The best way to describe the history of Bodenmais in one sentence is: "From a mining city to a health resort".
The Bavarian Forest among the biggest connected woody mountains of Germany was mentioned in the history books very early. At first the area was cleared by monks then by some settlers who settled down in that "primeval forest". The first documentary report about Bodenmais can be found in the land register of Bavarian dukes around 1300 in which is stated "Item das Goldwerch ze Pabenmaiz".
In the middle of the 15th century people dug for silver in the cavities of Bodenmais, called "the Almighty's offering". Around 1485 Bodenmais got special privileges by the Bavarian duke Albrecht. With the great letter of independence in 1522 the town became an entirely courted mountain city.
After the mining of precious metal declined, the mine changed the production to vitriol in 1542 which was used for dying cloths by then. In 1580 all rights of the liberal mining city expired because of the appointment as "Hofmark"
From 1760 the winning of vitriol slowed down. A new technique to produce Potee which is used to cut glasses and polish mirrors brought the greatest period of prosperity in the years 1870 to 1914. The Potee of Bodenmais was shipped all over the world. Due to new manufacturing techniques the competitiveness could soon not be granted. After all, the mine had to shut down in 1962.
Since then the Silberberg mine has been open for all interested visitors as a showmine. In 1998 six former miners bought the mine with the associated properties and from that time on, they have been carrying on the "Historical Showmine in the Silberberg" which is well known way above the borders of Bodenmais and well frequented as a tourist attraction.
Since mining is also connected with churchly traditions - the patroness of miners is Saint Barbara - miners always had to visit churchly processions and festivals.
The church of Bodenmais was built in 1804/05 in the center of the Marktplatz, so that it stands in the direction to the Silberberg. In 1955/56 an octagon was added to the church. The altar is adorned by a copy of the miraculous image of Loreto (a present of the elector) which was already brought in a ceremonial procession to Bodenmais on 16 June 1705 (Saint's day of Saint Benno). In memoriam every year a procession where the miraculous image is carried through the town takes place and a big festival is held.
After the settlement of glass factories in the area since the 15th century, Bodenmais has become within 30 years after 1945 glass processing center and offers the biggest lead crystal selection in Germany today.
At first the glass factories were used as monastery huts and town huts in the forests around the towns and monasteries. When the forest was cut down, the glass factories were mislaid in the existent primeval forest. That wilderness was cleared and conquered by gaffers about 600 years ago. The glass factories need the forest because of three reasons:
- wood for heating the melting furnace
- woods for producing potash - you get 2,19 kg potash from 1 t beech wood
- quartz which was found in the Mountains of Bavarian Forest and was stooped in stone pits as main resource for producing glass.
Glass is the oldest, artificial produced material, an invention of human beings. The artist sees in the material glass a compound which can be dyed and formed as he likes. Giving fancy fully scope. Gaffers get multifaceted possibilities in producing glass. In the end, visitors see an artwork which fascinates again and again anew. It is something special when soil, sand, soda and lime are melted in the glowing heat of the fire at about 1500 degrees Celsius to a glowing, liquid compound which is converted still glowing. Hardened and cooled down transparent shapes are in front of us, like glass goblets, colored bowls, fancy custom made products or cups.
Glass factories could be found from Passau to the Upper Palatinate, therefore one can talk about a "Glass Land" respectively of a "Street out of Glass". In Bodenmais the glass factories of the "crystal world" talk about the cultural stories of glass.
Since no industry settled down in Bodenmais, except the glass production, because of the bad infrastructure in those days, tourism was discovered as a possibility of business. The origin of tourism goes back to the year 1883, when the Bayerische Waldverein was founded in Bodenmais. After the Second World War, tourism was expanded and Bodenmais became one of the most famous and most visited health resorts in the Bavarian Forest.
In 1945, Bodenmais was declared as climatic health resort and in 1958 it became a market town. In 1962, a heated outdoor pool was built, in 1967 the Kurhaus was expanded and in 1972 the indoor pool was put into operation. In 1989 the construction of the new city hall was done with a tourist information center, basement garage and spa gardens.
Bodenmais got for all its efforts as a crowned ending the title "Heilklimatischer Kurort" (climatic health resort).
Bodenmais has become the biggest tourism city in the Bavarian Forest due to its healthy, woody low mountain range climate. People with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases have always traveled in this area for recovery. The gentle climate in the valley, the stimulating climate in the heights, the purity in the air through the afforestation and the comforting influence of the woods have always been beneficial for recovery. A further healing effect was discovered by chance.
There have been guided tours in the closed Silberberg mine for years. Locals as well as guests who suffered from respiratory diseases found out that after visiting the mine their medical condition got considerably better.
Back then physicians interpreted the signs rightly and in cooperation with local authorities and the mine operators a concept was created. The term "Radon Gallery Therapy of Bodenmais" (Underground mining - climate- cure) found many loyal supporters beyond the borders of Bavaria. Recurrent, satisfied guests who don't feel like patients but spend their holiday in Bodenmais to take part in a radon gallery therapy speak for themselves.
The climate of Bodenmais can also be used for a "climate cure". Doing a climate cure means that on the one hand the patient deals with the respective weather and on the other hand with the topography of the landscape. The basic principles of the climate therapy is based on a) protection and relief of the strain and b) adjustment of natural environmental factors like air purity, altitude differences, sun, light as well as coldness and wind.
Bodenmais offers so many different variations of recreation possiblities: from a healthy holiday to an active and adventure holiday up to a "wellness holiday". Every guest gets what he desires.
The market town Bodenmais has always made the greatest effort to create an adequate ambiance. It also tried to obtain the origin of the region and its people.
Since 1994 our winter athletes, especially cross-country skiers, have been using a house for warming up, waxing, changing etc. at the Bretterschachten which is well-known beyond the borders of Germany. It can be reached comfortably and favorably with the ski bus.
In the summer of 1995 the Kurparkbad (outdoor swimming pool) was opened. From 1993 to 1998 the center of Bodenmais was reconstructed and a traffic calming area was created.
In 1997 Bodenmais even received the project price for tourism and environment in the national competition environmental friendly tourist resort.
Also in 1997 former chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl opened the Street of Glass to which Bodenmais is connected.
Providing more mobility Bodenmais launched a "Ortslinie" (bus line)in 1998 which is used a lot and Bodenmais is not imaginable without it.
From 1999 to 2001 the "Alte Rathaus"(Ancient City Hall) at the Bergknappenstrasse was reconstructed. The library and some exhibition rooms can be found there now. The rooms of the facility are used for smaller events and as seminar rooms.
From 2002 to 2004 the whole water supply system and the sewage disposal was upgraded with the newest engineering.
When you have visited Bodenmais you will be surprised what the health resort beneath the Silberberg, at the south side of the Grosse Arber offers. Bodenmais and its friendly residents expect you!
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