THE HEALING HOT SPRINGS
Built in 1975, the Roman Hotel is right on the old Roman baths’location that was reopened on November 19, 1999.
The Roman Imperial Baths are on the ground floor of the hotel and they are always waiting its guests with thermal baths, sweat tea, body massage and wrapping in sheets and blankets for sweating and with a restful 15 minute sleep, all carried out in a setting that suggests the golden days of the Empire Roman, a frame in which the Hercules Spring Aqueduct is distinguished , as well as the bas-relief, showing the mythical hero with a cup of thermo mineral water in his hand, luring us to drink from it.
Having a real worship for thermal baths, the Romans realized the healing power of the thermal waters of the Cerna Valley and laid the foundations of a resort since the time of Emperor Trajan, the triumphant of the great King Decebal and the conqueror of Dacia at the beginning of the second century (105-106 AD). Some of the Ad Mediam Bath researchers consider Trajan to be the founder of the resort, this opinion being justified by the large number of Roman coins discovered in the area, bearing the image of this emperor.
According to the traditions of the time, the healing thermal waters discovered by the Romans on the Cerna Valley – in Latin Tierna, were dedicated to their god Hercules, and the baths were named “Thermae Herculi / Hercules’s Baths”, a name preserved until today.
As shown in the work “Herculane – The Arch across the ages”: “The Romans spent most of their free time in these quarters, recovering their strength and health after the long and demanding military campaigns … […] they had no other physician but the baths whose purpose was to heal the sick who worshiped the Esculap god, to strengthen the sufferers who worshiped Hercules, and to keep in shape the healthy ones who worshiped Hygeia.” [Bălteanu D, 2011].
Arriving in the picturesque valley of Cerna and lured by the healing thermal waters, the mild climate, the fresh air and the feral silence of the places, the Romans found here the ideal place for relaxation and recovery. Among those who visited Ad Mediam was the Roman Emperor of the Severus Dynasty, Marcus Aurelius Antonius, known as Caracalla, who in 214 AD took a trip with his mother, Iulia, along the Danube to the Roman fortresses.
The flourishing Roman period of the resort lasted for more than 160 years (107-267 AD), and Herculane’s Baths preserved many elements of evidence from that time
Although most of the vestiges discovered by archaeologists sank into the Danube’s waters, in the right side of the Pesta Chain Bridge in 1755 while they were sent to the Vienna History Museum, the resort has preserved, however, famous testimonies over the centuries about the healing power of Hercules’ sanctified waters: wall fragments on the road leading to the Roman Imperial Baths, 23 monumental inscriptions carved in marble or limestone, known as votive tabulae, the bas-relief cut into the rock at the ” Hercules’s Bath “, the attestation altar of the resort, sculptured and deposited by the five Dacian citizens in 153 AD, stamped bricks, aqueduct ceramic tiles, Dacian and Roman coins, and Latin inscriptions such as Ad Aquas Herculi Sacras ad Mediam or Thermae Herculi and other votive inscriptions used by the sick people coming from different parts of the Roman Empire (Gallia, Asia Minor and North of Africa) to thank the gods for healing them by the thermal waters of the resort.
From the Roman Hotel the tour of the resort continues on the new “Roman Street” of the baths leading to the historical centre of the resort. On the left you can see “Godeanu’s perky daughter”, as they metaphorically call the Cerna River. It slips when tumultuously among the rocks and boulders, when tranquilly in the deep and dark portions, reflecting in its waters the Domogled, the mountain that rises majestically beyond the river.
Only 30 m away from the hotel you can see the drained fountain of the two thermal springs, Hercules II and Hygeia, from the second Hercules group, on the frontispiece of which you can read: “AD AQUAS HERCULI SACRAS“. Nearby you can find also the vestiges of a Roman aqueduct at the third dried stream: Despicatura. The resistance over time of the aqueduct is given by the use of a mortar with a special hardness, whose recipe, like in the case of the foot of the Apollodor’s Bridge from Damascus, at Drobeta Turnu-Severin, is still unknown.
Then, the Roman street winds tightly between Cerna and the stone wall for the consolidation of the slope and, after 300 m, it reaches a compound whose architecture is of an original beauty, the “Outlaws Cave “, offering some programmes that invite to night-time temptations.
Leaving the temptation behind, after 0.5 km you reach the Hercules Square. This peerless square enchants the eye from any angle you look at it. In the middle of the square you can see the statue of Hercules – the symbol of Herculane Baths resort.