Bath, England

In 1987, Bath (pics) became the only city in Britain to be declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in its entirety.  There are two striking features of this city that are largely responsible.  The Roman Baths and many of its notable buildings all constructed with Bath limestone.

Royal Crescent

Upon arriving in Bath you will immediately notice that almost all of the buildings have a similar look with slight variations in tone from gleaming creams to gracefully aging yellows.  All owing to the use of the Bath limestone that is quarried from the hills surrounding the town.  In the mid-18th century, a father and son team, both named John Woods, developed a building style that is most notably embodied in the Royal Crescent, a semi-circular group of 30 residences completed in 1774, one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the United Kingdom.  In fact, the Woods designed and built the façade while each of the 30 homes were built to suit the needs of the buyers so no two are alike.  There are other examples of this construction around Bath as well as in London.

The Roman Baths - Grand Bath

During the time when the Romans took up residence in England, a group of them arrived in the area that would become Bath and found that a large portion of it was flooded.  Once they discovered the flooding was due to natural hot springs, sometime around the year 60 AD they constructed a bath house complex around it.  When the Romans pulled back to Italy, in the 5th century, the bath house eventually suffered from neglect and was buried under centuries of silt, forgotten.  It was not until the 18th century that the Roman bath was rediscovered and eventually dug out.  The building you see from the street level today was built in the 19th century.  The spring produces a consistent 1.5 million liters (about 400,000 gallons) of water per day which is a toasty 114 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Roman Baths - Sacred Spring

This is considered to be the best preserved Roman baths in the world.  It is quite an interesting view into 2,000 year old Roman leisure.  It is also fascinating to see the clever design applied to control the flow of water into the Grand Bath from the Sacred Spring and to deal with the massive volume of water coming out each day.  There is an overflow which directs the excess water into an underground aqueduct that ultimate takes the water to the nearby river.  There was also a system of sluice gates to regulate the flow to allow for cleaning and maintenance.  Most this is still in place and performing its function today.

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