Băile Herculane

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Băile Herculane
Town
Coat of arms of Băile Herculane
Coat of arms
Location of Băile Herculane
Location of Băile Herculane
Coordinates: 44°52′43″N 22°24′51″E / 44.87861°N 22.41417°E / 44.87861; 22.41417Coordinates: 44°52′43″N 22°24′51″E / 44.87861°N 22.41417°E / 44.87861; 22.41417
Country  Romania
County Caraș-Severin County
Status Town
Government
 • Mayor Nicușor Vasilescu (PD-L)
Area
 • Total 105.48 km2 (40.73 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 5,008
 • Density 47.5/km2 (123/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Website Official site

Băile Herculane (Latin: Aqua Herculis; German: Herkulesbad; Hungarian: Herkulesfürdő; Czech: Herkulovy Lázně) is a town in Romanian Banat, in Caraş-Severin County, situated in the valley of the Cerna River, between the Mehedinţi Mountains to the east and the Cerna Mountains to the west, elevation 168 meters. Its current population is approximately 5,000. The town administers one village, Pecinișca (Hungarian: Pecsenyeska; from 1912 to 1918 Csernabesenyő).

History[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1956 1,656 —    
1966 2,456 +48.3%
1977 3,835 +56.1%
1992 6,340 +65.3%
2002 6,051 −4.6%
2011 5,008 −17.2%
Source: Census data

The spa town of Băile Herculane has a long history of human habitation. Numerous archaeological discoveries show that the area has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era. The Peștera Hoților (Cave of the Thieves), contains multiple levels, including one from the Mousterian period, one from the Mesolithic period (late Epigravettian) and several from the later Neolithic periods.

Legend has it that the weary Hercules stopped in the valley to bathe and rest. During the 165 years of Roman domination of Dacia, the Herculaneum Spa was known all over the Empire.[citation needed] Unearthed stone carvings show that visiting Roman aristocrats turned the town into a Roman leisure center. Six statues of Hercules from the time have been discovered. A bronze replica of one of them, molded in 1874, stands as a landmark in the town center.

The modern spa[edit]

In modern times, the spa town has been visited for its supposedly natural healing properties: hot springs with sulfur, chlorine, sodium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals, as well as negatively ionized air. Before World War II, when the first modern hotel was built (i.e. H Cerna, 1930) it remained a popular destination with Western Europeans. During the Communist rule, mass tourism facilities were built, such as the 8- to 12-storied concrete hotels Roman, Hercules A, Hercules B, Afrodita, Minerva, Diana, UGSR, etc. which dominate the skyline. It was visited by all kinds of people, but was especially popular with employees and retirees, who would spend their state-allotted vacation vouchers there, hoping to improve their health. Today, they share the town with a younger crowd. New privately owned pensions and hotels appeared after 1989, along the Cerna/Tiena river banks, spread from the train station to the end of the hydroelectrical dam. Some of the Austro-Hungarian era buildings are derelict for the time being, including many of the baths, because of post-communism property related issues.[citation needed]

Image gallery[edit]

External links[edit]