Rising steam

Photo essay: The Roman Baths

by shahireh sharif
[The factual information used for writing this article is extracted from the details presented by the site’s official tour guides]

To get a taste of the ancient history and people’s day-to-day lives, a good place to visit is the Roman Baths in Bath, UK.

The site is built around the only hot springs in the UK, which are claimed to be among the “finest spas of the ancient world”. They supply “more than a million litters of naturally hot water daily”.  The hot (about 46 degrees) spring water pours into the lead-based, outdoor pool in the heart of the attraction. The iron reached, chemically untreated water in the pool appears green (due to the algae).

The steam rising up from the surface of the emerald water gives a distinctive mystical appearance to the place. Romans made the stone pavements around the pool over 2000 years ago. Victorians renovated the site and rebuilt the columns surrounding the pool and the statues that look over the pool.

In this site the reins of the temple of Minerva (goddess of the thermal spring), old carvings on the stones and some Romans’ everyday objects (such as combs and pieces of jewellery) can be seen. One of my favourite new additions is the projection of ghostly figures that appear to be bathing in the pool. The auditory stimulation provided by addition of vague voices impersonating bathers having conversations among themselves is particularly fascinating.

I enjoyed visiting the place very much. It reminded me of some of the old fables that were based around events happening in Persian baths. Unfortunately I have no pictures related to Persian baths, but included here a link to some pictures taken by Horizon.

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by shahireh sharif on

Ashe Doogh & Sarein, here I come :)

Thanks, it sounds wonderful. I hope one day I get to see Sarein.

mer30 az rahnamayetoon




by choghok on

I visited Sarein 2 motnhs a go and it is a must.. if you want to feel how a 70 degrees celsius feels like and then to go and taste Ashe Doogh.

/Bidar bash ke ma bekhabim

shahireh sharif


by shahireh sharif on

pristine [thanks for the comment. As you pointed out "the water is not too clean".  Drinking or even touching the water is not permitted]

John [Thank you for the information, in particular the alleged relationship between baldness and the frequent use of the lead-based pools was fascinating.]




by John on

When I visited Bath many years ago there were signs posted warning visitors not to touch the water because it wasn't save, and especially not to put any of it near one's mouth.

If I'm not mistaken, the walls of the baths are lined with lead, so you can imagine the toxicity of the water.  In fact, it has long been postulated that the frequent use of public baths with lead-lined walls contributed to the typical bald Roman pate, and perhaps even to the decline and fall of the empire, due to the effect of the lead on the brains of the bathers.


The structure and art looks

by pristine (not verified) on

The structure and art looks nice, but that water doesn't look too clean. I probably be very skirmish if I went into a water like that.

As always, thanks for sharing your experience, and happy new year.