Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 280,000 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens (mostly associated with the United States Army). Wiesbaden, together with the cities of Frankfurt am Main, Darmstadt and Mainz, is part of the Frankfurt Rhine Main Region, a metropolitan area with a combined population of about 5.8 million people.
Wiesbaden is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe. Its name translates to "meadow baths," making reference to the hot springs. At one time, Wiesbaden boasted 26 hot springs. Fourteen of the springs are still flowing today.
The capital of the province of Germania Superior, Mogontiacum (present-day Mainz), base of 2 (at times 3) Roman legions, was just over the Rhine and connected by a bridge at the present-day borough of Mainz-Kastel (Roman "castellum"), a strongly fortified bridgehead.
The Alamanni, a coalition of Germanic tribes from beyond the Limes, captured the fort c. 260. Later, in the 370s, when the Romans and Alamanni were allied, the Alemanni gained control of the Wiesbaden area and were in charge of its defense against other Germanic tribes.
In 1232 Wiesbaden became a reichsstadt, an imperial city, of the Holy Roman Empire. However, in 1242, during the war of Emperor Frederick II against the Pope, the Archbishop of Mainz, Siegfried III, ordered the city's destruction.
Wiesbaden returned to the control of the House of Nassau in 1270 under Count Walram II of Nassau-Weilburg. However, Wiesbaden and the castle at Sonnenberg were again destroyed in 1283 in conflict with Eppstein.
Walram's son and successor Adolf would later became King of Germany from 1292 until 1298. In 1329, under Adolf's son Gerlach I of Nassau-Weilburg the House of Nassau and thereby, Wiesbaden, received the right of coinage from Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Bavarian.
In 1929, an airport was constructed in Erbenheim on the site of a horse-racing track. In 1936, Fighter Squadron 53 of the Luftwaffe was stationed here.
During the war, Wiesbaden was largely spared by allied bombing raids. But between August 1940 and March 1945, Wiesbaden was attacked by allied bombers on 66 days. In the attacks, about 18% of the city's homes were destroyed and approximately 1,700 people lost their lives.
Wiesbaden was captured by U.S. Army forces on March 28, 1945. The U.S. 317th Infantry Regiment attacked in assault boats across the Rhine from Mainz while the 319th Infantry attacked across the Main River near Hochheim am Main. The attack started at 0100 and by early afternoon the two forces of the 80th U.S.Infantry Division had linked up with the loss of only three dead and three missing. The Americans captured 900 German soldiers and a warehouse full of 4,000 cases of champagne.
American armed forces have been present in Wiesbaden since World War II. The U.S. 1st Armored Division was headquartered at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield, just off the Autobahn toward Frankfurt, until the Division completed relocation to Fort Bliss, Texas in 2011. Wiesbaden is now home to the U.S. Army Europe Command and Battle Center. The Smaller supporting American kasernes and housing areas are scattered around the city. More Americans are moving in from bases scheduled to be closed such as Darmstadt and Heidelberg.
- St. Bonifatius is the central Catholic parish and church in the capital of Hesse. The present building was designed by architect Philipp Hoffmann in Gothic Revival style and built from 1844 to 1849. Twin steeples of 68 m dominate the Luisenplatz. The parish is part of the Diocese of Limburg. The first Catholic parish after the Reformation was founded in 1800. The congregation first met in a Bethaus (oratory) in the Marktstraße. It soon became too small for the growing number of Catholics in the town, which prospered as a spa and Residenz of Nassau. The parish received grounds adjacent to the Luisenplatz from the Duke of Nassau, and from 1829 to 1831 Friedrich Ludwig Schrumpf built a rigidly Neoclassical church, in keeping with the buildings around the square. Soon after the building was completed, it collapsed on 11 February 1831. A likely reason is insufficient foundation on ground which had previously been ponds. On 24 May 1843, the young Philipp Hoffmann received the commission to build a church. The foundation was laid on the day of the patron saint St. Bonifatius, on 5 June 1845. The interior was consecrated by the Bishop of Limburg Peter Josef Blum on 19 June 1849. In World War II the church suffered severe damage. An air raid on 2 February 1945 destroyed all the windows, the roof and part of the vault. The repair wasn't performed until 1949, replacing the vault by a simple construction.
- The Kurhaus ("cure house") is the spa house in Wiesbaden. It serves as the city's convention centre, and is the social center of the spa town with many events throughout the year. In addition to a large and a smaller hall, it houses a dining restaurant and the Wiesbaden Casino, or Spielbank, which is notable for allowing the "highest roulette stakes in Germany" (as of 2005), and where Fyodor Dostoyevsky was said to have received the inspiration for his novel, The Gambler.
- Marktkirche (English: Market Church) is the main Protestant church in Wiesbaden. The neo-Gothic church on the central Schloßplatz(English: Palace Square) was designed by Carl Boos and built between 1853 and 1862. At the time it was the largest brick building of the Duchy of Nassau. It is also called Nassauer Landesdom (Cathedral of Nassau).
- Museum Wiesbaden is a museum in the Hessian capital Wiesbaden. Besides the museums in Kassel and Darmstadt, it is one of the three Hessian state museums. The museum comprises an art collection, a natural history collection and a collection of Nassauian antiquities.
- The Wiesbaden Stadtschloss (Wiesbaden City Palace) is a neo-classical building in the center of Wiesbaden. It was completed in 1841 as the principal city residence of the Dukes of Nassau. The palace has several wings, 145 rooms, and is architecturally integrated with a group of ancillary buildings constructed both before and after it was built. With ornate towers, gables and a slate roof laid in herringbone patterns, the three-story complex lends charm and its name to the central square of Wiesbaden: Palace Square. The Palace has had a turbulent history. After withstanding the Revolutions of 1848 and annexation by Prussia in 1866, it has served variously as a second home of the German Emperors, a gathering place for soldiers and workers during the German Revolution of 1918–1919, a museum, and a military headquarters for both the Wehrmacht and Allied occupation forces. Damaged during World War II, the Palace has since been restored and portions modernized. Since 1946 it has been the seat of the State Parliament of Hesse . A new Parliamentary Chamber was added to the complex in 2008.