The town itself was first documented in the year 801 as "chizzicha" and was renowned above all for its medicinal springs, which are recorded from as early as 823. Kissingen was first mentioned as a town in 1279, and the first official spa guest was recorded in 1520, the same century that the town established itself as a spa.
Dr Thomas Erastus (1524-1583), Swiss doctor, who had been taking care of the Count of Henneberg, already praised the healing power of the Kissinger acidulous mineral water, today Maxbrunnen.
Kissingen grew to be a chic resort in the 19th century, and was rebuilt as such during the reign of Ludwig I of Bavaria. Crowned heads of state such as Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Tsar Alexander II of Russia and King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who bestowed the 'Bad' on Kissingen in 1883, were among the guests to the spa at this time. On July 10, 1866 in Mainfeldzug, Kissingen was the site of fierce battle between Bavarian and Prussian troops. Imperial Chancellor Otto von Bismarck visited Kissingen's spas many times, Bismarck's former home in Kissingen is now the Bismarck museum. Other visitors to the resort included writer Leo Tolstoy and artist Adolph von Menzel.