The Spas of Lake Hévíz

Hévíz is a town in Hungary that boasts thermal waters which are subject to many stories and legends throughout the years. While myths date back to the beginning of time, the first recordings of the use of the lake are from the 14th century. It is believed that it began to form during the Mesozoic era, with rising water levels resulting in their existence. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that landowner Count György I. Festetics and his family began forming bathhouses in the area.

History of Lake Hévíz

Lake Hévíz has a great amount of history surrounding it and it’s healing properties. The stories of these powers all began with the emperor Flavius Theodosius. Flavius was a Roman boy born to a military leader, and as a child was very unwell. He was raised by a Christian nurse who prayed for his healing because of who his father was. Legend has it that Holy Mary heard the prayers and brought a rush of water to the lake in Hévíz that was believed to heal ailments. After this, the lake was where the young boy bathed every day, and the hot water and steam made him grew stronger.

Another legend of the lake is about the castellans (governors) of the Csobánc and Tátika castles. The Csobánc castellan fell in love with the daughter of the other castellan. However, these men were enemies and so the love was forbidden. To be with her, the Csobánc castellan fought for her and won. It was then discovered that the girl was ‘lame in her feet’, and they were advised that she should soak her legs in the waters of the lake. After they married, they built a house along Lake Hévís where she was able to soak her legs daily, until eventually she could use them again.

These legends and stories show that the healing properties of the lake date back long before the bathhouses were built in the 1700’s. However, it was the many stories and benefits felt throughout the centuries that resulted in Count Festetics determination to build a spa resort surrounding the lake.

fence with pink flowers over it looking out onto lake hévíz with a spa complex

Benefits

We know that the health benefits of Lake Hévíz date back alongside the legends and myths. From curing Flavius of his illness to the Castle owner’s daughter walking again, people have believed that the waters enhance the health of its users for centuries. The different water properties that help with healing are:

  • The temperature of the lake is neither too hot nor too cold. This means that bathers can stay in longer, with less stress on their heart or body.
  • The calcium in the water has anti-inflammatory properties – this helps those with muscle pain.
  • The water contains magnesium which is known for soothing nerves - this can be both mentally and physically.
  • The presence of sulphur makes the water the ideal spot for those with joint pain – reduced sulphur is a cause of some rheumatic and locomotor diseases so bathing in waters with this mineral is a great way to combat this.
  • There is also a mud area at the Lake Hévíz – this is known for boosting the anti-inflammatory and joint relieving properties.

The Spas of Lake Hévíz are still in operation to this day. Many tourists visit the area to experience the relaxation and health benefits of the lake – just like Greece, Germany, and other areas throughout the world.

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