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Historia uzdrowiska

Piešťany has an interest for foreigners simply because of it's name. Etymologists see the origin of the name Pescan in the word sand. The first settled colonization originated near the sandy soils around the river Váh. Archaeologists have found here and in surrounding locations incredibly interesting discoveries and finds of bones of prehistoric animals and traces of some settling by prehistoric humans that give evidence of the attraction of the hot springs in this fertile valley. An exceptionally precious and rare find from this region is the delicate statue of a woman from a mammoth’s tusk, well-known as Moravany Venus. Scientists estimate her age at about 22 860 years.

People say that curative effects of our springs were first discovered by Roman legions. Roman horses were so tired after their long journey that they could not continue without rest. Soldiers then decided to relax for several days next to a muddy meadow near river Váh. They supposedly continued their journey after this stay unusually fresh.

The first written reference about Piešťany is stated in Zoborská deed from 1113. Future fame and international general knowledge of Piešťany as a spa town started to be born in the second half of 17th century. There grew in 15th – 17th century in Central Europe a professional interest and concern in curative healing baths and mineral waters.

In 1642 the Czech scholar and intellectual Adam Trajan Benešovský from Benešov in the ode Saluberrimae Pistinienses Thermae glorified and celebrated with his poetry the curative healing effects of Spa Piešťany. He described lyrically the raging river with raft, float, noble house residence, noblemen and aristocrats and peasants, fertile valley and crowds of people, who in the spring, when nature returned to life, came to dive into hot baths and mud holes.

Aristocrats and noblemen, owners of grounds and properties, they started to build the current spa buildings above the springs. So there were created the first spas in Piešťany as well. In 1821 squire of Piešťany count Jozef Erdödy, head of Nitriansky region and state minister of the Vienna government, began construction of the first bathtub and pool baths. He began constructing the first bathhouse - Napoleon´s spas and the first mirror pool in Piešťany after the Napoleonic wars ended, with the aim of healing and treating the injured or wounded soldiers (1822).

The beginnings of progressive rational changes in methods of Piešťany´s curative healing cure meant the arrival of MUDr. František E. Scherer, pioneer of modern balneal therapy, who worked in Piešťany spa from 1829 to 1837. He decided for an individual approach for the prescription of curative cures based on the advance defined diagnosis and based on the advanced state of disease phase of the patient.

A crucial era in development of Piešťany spas is wedded to the name of the family Winter. At the beginning of 20th century the spa hotel Thermia Palace was created along with the building of balneal therapy Irma (1912), furthermore spa hotel Pro Patria (1916) and in the thirties in a functional style the hotel Excelsior (today’s Jalta). Father Alexander and later his sons, especially Ľudovít and Imrich served and managed the development of cultural and social life in Piešťany and for the first time they struggled and attempted to combine the common interests and needs of the town and the spa. They laid the foundations of the Balneology museum, they invited to Piešťany young talented doctors and physicians. Some of the more noteable include: František Ernest Scherer, Adalbert Wagner, Hermann Alter, Samuel Weinberger, Koloman Fodor, Eduard Weisz, father and son Zigmund and Leo Alexandre, Vratislav Kučera, Eduard Cmunt, Ladislav Schmidt, Jozef Brežný, Gejza Vámoš, Štefan Kollár and others.

During the era and period of spas managed by the Winters, the roads and transportation system improved dramatically. Many new schools were built as well as a new post office, pedestrian Colonnaded Bridge with symbol of the Spa – bronze statue of man, Crutch breaker, unique outdoor pool Eva. There was built on the Spa Island the first golf course in Slovakia. Piešťany became the centre of significant golf tournaments, tennis competitions and chess championships, but also concert exhibitions, dance competitions, car racings and championships Concours d´ Elegance.

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