Băile Herculane – Romania’s ruined spa jewel

My first memory in the Herculane Baths (Băile Herculane) is on the terrace of the Roman Hotel. Here I was part of the public present for a famous Romanian Television show called The 5 o’clock tea. Weird for me being there but I was there with my parents visiting Herculane and we just found out that the show was shooting there. I remember being fascinated by all the cameras, lights and microphones.

Roman Hotel was a gigantic concrete structure for me back then. I must have thought of it as the biggest building on the planet :)). That’s how small I considered myself to be compared to it. I liked Cerna river which arrows through the full length of Herculane. I remember people taking baths in the thermal pools along Cerna’s banks.

Roman Hotel
terrace of the Roman Hotel
view over the Cerna river from Roman Hotel

Since then I’ve been to Herculane a couple of times and started looking at it through an adult’s eyes. I noticed the breathtaking beauty of the buildings. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful ones in the country. I keep thinking of something: it’s one thing to build a beautiful building and another thing to put in the right landscape. The landscapes completes a beautiful building and here, in Herculane, you will find this perfect communion.

Apollo Hotel
statue of Hercules in Hercules Plaza

Today is the day I write the first protest-post on this travel blog. We should only tell you about the amazing places that we visit in Romania, and there are a lot, believe us but there are places of astonishing beauty with huge potential that have been forgotten. Herculane baths is one such place and I dare say that this resort is one of the most beautiful in Europe!

Every time I come to Herculane I can’t stop wondering how the Casino, the Neptune Baths (Imperial Baths), the arbours, the Hercules Plaza or the Apollo Hotel would look if restored. This buildings, in Baroque wiener style, are of a rare beauty that cannot leave you untouched when you see them. Herculane Baths even have a unique Baroque-style train station!

The Casino
The Casino

I’m writing this protest-post because I know the potential of this resort and I know that it and its inhabitants deserve much more. You need to know that Herculane was the most prestigious and most luxuries on the continent back in the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Franz Iosef and Elisabeth (Sissi) used to come here for treatment and relaxing and was their favourite spa resort in Europe!

Neptune Baths
Neptune Baths

However they were not the first to discover this amazing place whits sits in the Cerna Valley in between Mehedinți and Cernei Mountains. The Romans were the first to discover the thermal water resources here in 102 ac. They built the famous roman baths which you can still use after almost 2000 years! You can find them and relax in them in the Roman Hotel.

Roman baths in the Roman Hotel
arched bridge over the Cerna river
arched bridge over the Cerna river

I think it’s about time for tourists not to risk their lives crossing the beautiful arched bridge towards the Neptune Baths or by walls falling off these beautiful buildings. The Neptune Baths, which is the most beautiful building in Herculane, is crumbling down. It’s in a very bad shape and I think it can’t take it much longer. Then there are tunnels, underground and at ground level, that make sure that when you are over bathing you get to your hotel using these tunnels so that you don’t get cold. All these smart structures are there and they just need some attention!

the Neptune Baths in ruin

 

the Neptune Baths in ruin
the Neptune Baths in ruin
pool with thermal waters under the street level with a direct link to the hotel on the other side of the street

We want you to visit Herculane Baths, we want you to see these amazing Baroque – style buildings which sit here in the Cerna Valley at the bottom of impressive rocky mountains. Nature has been very kind to Herculane and you can enjoy many trails in these mountains with luxurious plants and trees (due to the Mediterranean – like climate). Herculane is the place where you can heal both your body, but also your soul. A nice mix! 🙂

walking on the banks of the Cerna river
walking on the banks of the Cerna river

Charlie Ottley is the host of the Wild Carpathia trilogy on the Travel Channel and episode 2 starts with the beautiful Herculane Baths and the imminent disaster that could happen here. You can watch the episode below:


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