The celebrity of Baden dates back to the days of the Romans, who knew it by the name of Aquae Cetiae or Thermae Pannonicae. Some ruins are still visible. The settlement was mentioned as Padun in a deed from AD 869. The nearby abbey of Heiligenkreuz's Romanesque church was constructed in the 11th century; it subsequently served as the burial place for members of the Babenberg family. The castle Rauheneck was constructed on the right bank of the river at the entrance to the valley in the 12th century; the castle Rauhenstein was built on the opposite bank at the same time. The town received its legal privileges in 1480. Although repeatedly sacked by Hungarians and Turks, it soon flourished again each time.
A map of Baden in 1901
The town was largely destroyed by a fire in 1812 but was excellently rebuilt in a Biedermeier style according to plans by architect Joseph Kornhäusel, it is therefore sometimes referred to as the "Biedermeierstadt". Archduke Charles, the victor of Aspern, constructed the Château Weilburg at the foot of Rauheneck between 1820 and 1825. In the 19th century, it was connected to the railway running between Vienna and Graz, which led to thousands of Viennese visiting each year to take the waters, including members of the imperial family, who constructed extensive villas nearby. The town boasted a theater, military hospital, and casino. The composer Ludwig van Beethoven stayed a number of times in Baden and his residences still form local tourist spots. The location at Rathausgasse 10 now forms a museum open to the public.[n 1]Mayerling, a hunting lodge about 4 mi (6.4 km) up the valley, was the site of Crown Prince Rudolf's murder-suicide in 1889. Its primary export in the 19th century were steelrazors, which were reckoned of excellent quality.
The City Theater (Stadttheater)
The 1934 casino
The City Theater (Stadttheater) was built in 1909 by Ferdinand Fellner. By the time of the First World War, Baden was Vienna's principal resort: 20 000 came each year, double the town's local population. In addition to a modern "Curehouse" (Kurhaus), there were 15 separate bathing establishments and several parks. During the war, Baden served as a temporary seat of the Austro-Hungarian high command. A new casino in 1934 made the town the premier resort throughout Austria. The Château Weilburg was destroyed during World War II. After World War II, Baden served as the headquarters of Soviet forces within occupied Austria until 1955.