The spa town of Bad Gandersheim is nestled in the foothills of the Harz close to Osterode. It is a small and charming town with a rich history. Bad Gandersheim status as a spa town was awarded officially in 1932. The mineral springs were discovered as early as 1240. The town dates back to 852 when Ludolf, duke of Saxony established a convent nearby. The convent was meant for the daughters of the aristocracy to gain a high Christian education. It was the first of its kind in Germany and for several centuries the abbesses of the convent were always close relatives to the royal families.
One of the well known canonises was a lady known as Roswitha. She lived in the 10th century and wrote an account of life in the convent as well as producing 8 legends, 6 dramas and 2 epics. She presented her work personally to Emperor Otto the Great. There are no known pictures of her and as such modern artist have to guess her appearance. In the town you can see the Roswitha window in the church, as well as the Roswitha fountain, which was built in 1978 by the sculptor Siegfried Zimmermann. She became known as Germany's first women poet.
The best place to start to explore this town is by the Collegiate Church (Cathedral), with its massive twin tower facade, which dominates the skyline. This is used in the summer evenings as a backdrop for open air performances. Just opposite the church, is the former town hall which is now a museum. The museum is free and the former watch tower gives a view across the region and the cathedral. As you walk up to the tower you will see the former church bell. This is used just once a year in November to call the people to the autumn fair.
Other places of interest to see is the former abbey with its impressive, richly painted vaulted ceiling. The Bracken, one of the oldest timber framed housed in lower Saxony dating from 1473, with its wooden carvings is just one of the many timber framed buildings you will see. Just outside the town is the Monastery Brunshausen, the birthplace of Bad Gandersheim, which has an excellent museum. The 14 surrounding villages around Bad Gandersheim make an excellent day out. Visitors are welcome to the local fetes, fairs, antique shows, horse shows and village dances.