A jewel in Oppenau, Black Forest

Bad Antogast

Journey from a renowned Spa-Bath to an internationally famous Yoga centre 760 years.

 

Much prior to the medieval ages, Bad Antogast was an international notable place for people of many cultures visiting from all over the world. The origin of “Bad Antogast” could perhaps be linked with the Saint Arbogast from Straßburg, only 35 km to the West. Bad Antogast has been always a place that kept raising the bar of hospitality provided to its guests and visitors, being of an august diversity.

Discovery

In the beginning there was water – the healing water. Bad Antogast is home to the oldest of the five Kniebis-baths. More than 760 years ago, the Antonius spring in Bad Antogast was discovered in the mid-1250s. By virtue of the healing properties of the water, a chapel was built in the early 1300s by a hermit, who dedicated the same to the holy Antonius. Antonius is known as the patron-saint for hospitals, and also believed to have cured incurable diseases.

 

The healing spring water facilitated the convalescence of many ill persons, who had stumbled upon a restaurant that was running at that time in the Bad Antogast hostel. The water was mixed with carbonic acid and that is why it has a fizz. The first mention of Bad Antogast can be traced back to Konrad von Schauenberg, which reported the yearly visits of his wife to Bad Antogast for purchasing “18 Schilling, 3 harvest chickens, 30 eggs and 2 quarters of Haber”. Bad Antogast started to witness an increase in the number of visitors because deep in the northern part of Black Forest there were always more visitors, who incinerated the healing water or took a bath to accelerate their convalescence in more favourable manner. In 1581, a second acidulous mineral water spring is mentioned and “which was provided with a wheel that drives the pumps”.

 

Bad Antogast lived through its first phase of blossoming and became more well-known with time. The healing water of Antonius spring helped not only people suffering from heart problems, circulation and blood supply, inflammation of liver, stomach, bile, and intestine and discharging urinary tracts to recover, but those having kidney stones and the likes.

 

The healing water contains a lot of carbonic acid, sodium bicarbonate, calcium. Even today, the Antonius spring has the same healing properties as in the archaic times. However, the water is not sold anymore but is rather still being consumed by the visitors and guests of Bad Antogast.

The Rise to Prominence

The bathing activity at Bad Antogast has constantly seen boom and slack periods; the particularly boom period happened in the 19 th century, when it was increasingly sought by Czars, Princes, Generals and bankers as a holiday destination and also for therapeutic treatments.

 

In 1871, the Russian Czar Alexander II, took baths in Bad Antogast, and is believed to have had cocoa from his own silver cups in the dining room. The distinguished ladies from the distinguished families in Strassburg and Elsass also came regularly throughout the year. In their marriage contracts, those ladies included clauses about frequent “Spa Journeys” to Bad Antogast and enjoyed their stay in the so-called “Ladies Room” of Bad Antogast. There is also mention about the stay of Countess Anna and Prince Wilhelm from Baden. As such, Bad Antogast earned its prestige as a popular holiday destination for the international upper class society. In the year 1605, Bad Antogast became known as one of the best spas worldwide, issued by the landlords of the organization of spas, mostly known to the people in upper class society.

 

The sale of water in pitchers began between the 18 th and 19 th centuries respectively, using horse carriages. In the early 1800s, Bad Antogast was at the peak of healing water sale in Baden-Württemberg.

 

In 1853, 590 guests from 9 countries came to Bad Antogast. In 1907, the spa was rebuilt and a new building was erected. The dining hall catered for 300 persons, the spa room was renovated and embellished. The three springs delivered approximately 2500 liters of water daily, 8 degrees warm or cold. The demands and expectations in the bathing activity were at the highest level, suiting the upper class society. With the emergence of technology, at that time, there was also a post-telephone and telegraph station.

The World War I and World War II

Shortly before the outbreak of the WWI, Bad Antogast was temporarily closed. The owners changed constantly afterward, till AOK Mannheim Country Insurance Baden became the new owner.

 

In April 1945, the French troops had occupied Bad Antogast. When the WWII, accommodation had to be found for the people expelled from the eastern zones and so Bad Antogast became an emergency accommodation for 200 refugees. After the popular uprising in Budapest/ Hungary, Bad Antogast accepted 450 refugees.

Post Wars Eras

In the year 1964, Dr med. Herbert Kienle from Bad Wildungen bought, renovated and developed Bad Antogast. A spa hotel was equipped with meeting rooms, a spa house and a hospital.

 

The Spa activity started again in 1965 – for treatment of the whole body. As in the earlier days, Bad Antogast redeemed the magical and traditional attraction once again, restoring its previous glory. Wealthy patients seeking a spa cure and hotel visitors from upper strata of society came to Bad Antogast.

 

This chapter, however, ended in the 1980s. New owners kept changing over and over again. For seven years till 1995, Bad Antogast remained empty, open, uninhabited. It had turned into a gloomy ruin.

A New Horizon

On 13 th October 1995, Art of Living (AOL) Germany signed the new purchase contract from the city of Oppenau. Because of the bad condition of the building then, the AOL team struggled to find investors willing to help in the renovation and restructuring of the entire area, owing to huge amounts of funds. The only way that the work could be done was by the personal and direct involvement of the AOL volunteers themselves into the renovation.

 

The big renovation work started around Christmas of 1995 and at the beginning of January 1996 Sri Sri announced that the first Advanced Course should take place over Easter 1996. It was an absolutely unrealisable task but in the lexicon of Art of Living the word ‘impossible’ does not exist.

 

The volunteers, mostly from the Eastern European countries pulled in days and nights to carry out all the work: transportation of rubbish for months altogether, manual installation of the new heating system, innumerable repairs over the place. Outsiders might never be able to understand the effort and hard work of the volunteers, who did not possess any craftsmanship knowledge and experience.

 

Today Bad Antogast is once again an abode for silence and nature – for the joy of life, health and life force, in all its glory and pride. It is a place for meeting of people of all cultures from the entire world. One World family.

Bad Antogast is a jewel in Oppenau, Black Forest, for Art of Living worldwide