The bath was named after Count István Szechenyi. István Széchenyi (1791-1860) was a Hungarian politician, theorist and writer, one of the greatest statesmen of Hungarian history and an outstanding figure of Hungary’s Reform Era. He was the minister of public works and transport in the first independent Hungarian government (1848). His contemporaries called him “the greatest Hungarian” even during his lifetime. Széchenyi’s civic activities bore fruit far and wide, and left a heritage which is visible and tangible in Hungary even after the passage of a century and a half.
From September 1815 to 1821, Szechenyi traveled extensively in Europe, visiting France, England, Italy, Greece and the Levant, and studying their institutions. He also established important personal connections. The rapid modernisation of Britain fascinated him the most, and strongly influenced his thinking.
From the long list of his magnificent initiatives and achievements, the followings are themost important: the establishment of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (for which purpose, he donated an entire year’s income), the establishment of steam mills, savings associations and railways, the shipyard, the regulation of the Lower Danube and of Hungary’s second-largest river, the Tisza, the launch of steam navigation on the Danube and the Balaton, the foundation of modern estate management in Hungary, silkworm production, horse-racing and horse-breeding, urban development, the construction of the Chain Bridge, the organisation of the National Casino and sporting societies are all linked to his name.
Altought the spa is named after Széchenyi he had nothing to do with the spa. The bath owes its existence to a hungarian mining engineer Vilmos Zsigmondy. On his initiative, successful deep borings had been performed in the City Park, where later, in 1881 already an “Artesian bath” was in operation.