Bad Dürkheim is a spa town in the Rhine-Neckar urban agglomeration in the Palatinate. Bad Dürkheim lies at the edge of Palatinate Forest on the German Wine Route.
Its population in 2018 was about 18,000 people. From west to east through the town flows the river Isenach.
Bad Dürkheim's main industry is winegrowing. With 855 ha (3.3 square miles) of vineyards under cultivation, the town is the Palatinate’s third biggest winegrowing centre.
Between 1200 and 500 BC, the area around the eastern end of the Isenach valley was settled by Celts, who also built the Heidenmauer ("Heathen Wall"), a Celtic ring wall.
The earliest documented appearance of the name of the town is in the Lorsch codex of 778, as Turnesheim. About 1025, building work on Limburg Abbey, today preserved only as ruins, was begun.
In 1689, the town was almost completely destroyed when French troops in the Nine Years' War (or War of the Palatine Succession) carried out a scorched earth campaign in the Electorate of the Palatinate. After the Napoleonic Wars, it ended up along with the rest of the Electorate of the Palatinate's territory on the Rhine's left bank in the Kingdom of Bavaria.
For its seven mineral springs, Dürkheim was given the epithet Solbad ("brine bath"), and in 1904 it was given leave to change its name to Bad Dürkheim (Bad is German for "bath", and a place may only bear this epithet on state recognition of its status as a spa town).
After 1933 the number of Jews in Bad Dürkheim fell drastically, from 184 to only 40 in 1938, due to the economic boycott, constantly increasing repression and dehumanization. During the Night of Broken Glass in 1938, the synagogue was plundered. The 19 Jews still surviving here in 1940 were deported to the Gurs concentration camp in October of that year. On 18 March 1945, Bad Dürkheim was badly hit by an Allied air raid in which more than 300 people lost their lives.
Bad Dürkheim is about 30 km east of Kaiserslautern and just under 20 km west of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim. Roughly 15 km to the south lies Neustadt an der Weinstraße. In Bad Dürkheim, Bundesstraßen 37 and 271 cross each other.
The Rhein-Haardtbahn (a narrow-gauge tramway), which now runs as “Line 4”, runs through Maxdorf and links Bad Dürkheim with Ludwigshafen and Mannheim.
- 1 [formerly dead link] Limburg Monastery (Kloster Limburg). At the edge of the Palatinate Forest lie the once thriving Limburg Abbey’s ruins. In the 9th century, the Salian Dukes from Worms built a fortress on the Linthberg as their family seat. In the early 11th century, the fortress was converted into a monastery with a basilica. It existed until the mid-16th century.
- 2 Schloss Hardenburg. Ruins of castle. Beginning in the 13th century, the castle was the seat of the Counts of Leiningen, but was built in its current shape only in the 16th century. It was destroyed once and for all in the late 18th century.
- Saint Louis's Catholic Parish Church (Ludwigskirche). Built in 1828 and 1829 in the Classicist style. The plans were inspired by a master builder from Baden named Weinbrenner. The building work was backed and financially supported by King Ludwig I of Bavaria (Bad Dürkheim was part of Bavaria's Palatine exclave at the time).
- The Protestant Castle Church (Schlosskirche). Built in the late 13th century. Its tower, with a height of 70 m, is the Further (or “Anterior”, that is, East) Palatinate's third tallest churchtower.
- The Castle Church (Burgkirche). Built in the 18th century, destroyed in 1945 and thereafter built once again. Today it serves as a Protestant community centre. In its tower hangs a 317 kg bell poured in 1758. It underwent improvements in 2006 and is rung by a hand-drawn rope. It is rung each year at 14:00 on 18 March in memory of the air raid on Bad Dürkheim in 1945, and also at 17:00 on the first Saturday in Advent, together with the other bells in the inner town, to usher in the new liturgical year.
- The Heidenmauer (Heathen Wall). The remnants of a great Celtic settlement with a 2.5-km-long ringwall, which was built about 500 BC.
- Dürkheimer Riesenfass (Giant Barrel) (on the western edge of the Wurstmarkt grounds). The world's biggest barrel. It houses a restaurant.
- Riesenroulette (Giant Roulette Wheel). Every year in August, the wheel is set up in the spa park as part of the Kurparkgala. It uses a ball the size of a football.
- Wurstmarkt: 11–21 September 2020. Its name literally means “sausage market”, although it is in fact the world's biggest wine festival, drawing more than 600,000 visitors each year. (date needs updating)
- Stadtgeläute (the Town Bellringing). Once a year at 17:00 on the first Saturday in Advent, it is performed by ringers at the town's three churches, the Burgkirche, the Schlosskirche and the Ludwigskirche.