Town of Piešťany / History

PIEŠŤANY - a picturesque spa town with thirty thousand inhabitants situated in the south-western part of Slovakia 162 m above sea level, nestled between the Small Carpathians and Považský Inovec mountain ranges and traversed by the blue ribbon of Slovakia's longest river the Váh. It has a pleasant inland climate and is just 86 km from the capital city Bratislava.

Settlement of the city and the surrounding area dates back to pre-historic times. Humans interested in the natural resources of the area, the neverfreezing thermal springs, and the rich and bountiful environs of the Váh River's tributaries were drawn to this region nearly 80,000 years ago. The first written record of the town comes from 1113 and is found in the Zobor Scroll of the Hungarian King Koloman I under the name "Pescan", a name derived from "Piešťane", which is how the local inhabitants of the settlement, which consisted mostly of river alluvium, sand and gravel, referred to themselves and to the settlement itself. The Tartar invasion in the 13th century necessitated the construction of the stone castle and fort Tematín. Part of the Tematín estate, owned by the Huntpoznan family, eventually became the village of Piešťany. Other important lords of Piešťany include Matúš Čák Trenčiansky, who was followed by the Count of Újlak. In the 16th century, just 2 km from Old Piešťany and opposite the thermal springs, the spa settlement of Teplice was established and it did not take long for rumours of the springs healing powers to spread far and wide. In the 17th century, these rumours were further enriched by the celebratory poem from the priest Adam Trajan of Benešov - SALUBERRIMAE PISTINIENSES THERMAE: Healing Spa Piešťany. In the 18th century, a new lord, Count Erdődy, took over in Piešťany and had the first wooden bath and spa houses built on the Spa Island. In the 19th century, these first wooden structures were joined by the brick and mortar Napoleon Spa, which is still in operation today. The greatest boom in Piešťany, however, is associated with the Winter family, who carried out the construction of the most well-known and important spas, bathhouses, bridges and cultural facilities. Even the pedestrian zone in the centre of the city is named after this important family - Winter Street. In the 1960's and 70's, visitors were also served by a complex of modern spas and bathhouses - the Balnea complex.

The abundant thermal and mineral springs and sulphuric mud became a mainstay for the treatment of rheumatism, locomotor diseases, neurological diseases and traumatic conditions which made Piešťany a highly sought after spa town. In Piešťany there are 10 drilled springs of natural healing mineral water with a temperature between 67 °C and 69 °C and which also contains minerals and free gas. The effects of the spa treatment are multiplied and expanded several fold by the atmosphere created by the carefully maintained parks and flamboyantly colourful flowerbeds. The Spa Island is a kind of small botanical garden, which sprang from the soil of the lowland forest about 150 years ago. The bypass tributary of the Váh is also a unique ecological habitat containing a number of rare species of flora and fauna. However, any visitor to the area should also not overlook the protected area of Sĺňava, which is situated in the southern part of the town or, the fairytale-like, Bird Island.

An ideal location, easy accessibility, a rich tradition in spas and tourism with ideal opportunities for recreation and spa treatments have combined to make Piešťany a very popular spa town. Also sure not to escape the attention of visitors is the annual organization of such interesting cultural events as the Opening of the Summer Spa Season, the Piešťany Music Festival, Lodenica festival, the festival of radio fairytales "The Magic Nut", Truck Arena, the flower exhibition "Victoria Regia" and the theatrical gathering "Piešťany Rendezvous". Piešťany also plays a significant role in the health and medical industry.

What distinguishes Piešťany from other Slovak cities? Its characteristic laid-back atmosphere, tranquil bubbling fountains, the slow pace of strolling visitors, concerts on the promenade, the greatest number of sunny days, the ever-present natural greenery, the leaves carelessly floating on the silvery surface of the Váh and the circling seagulls all combine to make Piešťany unique among Slovak cities. Don't look for the hustle and bustle of a big city, just stop and sit at one of the outdoor summer cafes or watch the setting sun from the Colonnade Bridge and with all your soul soak in the peaceful, healing atmosphere of the spa town Piešťany.