The English city of Bath was once the Roman town Aquae Sulis (‘Waters of Sul’). It was established c. 100 when the Romans began building a baths and temple complex on three hot mineral springs. The complex was dedicated to Sulis (Celtic goddess of springs) and Minerva (Roman goddess of springs). The springs, once a Celtic sacred site, had a high iron content and were believed to be healing. The baths were constructed in several stages, with the steaming hot (114.8˚ F/ 46˚ C) 5-ft (1.6-m) deep Great Bath, covered by a high domed roof, at its centre. The Romans bathed, ate and socialized here – perhaps while sitting on stone benches. There were several smaller bathing pools, and bathing rooms heated by hypocaust (below-floor heating). There was also a cold, circular plunge pool, and a ‘Sacred Pool’ in the temple courtyard, used for votive offerings.
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