Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Roman Remains at Bath

Tuesday 28 May 1998. Fran and I had spent the third night of our holiday in the seaside town of Weston Super Mare, in the Corbiere Hotel, named after a famous race horse.

Weston is a wonderful centre for touring the Avon area, with Bath, Bristol, Cheddar Gorge and caves and numerous other places within easy reach. We were aiming to visit Bath and Bristol before moving northwards into the Cotswolds for the last half of our holiday.

After breakfast we made for the city of Bath and headed first of all to the remains of the Roman bath complex where folk would flock to take the waters a mere 1800 years or so ago.

The Great Bath. Fed by the warm spring of the spa, this was the great communal pool.
The baths complex had several pools, warm, tepid, cool etc. and sauna areas heated by a furnace and hypercaust system.

There are a couple of mosaics on display. This one shows some fanciful "sea" creatures disporting themselves and is displayed in a raised casing.

Walkways have been built above the original Roman paving to ensure that there is no further wearing of the stone from visitors' feet.

The ground level of the Roman days is several feet below today's pavement level.

The goddess Minerva was worshipped at the sacred springs that disgorge hundreds of gallons of hot water every day. This bronze head of the goddess is displayed in a case in a prominant position.

I waited patiently for quite a while but at no time was I able to get a photograph without someone standing right behind it. He's not on the phone, he's listening to a recorded description of the head.

The other photo is of the outlet from the spring. It is England's most impressive volcanic activity. There's a steady production of hot water that just keeps coming. The Romans attributed it to the benevolence of Minerva and piped it off to heat the waters of the Great Bath.

This is the cold plunge pool. I wouldn't have fancied it myself...

There is lots more to see at the Baths complex and it's a really interesting place to visit. Once we leave ancient Rome, we move forward into Georgian England (and you have to wait for the next entry) for a look at the Pump Room and maybe a taste of the spring water.

Large versions of the photos: all the photographs from this holiday can be found in a set at Flickr

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