Architectural gem on the river Lahn
The Marble Hall is one of the architectural highlights in the historic spa district of Bad Ems, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2021. Together with the spa theater and the casino, it forms the Kursaal building, the magnificent structure directly on the picturesque banks of the Lahn.
The marble hall, built in 1836-39, is also known as "Little Rome". The Renaissance Villa Farnesina on the Tiber in Rome is the model of the magnificent hall with its wall paintings and columns made of Lahn valley marble. The plans for the ballroom in Bad Ems were provided by the Royal Bavarian building inspector Johann Gottfried Gutensohn. The composer Jacques Offenbach worked as a concert master in Bad Ems for 12 years. Many of his works were premiered here in the marble hall. During this time parts of his most famous operetta "Orpheus from the Underworld" were created. The composer wrote about Bad Ems: "I confess that I have a very special preference for Ems", not only that it is the source of my health, it also stimulates my creative imagination in some ways. "
Large parts of the Marble Hall were built from a very special building material, the Lahn marble. This is the name given to the limestone that was quarried on a large scale around 40 kilometers to the north, directly on the river. Lahn marble can be found in punky buildings all over the world, including the Empire State Building in New York.