well known German motorcycle brand of the "Horex--Fahrzeugbau AG", founded in 1923 in Bad Homburg by Fritz Kleemann.
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In 1335, permission was given by Emperor Louis IV to Gottfried von Eppstein to settle 10 Jews in each of the localities of Eppstein, Homburg, and Steinheim; it is uncertain, however, whether any Jews settled in Homburg at that time. Evidence for the existence of a permanent Jewish settlement in Homburg is found only at the beginning of the 16th century. Up to 1600 it consisted of 2 or 3 families, and by 1632 these had increased to 16. The first Jewish cemetery was purchased in the 17th century. The community continued to grow so rapidly that in 1703 the landgrave Frederick II of Hesse decided on the construction of a special Judengasse. A synagogue, built in 1731, was replaced by a new one in 1867. The Jewish community of Homburg was originally under the jurisdiction of the rabbinate of Friedberg but began to appoint its own rabbis in the 19th century.
A Hebrew printing house was run in Homburg by Seligmann ben Hirz Reis in 1710 until 1713 when he moved to Offenbach am Main. Among other items, he published Jacob ibn ?abib's Ein Ya'akov (1712). Hebrew printing was resumed there in 1724 by Samson ben Salman Hanau but lack of capital limited his output. The press was acquired in 1736 by Aaron ben ?evi Dessau whose publications included the Shulhan Arukh (?oshen Mishpat) with commentary (1742). The press was sold in 1748 and transferred in 1749 to Roedelheim. At the beginning of the 20th century, the spa of Homburg became a meeting place of Russian-Jewish intellectuals. The Jewish population numbered 604 (7.14% of the total population) in 1865, declining to 379 in 1910 (2.64%), and 300 in 1933. Of the 74 Jews who remained on 17 May 1939, 42 were deported in 1942/1943.
While the spa business experienced a long-term decline in the wake of the two world wars, the town gained importance by becoming the site for headquarters of various authorities and administrative bodies. By autumn 1946, the military government had already ordered the founding of bizonal authorities. Bad Homburg was chosen as the seat of the financial administrative centre. On 23 July 1947, the Bizone Economic Council instituted the "Special Money and Credit Centre" here in preparation for currency reform. The centre was headed by Ludwig Erhard. After the Federal Republic of Germany--West Germany--was founded with its capital in Bonn, the Federal Debt Administration (Bundesschuldenverwaltung), the Office for Security Adjustment (Amt für Wertpapierbereinigung) and the Federal Equalization Office (Bundesausgleichsamt) stayed in Bad Homburg.
In the 20th century, Bad Homburg became a favourite residential area among the upper classes. On 30 November 1989, one of its members, Alfred Herrhausen, the head of the Deutsche Bank, was killed and his driver was injured by a car bomb in Bad Homburg. It was alleged that this was an attack by the Red Army Faction, though this has never been conclusively proven.
Bad Homburg's civic coat of arms was granted in 1903 but is said to date from the 15th century on the basis of seals known from that time, although they show a saltire rather than the two adzes seen today (the saltire might be two unclear adzes). The reason for the adzes in the arms is not known; it is possibly dialectal canting. The colours, with silver adzes in a blue field, have been in use at least since 1621.
Bad Homburg is twinned with:
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