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Badewesen - Elisabethhalle Badewesen

Entstehung der Bäderkultur in Aachen

Die europäische Bäderkultur hat ihren Ursprung in der Antike. Bereits im 4. Jahrhundert gab es in griechischen Städten Bäder. In Rom existierten zur selben Zeit elf große Thermenanlagen und ca. 900 öffentliche Bäder. Das römische Badewesen breitete sich zunehmend im europäischen Raum aus. In Deutschland wurden bei Ausgrabungen römische Bäder vor allem in den Städten Aachen und Trier sowie Baden-Baden und Wiesbaden gefunden.

Im Mittelalter wurde die Heilkraft von Mineralquellen zur innerlichen und äußerlichen Anwendung entdeckt. So gehören die Aachener Schwefelquellen zu den ältesten deutschen Heilbädern überhaupt.

Treppen zu den oberen Umkleiden

In der Neuzeit besann man sich zurück auf die Heilkraft des kalten Wassers, das zur Entstehung von Duschbädern führte, die ausgiebig vom bekannten Aachener Badearzt François Blondel beschrieben und verordnet wurden.

Das Baden hatte neben seiner gesundheitlichen Wirkungen auch eine gesellschaftliche Funktion und war insbesondere im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert zu einer neuen "Mode" geworden. Nicht nur der Kurgäste wegen, sondern auch um der gestiegenen Bevölkerungszahl in Aachen Rechnung zu tragen wurden immer mehr Bäder errichtet.

So kam es, dass im Jahre 1908 mit den Bauarbeiten der Elisabeth Halle begonnen wurde, die am 15.07.1911 eröffnet wurde.

Es erfolgte die Bekanntgabe auf der Titelseite von „Das Politische Tagblatt“ am 16. Juli 1911 mit dem Titel „Eröffnung der Schwimm- und Badehalle“. Im Artikel wurde dann die Ansprache des damaligen Oberbürgermeister Veltmann wiedergegeben, der schildert, dass die Notwendigkeit dieser neuen Badeanstalt hauptsächlich mit gesundheitlichen Aspekten begründet wurde. Interessanterweise war offenbar damals schon hinlänglich bekannt, was auch heute noch Thema ist: Der Zusammenhang zwischen ausreichend Bewegung und körperlicher wie seelischer Gesundheit durch „körperliche Übungen bei Spiel und Sport“. All das sollte nicht erst zu Heilzwecken, sondern zur Vorbeugung von Krankheiten und bereits im Jugendalter begonnen und gefördert werden.

Nicht zuletzt deshalb wurde also der Standort der Elisabeth Halle zentral und gut erreichbar nahe dem Elisenbrunnen gewählt. Weiter sollte das Bad „nicht nur zweckmäßig, sondern auch schön sein“. Am treffendsten ist vielleicht folgendes Zitat des Oberbürgermeisters: „Möge sie der Aachener Bürgerschaft eine Stätte sein, in der man gern verweilt und die man immer wieder gern aufsucht, um Erquickung und Abhärtung des Körpers zu erreichen!“

So ist die Elisabeth Halle eines von wenigen noch verbliebenen Jugendstilbädern der wilhelminischen Zeit, als das Baden auch die unteren Bürgerschichten erreichte.

Mit der Parole: "Jedem Deutschen wöchentlich ein Bad" wurde auch der Beginn des Schwimmunterrichts an Schulen eingeläutet.