Bad Urach (German pronunciation: [uːrɑːx]) is a town in the district of Reutlingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated 14 km east of Reutlingen, at the foot of the Swabian Alb, and is known for its spa and therapeutic bath.
In the early Stone Age, the Swabian Alb was already populated, and several caves in the area show evidence that they provided shelter for the inhabitants.
During the Alemanni period Bad Urach was an important castle. Owing to its prime location on a hill overlooking the Erms Valley, Hohenurach Castle was built around 1025, and in the Middle Ages Bad Urach (at that time only known as Urach) became a centre of power. The castle became a state prison in the late Middle Ages; the poet Philipp Nikodemus Frischlin died while trying to escape over its walls in 1590. In the 18th century, the fortress was razed to the ground by the citizenry.
Around 1260 Urach became part of Württemberg. Nearly 100 years later, at the time when Württemberg was divided, the southern part of the region was governed from Urach, the so-called "secret capital", which was the residential home of the Dukes of Württemberg from 1442 until 1482. Count Eberhard the Bearded was born here in 1445 and returned there frequently throughout his life. Over the next several centuries, the town prospered and became a centre for weaving. It escaped serious damage during any wars and so remains in excellent historical condition.
Since 1985 the town has been a nationally recognized spa town.
Bad Urach possesses a late-medieval marketplace with a city hall and half-timbered houses that date from the 15th and 16th centuries.
The Residenzschloss (Castle Residence), the residential home of the Counts of Württemberg-Urach where Eberhard the Bearded was born, contains rooms that date from the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. The Goldener Saal (Golden Hall), one of Germany's loveliest Renaissance rooms, is particularly worth a visit.
The Church of Saint Amandus dates from 1477 and was built in the Gothic style for Eberhard the Bearded. His lavish praying desk dates from 1472. The pulpit is decorated with figures of the saints and church fathers and is considered an important piece of German stonemasonry. The 1518 baptismal font is by the sculptor Christoph von Urach.
Also of interest are the ruins of the old castle (Schloss Hohenurach) and the waterfall (Uracher Wasserfall) on the hiking trail up to it. The "round mountain" ("Runder Berg"), a former vulcano, is of archeological interest and shows an old Alemanni castle.
- Gottfried von Neifen (beginning of 13th-c.–ca. 1255), Minnesinger
- Eberhard the Bearded (1445–1496), first Duke of Württemberg
- Christoph (1515–1568), fourth Duke of Württemberg
- Daniel Hauff (1629–1665), legal advocate during the witch trials
- Max Friz (1883–1966), one of three men responsible for the founding of BMW
- Georg Joos (1894–1959), physicist
- Reinhard Breymayer (born 1944), philologist
- Günter Parche (born 1954), criminal
- Cem Özdemir (born 1965), politician with Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
- Ulrike C. Tscharre (born 1972), actor
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