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Friday, 29 February 2008

Budapest's Thermal Baths - Page 2

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My first encounter with a hot spring spa occurred four years ago when I was living in Budapest, Hungary – a city renowned for its numerous bathhouses. Two large outdoor pools lay before me, with slowly rising steam being the only indication that their water was anything but chilly. As I stepped into the warm spring, I could almost immediately distinguish who were regulars to the scene: groups of wrinkly women in bathing caps, chatting and arguing amongst each other; and older men hovered around chessboards that were built into the bath’s concrete floor. It was undoubtedly a different spectacle than the first introduction of baths to the city, but the atmosphere and purpose remain the same. Here is a place where locals come to chat, to heal, and to soak in the earth’s natural minerals.

Budapest’s baths aren’t all about relaxation, however. The springs have a history in hydrotherapy—using water to treat diseases and soothe pains. Since the emergence of thermal baths in Ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian civilizations, recordings of the springs’ “healing powers” have created a hydrotherapy following. Physicians specializing in natural medicine use the springs to treat patients suffering from burns, paralysis, strokes, and a number of musculoskeletal disorders (such as arthritis and spinal injuries). Whether or not this healing technique provides a true remedy to such ailments is yet to be proven. A 30-minute soak, however, is almost certain to improve circulation, and many of the springs’ natural minerals – such as calcium and lithium –provide nutrients the body is often lacking.

Szecheny BathWhile there are a number of thermal baths founded on hot springs around the world, Budapest is the only capital to own the title, “City of Spas.” For those who are planning a trip to this spring-rich town, here are a few baths that have taken the earth’s natural water and turned it into a fresh and relaxing pastime:

Gellert Bath – XI. Kelenhegyi ut. 4-6

Kiraly Bath – II. Fo u. 82-84

Szechenyi Bath – XIV. Allatkert ut. 11

Rudas Bath – XI. Dobrentei ter 9

For more information on Budapest’s Baths, check out: or

© Erin Kuschner

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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