Bath was first established as a spa with the Latin name
Aquae Sulis ("the waters of Sulis") by the Romans in AD 43. They
built baths and a temple on the bordering hills of Bath in the valley of the
River Avon around hot springs. The Baths are approximately 6 metres (20 ft)
below the current city street level. Around the hot springs, Roman pillar
bases, baths and foundations can still be seen although all the stonework above
the level of the baths is from more recent periods.
In August 2003 the Three Tenors sang at a special concert
mark the opening of a modern hot water spa in Bath city centre called the
Thermae Bath Spa. However ongoing delays to the project caused the actual
launch to happen in 2006, three years later.
The city has many cultural and sporting venues, museums and
theatres, helping to make it a huge centre for tourism. The city was chosen by
UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1987, recognising its international cultural
Since 2000, developments have included the Bath Spa, South Gate
and the Bath Western Riverside project.
Bath has a total area of 29 square kilometres (11 square
miles) and is located at the base of the Avon Valley near the southern edge of
the Cotswolds, creating a spectrum of limestone hills. These surrounding hills
give Bath its elevated streets and cause the buildings to appear to mount the
The flood plain of the River Avon which flows through Bath
city centre, has an altitude of about 18 metres (59 ft) above sea level.
Bath's five theatres - Bath Theatre Royal, Ustinov Studio,
the Egg, the Rondo Theatre and the Mission Theatre – have an international
appeal to internationally famous artists and directors and their programmes
include an annual season by Sir Peter Hall.
Bath also has an enduring musical tradition; The Klais Organ
is housed at Bath Abbey and is the biggest concert venue in the city with some
26 organ recitals and 20 concerts each year. The city holds the Bath
International Music Festival and Mozartfest every year.
Bath is home to the Museum of East Asian Art, the Victoria
Art Gallery and Holburne Museum of Art, many commercial art galleries and
antique shops, as well as various museums among them the Fashion Museum, the
Jane Austen Centre, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, the Bath Postal Museum
and the Roman Baths. During the 18th century Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Thomas
Lawrence resided and painted in Bath. John Maggs, a painter well known for his
coaching scenes, was born and lived in Bath with his artistic family.
Experimenting with motion pictures and celluloid in his
studio, William Friese-Greene was in Bath in the 1870s developing some of the
first movie camera technology there. He is generally regarded as the inventor
The city has many public parks, the main one being Royal
Victoria Park. Opened by 11 year old Princess Victoria in 1830 it was the first
park to hold her name. The park is overlooked by the Royal Crescent and is 23
hectares in area. Other parks include: Parade Gardens, Henrietta Park, Alexandra
Park, Hedgemead Park, Alice Park and Sydney Park.
The University of Bath was established in 1966 and in 2011
the Sunday Times named it University of the Year. It is known academically for
the physical sciences, mathematics, architecture, management and technology.
Bath Spa University was first granted its degree-awarding powers in 1992 as a university
college, before being granted university status in August 2005.
Other interesting fact s about Bath include:
The Sally Lunn buns (a type of teacake) have long been baked
Bath City F.C. is the major football team and in 2010
achieved promotion to the Conference National from the Conference South.
The city boasts publishing and service-oriented industries
being home to companies such as Future Publishing and London & County
The Royal Crescent terrace built between 1767 and 1774 is Bath’s
most famous and was designed by John Wood.
Jane Austen lived in Bath from 1801 until 1806 with her