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Bath, England is an ancient and historical city in southwestern England, in the county of Somerset. Originally founded by Roman invaders in the first century CE, the modern city is built on ancient Roman ruins, many of which have been excavated by archeologists. Bath has been a popular resort city throughout the centuries, thanks to the mineral springs from which the city derives its name. If you have any interest in British history, the city will likely provide a historical site to your taste.
The original roman baths in the city were attached to a temple, believed to be dedicated to Sulis or Minerva. Artifacts such as partial mosaics and tablets asking for the goddess’ curses or blessings have been excavated in the ongoing research of the site. After the Roman withdrawal from England, the baths lay dormant for many years, before being revived as a health cure and run by monks during the Elizabethan era. The modern incarnation of the baths was mostly built in the 18th and 19th century, when drinking the water instead of bathing in it was thought to cure ailments and aid health.
Bath is often described as city of entertainment and leisure in the works of 18th century author Jane Austen. Much of the action of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are set in the city. Austen herself was a resident of the city for several years, living with family members from 1801-1806. Austen reportedly hated the city; the white quarry stone that makes up many of the buildings was blinding in the sunset and hurt her sensitive eyes. Austen fans can visit artifacts of her life and learn interesting tales of the author when visiting the Jane Austen Centre, located at 40 Gay Street.
The Bath Abbey is a stunning cathedral located in the city, and was the site of the coronation of King Edgar in 973 CE. The original abbey was constructed during the 8th century, and Queen Elizabeth I of England ordered the restoration of the building during her reign of the 16th century. It is well worth visiting for its beautiful architecture, impressive stained-glass windows, and the many memorials scattered throughout the main cathedral.
Bath is considered a serious cultural center of England, offering visitors and residents a large choice of entertainment activities. The city boasts five theaters, including the historic 1720 Royal Theater, known as one of the most beautiful theaters in the country. The city also offers many yearly theater festivals, including the Bath Shakespeare Festival and International Puppet Festival.
The city sits at the base of the Cotswolds, a hill range noted for great natural beauty. Bath makes a wonderful starting point to explore the picturesque towns and landscapes of southwestern England. It is located about 4 hours drive west of London, and can be reached by car or bus quite easily. If you are touring England, the city is not to be missed, and may offer the most in entertainment and culture outside of London.
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