Bathing Halls of Budapest

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Altogether eighty natural hot springs of varying temperatures and chemical composition are to thank for the world-famous medicinal baths found all over the city. The 20 to 27 °C water from the four different groups of springs have been used since the Roman times for bathing and medicinal purposes. The minerals dissolved in the waters of the springs are effective in the treatment of numerous illnesses, especially movement related ailments.

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Perhaps the Romans founded Aquincum, the capital of their territory lying to the west of the Danube, in its chosen location because they liked the water of the area’s hot springs. The ruins of the huge bathhouses can still be seen even today in several locations of Óbuda, for example in the area of modern open-air Roman Bath.

The Turks, who for 150 years ruled over the country, built numerous bathhouses on the warm water springs of Buda. These are among the most well known reminders of Turkish times. Three of them have remained in their original form, and can still be visited today. The Pasha of Buda, Mustafa Sokollu, had all three of them built in the years between 1560 and 1570. The hot water springs of the Rudas Bath have been in use since the Middle Ages. That octagonal pool and the hemispherical dome make the building one of the most beautiful still standing Turkish bathhouses. The swimming pool and the steam bath are additions from the 20th century.

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The wings of the Király Bath in Fõ Street were also added in the last Century, but when approaching from Ganz Street one can see the characteristic exterior of the Turkish dome which covers the basin. (Men and women can visit the bath on alternating days).

The Császár Bath, with its octagonal dome covering the basin, has also remained intact for us from this era. According to a stone marker with a Turkish inscription it was built in 1570 on top of the ruins of a bath from the middle ages. The row of buildings surrounding the Turkish bath was built in the 19th century.

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Already in the 13th century a hospital was built to use the medicinal effects of the spring under today’s Gellért Therapeutic Bath, but the Turks built a bath here as well. The Eclectic building of the Gellért Therapeutic Bath and Hotel was constructed in 1918. Its beautiful indoor mosaiclined pool and the open air wave pool are refreshing for those of all ages.

The water of the just recently renovated Lukács Bath has a positive health effects, but the people of Budapest savor swimming in open air warm water pool both in the winter and in the summer, regardless of age and health condition.

Apart from using the naturally flowing springs, excellent bathhouses have also been built on artesian wells, which have been drilled since the 19th century based on the charts of the ingenious Hungarian geologist Vilmos Zsigmnondy. The likewise newly renovated Szé chenyi Bath in the City Park is one of these. This bath was built in the first years after 1900 to make use of 74 °C medicinal waters rising from a 979-meter deep artesian well drilled in 1870. Refreshment seekers will find steam, thermal, and open-air baths awaiting them here.

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