Sights worth seeing in the town

Kurhaus

Kurhausvorplatz mit Brunnen

A spa town has to have a spa house (Kurhaus)! Over the course of its 170-year history as a spa town, Bad Homburg has built four of them. Always on the same site in the center of town. The foundation stone for the first Kurhaus was laid in 1841 by the Blanc brothers who founded the casino. When it was largely destroyed by fire, they rebuilt it from scratch in 1863 to a level of magnificence that made it famous throughout Europe. This version of the Kurhaus was badly damaged in an air raid in March 1945. It could have been saved, but the sign of the times had changed: In 1952, a plain and functional post-war building was opened. When it proved to be no longer adequate, Bad Homburg decided to build the fourth and current Kurhaus, which opened its doors in 1984.

Its red sandstone facade and high windows with curved arches reflect the architecture of the Alte Post, the former post office building across the road that was built in 1893 and which had survived the air raid, unlike the houses to its right and left. The "Kur- und KongressCenter" is one of the focal points of life in the town. Its two floors are home to a shopping gallery, where the Tourist Info + Service is also located, and to several conference and meeting rooms on the first floor. The left wing is occupied by the Kurtheater with 750 seats, while the right wing is home to the Maritim Kurhaus-Hotel. The underground garage has space for about 350 cars.

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Marktplatz

Marktplatz

The buildings on the two sides facing onto Marktplatz look like relics from the middle ages. In fact, they were only built in 1907, as was Marktplatz itself. Homburg's great master builder Louis Jacobi designed the market alcoves in the historicized timber framework style, and himself spoke of a "Renaissance structure with timber architecture". The market tenders set up their stands in the arcades – which used to be open – in the central part of the three-part group of houses. If you look more closely, you will discover a plethora of decorative features, such as grotesque masks, on the building.

The house on the corner of the eastern side of the square was originally Baroque. Louis Jacobi redesigned its facade in 1909 and adapted it, and its extension, to the market alcoves. The well that was set up in the middle of Marktplatz in 1979 is dedicated to the Laternenfest, Bad Homburg's very own and very popular festival of lanterns.

Just a few steps away from Marktplatz, down Schulberg, is Engel-Apotheke – the pharmacy that was founded in 1684 – next to the historic School House (1738). Thanks to the owners' and pharmacists' commitment to history and tradition, it is still an absolute treasure – with a dispensary that has never been modernized!  The house was given its current form in 1901 by architect Louis Jacobi. He turned the building and neighboring house into one unit topped with a small turret above the entrance to the pharmacy. It is adorned with a golden putto, based on the popular angel from Raphael's "Sistine Madonna".

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Altstadt

Blick über die Bad Homburger Altstadt

Anyone who enters Bad Homburg town center from the west drives or walks over Ritter-von-Marx-Brücke, a bridge that was built at the start of the 20th century. Beneath it, small old houses huddle together on narrow, winding alleyways – the Altstadt, or Old Town. Its origins allegedly date back to 782 and the village of Dietigheim, although more recent archaeological studies seem to indicate that this date is not correct.

For decades, the historic collection of houses was neglected, and was even slated for demolition in the mid-1970s. Thanks to a citizens' initiative, the demolition plans were aborted and the restoration of the old buildings began. Nowadays, Altstadt is an idyllic part of the town, attracting visitors with a couple of shops and cozy cafés, pubs and restaurants.

The first Homburg Rathaus (city hall) was flanked by two towers. They also formed part of the inner town wall, of which individual remains can still be found. Although the Rathaus was pulled down, the Rathausturm and Stumpfer Turm (tower stump) still continue to flank Rathausstrasse. The "medieval" design of the Rathausturm, which used to be the prison, was left unrendered and with its cone-shaped roof, while Stumpfer Turm was rebuilt on the foundation walls around 1824, rendered and adorned with a tin collar.

The Hexenturm (witches tower), which has never seen a witch, was not built until 1905, when Ritter-von-Marx bridge was built. The same is true of the Brückenwärterhäuschen – the bridge watchman's house – on the other side, which stands alongside the "Güldene Treppe" – the golden stairs leading down to the Old Town.

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Dorotheenstrasse

Sinclair-Haus in der Dorotheenstraße

Dorotheenstrasse in its entirety is a protected heritage site and transports visitors back to the Baroque age, when Homburg's "New Town" was being planned on the drawing board, with Louisenstrasse as its main axis. The curb roof houses, which were typical for this era, were built from 1710 onwards. Back then, they were home to the civil servants and attendants at the Landgraves' Court, although traders, craftsmen and, later, factory owners also lived there. Homburg's great master builder Louis Jacobi lived and worked at house number 12, with its striking pebble facade, until his death in 1910.  The poet Friedrich Hölderlin spent one of his two two-year stays at number 36. This house is, however, no longer preserved in its original state. It was torn down in 1983 and rebuilt along the lines of its historic predecessor. It now houses the "Hölderlin-Wohnung", an apartment where Hölderlin researchers from around the world may live free of charge at the invitation of the town of Bad Homburg.

Dorotheenstrasse is also home to the two town churches of Bad Homburg – the protestant Erlöserkirche, and the catholic Kirche St. Marien. Between them, however, is a third church – Jacobus-Kirche was a French-Reformist church that was consecrated in 1724 but has long since been secularized. Its interior was converted in 1905 – into a gym. Diagonally opposite is a large Classical building from the early 19th century – the former District Court and now part of the town library.

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Monuments in the town

Johann Christian Rind
Johann Christian Rind, who was born in 1726 in the Old Town, and died in 1797, was a successful merchant and, at the same time, a deeply religious man with a very social conscience. He used his fortune to set up a foundation that would benefit all citizens of Homburg. The "Rind’sches Bürgerstift" old people's home was originally housed in his home at what is now Rind’sche Stiftstrasse No. 7, before moving to larger premises on Elisabethenstrasse in 1822. Nowadays it is located on Gymnasiumstrasse.

The benefactor was forgotten for a while until 1896, when a committee was formed to collect donations for a monument in his memory. Its chairman, architect Louis Jacobi, produced the draft: Two steps leading to a stone bench with a memorial stone. The bronze relief was created by Jacob May and based on an original portrait of Rind. The monument in the Old Town was festively unveiled on September 28, 1898. It stands where Rind'sche Stiftstrasse meets Mussbachstrasse.

Jewish victims' memorial
The memorial was inaugurated 50 years after Pogrom Night in November 1938, when the Jewish synagogues in Germany – including the one in Bad Homburg – were burned down. It stands on Elisabethenstrasse on the site of the former synagogue. The design by Hendrikus Godding, sculptor and former head of the arts and crafts department at Bad Homburg's adult education center, reflects the arched windows of the Jewish house of worship. The bronze boards list the names of 81 Jewish Holocaust victims from Bad Homburg.

Landgrafensäule
In 1816, the citizens of Homburg gifted a column as a monument to their sovereign, Landgrave Friedrich V Ludwig to mark the 50th anniversary of his accession to the throne. It was placed in front of the castle. In 1835, it was moved to the "Lustwald", Ludwig's favorite garden. Already badly damaged, the "Landgraves' Column" was first moved back to the castle park in the 1960s before finally coming to rest in front of the entrance to the castle on Herrengasse, where it now stands.

A replica of the valuable monument now stands in the "Grosse Tanne" forest of delight, at the "Rond Point".

Laternenfestbrunnen
Laternenfest, the lantern festival that was celebrated for the first time in 1935, has meanwhile become one of Hessen's foremost local festivals. In 1979, the town erected an octagonal well in its honor on Marktplatz. Its plinth features five children carrying lanterns. The lantern festival song by Paul Grützner is inscribed on a bronze plate. The well was designed by Harri R. Freder, a local artist from Bad Homburg, who died in 2004.

Kriegerdenkmal
A column on a plinth, on which an eagle stands with outspread wings and a scepter at its feet, commemorates the war of 1870/71 and its victims. It stands on Waisenhausplatz. Two citizens of Homburg – architect Christian Holler and sculptor Jacob May – designed and built the memorial. The Homburger Kriegerverein (war veterans' association) collected donations among the people and clubs of the town to enable it to be erected. For some unknown reason, the date of inauguration on the back – May 10, 1873 – is incorrect. The ceremony actually took place on May 10, 1875.

Landgrave Elizabeth von Hessen-Homburg
She was – and is – the most popular of the Hessen-Homburg Landgraves. In 1818, the daughter of King George III of England wed Crown Prince Friedrich Joseph at the tender age of 48, and had a happy marriage. "Eliza" spent her dowry and appanage on her new home, using it to improve the castle and the Landgraves' Garden Landscape. The idea for Gothic House was also hers. Homburg greatly mourned her death in 1840.

Her great-niece, Victoria Empress Friedrich, wanted to erect a monument in her honor, but unfortunately did not live to see it executed. Emperor Wilhelm II did, however, fulfill his mother's wish and, on August 11, 1908, ceremoniously unveiled the bust on its plinth, in the presence of King Edward VII. It was, very appropriately, placed in front of the English Church on Ferdinandstrasse, which was built for the English spa guests in 1868.

Landgrafendenkmal
When the Landgraves' dynasty died out in 1866, Marie Blanc, wife of casino founder François Blanc, purchased the English Garden on Tannenwaldallee, which forms part of the "Landgraves' Garden Landscape of Bad Homburg". In 1871, she donated a monument in honor of the Landgraves, which stands on a path traversing what is now a residential area.

A leafless oak trunk with six branch stumps made of red sandstone "grows" out of the plinth made of Taunus quartzite. The inscriptions name all of the Landgraves from the Hessen-Homburg dynasty who ruled between 1622 and 1866. The monument was designed by Homburg's architect Louis Jacobi.

Pferdegrab
In 1773, Landgrave Friedrich V Ludwig buried his beloved steed Magyar in "Die Grosse Tanne", his forest of delight behind Gothic House, which had only just been completed and which forms part of the "Landgraves' Garden Landscape of Bad Homburg". He penned the inscription himself: "Here lies buried the loveliest steed, who unites all of the virtues; if animals could be friends, this would be my friend lying here." Magyar apparently followed his master loyally everywhere, even into the castle.

Zeppelinstein
The head-high memorial stone stands at Hofgut Kronenhof to the south of Gewerbepark Mitte – on the grounds where Emperor Wilhelm II inspected the first ever German airship parade on April 22, 1910. His Majesty had commanded that three different designs of airship be brought from Cologne so that he could see for himself the advantages and disadvantages of each model. The parade turned into a first-rate fair.

In translation, the Latin inscription on the metal board reads: "This is where Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany, inspected three airships that emerged from the realm of the clouds and landed simultaneously here on April 22, 1910." The inscription is surrounded by the twelve signs of the zodiac. The upper half features allegorical depictions of the sun and moon, the lower half depicts the wind.