Hungary has one of the most important thermal spring culture in Europe. The country boasts no less than 1,500 spas, typically featuring Roman, Greek and Turkish architecture. Some of the most sumptuous thermal resorts include the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath, Gellért Baths, Lukács Baths, and Margaret Island. Hungary also has 450 public baths.
Needless to say, Hungary is a land of thermal water. A passion for spa culture and Hungarian history have been connected from the very beginning. It has been shown that Hungarian spa culture is multicultural. The basis of this claim is architecture: Hungarian spas feature Roman, Greek, Turkish, and northern country architectural elements.
Due to an advantageous geographical location thermal water can be found with good quality and in great quantities on over 80% of Hungary’s territory. The Romans heralded the first age of spa in Hungary, the remains of their bath complexes are still to be seen in Óbuda, to this day. The spa culture was revived during the Turkish Invasion who used the thermal springs of Buda for the construction of a number of bathhouses, some of which are still functioning (Király Baths, Rudas Baths).
In the 19th century the advancement in deep drilling and medical science provided the springboard for a further leap in bathing culture. Grand spas such as Gellért Baths, Lukács Baths, Margaret Island, and Széchenyi Medicinal Bath are a reflection of this resurgence in popularity. Approximately 1,500 thermal springs can be found in Hungary. About half of these are used for bathing.
The spa culture has a nearly 2,000 year history in Budapest. Budapest has the richest supply of thermal water among the capitals of the world. The amount of thermal water used in Budapest is roughly equal to two million bath tubs per day. There are approximately 450 public baths in Hungary. Nowadays the trend shows that bath operators are modernizing their facilities and expanding the services offered.
A total of 50 of the 160 public baths are qualified as spas throughout the country. Services are offered for healing purposes. These spas provide every type of balneal and physical therapy. Throughout history bathing and spa tourism has always played an important role in Hungary.
Thermal lake of Hévíz,
The thermal lake of Hévíz is the largest biologically active, natural thermal lake of the world. The oldest and most well-known bath of Hungary, in accordance with records from the Roman era, has a history of 2000 years.
The Hévíz treatment, in its present sense, also dates back more than 200 years. The 4.4 ha lake is fed by its spring rushing up at a depth of 38 m, containing sulphur, radium and minerals. Due to the high water output of the spring, the water of the lake is completely changed within 48 hours.
The water of the Hévíz Lake is equally rich in dissolved substances and gases, combining the favourable effects of naturally carbonated medicinal waters and those containing sulphur, calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate, as well as those with a slightly radioactive content. The medicinal mud, which covers the bed of the lake in a thick layer, deserves special attention.
The Hévíz mud, which is unique of its kind, contains both organic and inorganic substances and the radium-salts and reduced sulphuric solutions in it represent special medicinal factors. The medicinal water and mud originating from the several then thousand year-old Pannonian Sea, together with the complex physiotherapeutic treatments, are suitable for treating all kinds of rheumatic and locomotory diseases. The temperature of the water is 23-25 C in winter and 33-36 C in summer.
(photos from wikipedia.org)