2018. April 26.
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Visit of the Thermal Baths of Budapest with guide

 

The Thermal Spas of Budapest

Thermal baths or spas in Budapest are popular tourist attractions as well as public comforts for the city's residents. One of the reasons the Romans first colonized the area immediately to the west of the River Danube and established their regional capital at Aquincum (now part of Óbuda, in northern Budapest) is so that they could utilize and enjoy the thermal springs. There are still ruins visible today of the enormous baths that were built during that period. 

The new baths that were constructed during the Turkish period (1541–1686) served both bathing and medicinal purposes, and some of these are still in use to this day. Budapest gained its reputation as a city of spas in the 1920s, following the first realization of the economic potential of the thermal waters in drawing in visitors. Indeed, in 1934 Budapest was officially ranked as a "City of Spas". Construction of the Király Baths started in 1565, and most of the present-day building dates from the Turkish period, including most notably the fine cupola-topped pool.

 

Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest

The Széchenyi Baths are one of the largest bathing complexes in all Europe, and the only “old” medicinal baths to be found in the Pest side of the city. The indoor medicinal baths date from 1913 and the outdoor pools from 1927. There is an atmosphere of grandeur about the whole place with the bright, largest pools resembling aspects associated with Roman baths, the smaller bath tubs reminding one of the bathing culture of the Greeks, and the saunas and diving pools borrowed from traditions emanating in northern Europe. The three outdoor pools (one of which is a fun pool) are open all year, including winter. Indoors there are over ten separate pools, and a whole host of medical treatments is also available.

The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs, their temperature is 74 °C (165 °F) and 77 °C (171 °F), respectively. Components of the thermal water include sulphate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and a significant amount of fluoride acid and metabolic acid. Medical indications are on degenerative joint illnesses, chronic and sub-acute joint inflammations, as well as orthopedic and traumatological post-treatments. In planning since the 1880s, the bath had originally been referred to as the Artesian spa, but when it opened on 16 June 1913, it was officially named Széchenyi spa after István Széchenyi.

The bath, located in the City Park, was built in Neo-baroque style to the design of Győző Czigler. Construction began on 7 May 1909 with designs by architect Eugene Schmitterer. The built-up area was 6,220 square meters (67,000 sq ft). The attendance of spa was in excess of 200,000 people in 1913. This number increased to 890,507 by 1919. At that time it had private baths, separate men and women steam-bath sections, and different men / women "public baths". The complex was expanded in 1927 to its current size, with 3 outdoor and 15 indoor pools. It is now possible for both sexes to visit the main swimming and thermal sections.

After the expansion, the thermal artesian well could not supply the larger volume of water needed, so a new well was drilled. The second thermal spring was found in 1938 at a depth of 1,256 meters (4,121 ft), with a temperature of 77 °C (171 °F). It supplies 6,000,000 liters (1,600,000 US gal) of hot water daily. Between 1999 and 2009 the full reformation of the Széchenyi thermal bath took place within the confines of a blanket reconstruction.

 

Gellért Thermal Bath of Budapest

The Gellért Baths and Hotel were built in 1918, although there had once been Turkish baths on the site, and in the Middle Ages a hospital. In 1927 the Baths were extended to include the wave pool, and the effervescent bath was added in 1934. The well-preserved Art Nouveau interior includes colorful mosaics, marble columns, stained glass windows and statues. We find records about the "miraculous" springs spurting up on the territory of the Bath from as early a date as the 15th century. These springs were later favored by the Turks as well, as they were larger and hotter than the Buda baths of the period. In the 17th century, the site was named Sárosfürdő (Mud bath) because of the fine spring silt that was pushed up together with the spring water and settled at the bottom of the pools.

The Gellért Thermal Bath and Hotel, known world-wide and highly favored by foreigners, built in a secession style, opened its gates in 1918 and was expanded in 1927 by the wave-bath and in 1934 by the effervescent bath. In the course of the modernization accomplished in our days, the sitting-pool in the swimming complex, the outdoor sitting pool and the children's pool were renovated; they were equipped with a state-of-the art water filtering and circulation device. At present, nearly all healing facilities may be used in the Gellért Thermal Bath. The Bath includes a department offering complex thermal bath facilities (daytime/outpatient hospital), it also has an inhalatorium. 

Water supply to the Bath is ensured by the spring accesses established inside the Gellért hill. The water is a hot spring water with calcium, magnesium and hydrogen-carbonate as well as sulphate-chloride, also containing sodium and with a significant content of fluoride ions.

Therapeutic suggestions:

    ▪    degenerative joint diseases

    ▪    spinal deformity

    ▪    chronic and sub-acute arthritis

    ▪    discus hernia

    ▪    neuralgia

    ▪    vasoconstriction

    ▪    circulatory disturbances

    ▪    Inhalation for the chronic diseases of respiratory organs

 

Rudas Baths of Budapest

The Rudas Baths are centrally placed – in the narrow strip of land between Gellért Hill and the River Danube – and also an outstanding example of architecture dating from the Turkish period. The central feature is an octagonal pool over which light shines from a 10 m diameter cupola, supported by eight pillars. Rudas Bath or Rudas fürdő is a thermal and medicinal bath in Budapest, Hungary. It was first built in 1550, during the time of Ottoman rule. To date, it retains many of the key elements of a Turkish bath, exemplified by its Turkish dome and octagonal pool. It is located at Döbrentei tér 9 on the Buda side of Erzsébet Bridge. The bath has six therapy pools and one swimming pool where the temperature is in between 16-42C. The components of slightly radioactive thermal water includes sulphate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and a significant amount of fluoride ion. Medical indications of the water is degenerative joint illnesses, chronic and sub-acute joint inflammations, vertebral disk problems, neuralgia and lack of calcium in the bone system.

The baths were used by Sokollu Mustafa Pasha, Beylerbeyi (governor) of Buda Vila-yet of the Ottomans between 1566-1578. This is inscribed in Hungarian in the baths, on a stone standing atop the Juve spring, which is believed by locals to have a rejuvenating effect on people. The baths were used as a location for the opening scene of the 1988 action movie Red Heat, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi.

It re-opened at the beginning of 2006, after a comprehensive renovation of its interior. The baths are open to women only on Tuesdays, to men only the rest of the week, and both men and women on the weekend. The attached swimming pool is always open to both men and women.

 

Király Baths of Budapest

The construction of this Bath was begun by Arslan, the Pasha of Buda in 1565 and was completed by his successor, Sokoli Mustafa. The Király Thermal Bath had no direct hot water base, nor has it any today. The Turks built the Bath far from the springs to ensure the opportunity for bathing even in the case of an eventual siege, within the walls of the castle. Its water was supplied at that time, and is being supplied now, from the surroundings of the current Lukács Bath. Following the reoccupation of Buda, the Bath was acquired in 1796 by the König family. They rebuilt it to its current form, combining the old with the new, and preserving its monumental character, found even in the name of the Bath. Stemming from the name of the family, it translates from Hungarian (Király=King=König). In World War II, the Bath was damaged. Its complete renovation was accomplished in 1950.

Hot spring water with calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate and sulphate, also containing sodium and with a substantial content of fluoride ions.

Therapeutic suggestions:

    ▪    degenerative joint diseases

    ▪    chronic and sub-acute arthritis

    ▪    discus hernia

    ▪    spinal deformity

    ▪    neuralgia

    ▪    post-accident rehabilitation

 

Lukács Thermal Baths of Budapest

The Lukács Baths are also in Buda and are also Turkish in origin, although they were only revived at the end of the 19th century. This was also when the spa and treatment centre were founded. There is still something of an atmosphere of fin-de-siècle about the place, and all around the inner courtyard there are marble tablets recalling the thanks of patrons who were cured there. Since the 1950s it has been regarded as a centre for intellectuals and artists.

In the 12th century, knights of the order of Saint John engaging in curing the sick settled in the area of today's Lukács Bath, followed by the orders of Rhodes and Malta, who built their monasteries baths as well. The bath operated through the time of the Turks but the energy of the springs were used primarily to produce gunpowder and for grinding wheat. After the reoccupation of Buda, the bath became the property of the Treasury. In 1884, Fülöp Palotay purchased the bath from the Treasury, thus a series of transformations began. The spa hotel was built, an up-to-date hydrotherapy department was established and the swimming pool was transformed. People wishing to be healed came from all over the world. Following their successful healing cure, they placed marble tablets on the wall of the Bath's courtyard to express their gratitude.

The drinking cure hall of the Bath was built in 1937. The first department to ensure complex thermal bath facilities (daytime hospital) was established in 1979 in Budapest, in the Lukács Thermal Bath. In 1999, the open-air pools of the swimming pool section were modernized. In the course of this, the so-called mud-pond, hardly used before, was replaced by a fancy pool, equipped with a whirling corridor, underwater effervescence, neck shower, water beam back massage hidden in the seat banks, whirlpool, geysers, effervescent bed and many other facilities unfamiliar before this time. The two swimming pools of various temperature in the other courtyard of the Bath were also rebuilt with water-filtering and circulation devices.

Hot spring water with calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate and sulphate, chloride, also containing sodium and with a substantial content of fluoride ions.

Therapeutic suggestions:

    ▪    degenerative joint diseases

    ▪    chronic and sub-acute arthritis

    ▪    spinal deformity

    ▪    discus hernia

    ▪    neuralgia

    ▪    post-accident rehabilitation

 

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