History of the Szechenyi Spa

Old Szechenyi Bath
Original photo of the Bath

It is Budapest and Europe’s largest spa with its 18 pools. There are 15 indoor pools and 3 outdoor pools. This is also the first medical bath of Pest. On the Buda side the beneficial effects of the thermal water were already put in use by the natives in the celtic times, since the geological structure was optimal, it was able to find it’s way to the surface. Unlike this the Pest side is mainly covered with clay and the healing water remained hidden until the first deep borings. With it started the history of the Szechenyi Thermal Spa.

Plaque for Zsigmondy
Plaque for Zsigmondy
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. The deep borings started in 1868, and after more than 10 years the 74 °C thermal water was found 970 m deep bringing 1200 m3 of thermal water per day.

First Spa of Budapest
First guests of the Bath

Nobody believed in the success, so the last years of the works were financed by Zsigmondy himself. There is a memorial plaque

on the Heroes Square between the Millenium monument and the Heroes Stone about the first artesian well of Pest, on the location of the well.

The small Artesian bath in the City Park became more and more popular. In 1884 the government decided to built a bigger, updated bath instead of the small elementary „Artesian bath”. The constructions of the bath began in 1909, designed by Győző Czigler, who worked 20 years on the plan. The neo-baroque styled Széchenyi Thermal Bath opened its doors on the 16th of June in 1913.

Bath Advesrtisement
Advirtesement of re-opening

At that time it had 51 private baths, separate men and women steam-bath sections. The Bath was expanded in 1927 according to the plans of Imre Francsek, with a public bathing department for gentlemen and ladies and a beach site. During World War II the building suffered damage by only 20%, and the restoration works began already in 1945. From this time the bath was upgraded and renovated from year to year until it got its today’s form.

Translate »