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Das gute Wetter genießen, © Thomas Robbin

Elis­en­brunnen


An ar­chi­tec­tur­al high­light in Aachen with a well­ness ele­ment

With its clas­sic­al-style beauty, the Elis­en­brunnen pump room in Aachen is an ar­chi-tec­tur­al high­light in the im­per­i­al city. Its wa­ter from the “Kais­er­quelle” im­per­i­al spring is said to have heal­ing prop­er­ties.

Along­side the fam­ous cathed­ral, the Elis­en­brunnen is one of the most pop­u­lar tour­ist at­trac­tions in Aachen, the west­ern­most ma­jor city in North Rhine-West­phalia. It is named after the crown prin­cess Elisa­beth (Elise) Ludovika von Bay­ern.

Built in the clas­sic­al style, it above served a rep­res­ent­a­tion­al pur­pose. It stands first and fore­most for the well-de­veloped spa and bathing cul­ture in the City of Aachen which, if it so wished, would have the right to call it­self ?Kur­ort Bad Aachen?, or ?Aachen Spa?.

With its nu­mer­ous spa wa­ter sources, Aachen was already well known as a bathing town in Ro­man times, and for cen­tur­ies was and im­port­ant and pop­u­lar des­tin­a­tion for spa guests. Em­per­or Char­le­magne is said to have per­man­ently moved his res­id­ency to Aachen mainly be­cause of the be­ne­fi­cial ef­fects of the spa baths, which were heated nat­ur­ally by the Eifel vol­ca­noes.

The pump room is a re­con­struc­tion

The Elis­en­brunnen was com­pleted in 1827, and still stands on the Friedrich-Wil­helm-Platz square. However, today?s pump room is a re­con­struc­tion, since the ori­gin­al Elis­en­brunnen was al­most en­tirely des­troyed by bombs dur­ing the Second World War.

A copy of the ori­gin­al was built in the early 1950s. The world-fam­ous ar­chi­tect Lud­wig Mies van der Rohe, who was born in Aachen, was a strong sup­port­er of an un­altered, ex­act copy of the build­ing.

Vis­it­ors to the city can now ad­mire the rep­res­ent­at­ive struc­ture, which pumps wa­ter from the ?Kais­er­quelle?, just as it looked when it was built by the ori­gin­al ar­chi­tect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, at the be­gin­ning of the 19th cen­tury.

In its time, the pump room was also an at­trac­tion for well-known his­tor­ic­al fig­ures such as Peter the Great, Friedrich the Great, Gi­ac­omo Cas­anova and Georg Friedrich Han­del, who were fre­quent vis­it­ors to the Elis­en­brunnen. Marble pan­els in the hall are a re­mind­er of these vis­its today.

Min­er­al wa­ter from the ?Kais­er­quelle? spring

The Elis­en­brunnen con­sists of an open foy­er with a columned por­tico and two ad­join­ing pa­vil­ions to the left and right. The min­er­al wa­ter from the Kais­er­quelle burbles out of two in­teg­rated drink­ing foun­tains at a tem­per­at­ure of 52°C. The wa­ter, which is highly sul­phur­ous, cre­ates the well-known smell of rot­ten eggs in the pump room.

Sul­phur­ous wa­ter is said to have par­tic­u­lar heal­ing prop­er­ties, and bathing in it or drink­ing it can ap­par­ently help heal a wide range of dif­fer­ent ail­ments. However, due to its con­tents, the wa­ter may no longer be drunk fresh from the foun­tain, since the law on medi­cin­al products pre­scribes that spa wa­ter with a spe­cial chem­ic­al com­pos­i­tion may only be drunk un­der su­per­vi­sion from a med­ic­al doc­tor.

The Elis­en­garten, a small park de­signed in 1852-54 by the well-known Prus­si­an land­scape artist Peter Joseph Len­né, is loc­ated just be­hind the Elis­en­brunnen, and was re-de­signed from 2007-2009 by land­scape ar­chi­tects Lützow 7.

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Der Elisenbrunnen in Aachen bei Nacht, © Andreas Herrmann / ats
Ansicht am Abend, © Thomas Robbin
Das gute Wetter genießen, © Thomas Robbin
Der Elisenbrunnen von Innen, © Thomas Robbin

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