/spah/, n.a resort town in E Belgium, SE of Liège: famous mineral springs. 9391.
* * *Spring or resort with thermal or mineral water for drinking and bathing.The word derives from a Belgian town whose springs reputedly had curative powers. Mineral springs usually contain various salts, trace minerals, and gases; many are naturally carbonated. Most thermal springs (see hot spring) also contain minerals. Warm-water bathing aids relaxation (see hydrotherapy), and high salt or sulfur content helps some skin conditions. Drinking mineral water is believed to aid digestion, and waters with specific minerals are used for particular conditions.
* * *▪ Belgiummunicipality, Walloon Region, eastern Belgium. It is situated in the wooded hills of the northern Ardennes, southeast of Liège. Its popular mineral springs, known locally as pouhons, have caused the name spa to be given to all such health resorts.Known in Roman times and mentioned by Pliny the Elder, the springs were rediscovered in 1326 and have been frequented since the 16th century. Spa reached its zenith in the 18th century, when it was visited by European royalty. It was the general headquarters of the German army in 1918 and was the site of the Conference of the Allied Supreme Council in 1920.Now the health centre of Belgian state medicine, it is also a winter sports centre and a tourist resort with amusement facilities, including horse and auto (Francorchamps) racing, and a small airport. There are some metallurgical industries and a bottling plant. Landmarks include the Casino (1919–21; original building, 1763), the Baths (1866–68), and the Parc de Sept-Heures. Pop. (2007 est.) mun., 10,472.
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