2020.02.14 - The mosts among Hungarian baths
The mosts among Hungarian baths
If you rank anything, and you are at least a little honest, you tell the criteria of the ranking. If not for anything else, but for the sake of letting the reader know that the best according to that article wasn’t the one who ordered the ranking as a marketing strategy. The Hungarian baths can be ranked according to many aspects, but the arguments are not common to be shown. This makes this kind of ranking even less correct then subjective ones. Now, we present a ranking that actually isn’t a ranking.
How can we rank something and not end up with a hierarchy? Simple: in a way that we rank the baths of Hungary according to several aspects, and we only mark the “winners”.
We came across a problem already. How do we rank by size? Do we count the area of the whole place, the area of water surfaces or the number of pools? Anyhow, the thermal bath of Hajdúszoboszló is among the biggest ones in Hungary, even in Europe. The area of the place is 30 hectare, which of course can only be used on full capacity in the summer, but the covered part is enormous too. If we look at the number of pools Bükfürdő joins the competition with its 32 pools, and the Széchenyi bath in Budapest is usually mentioned as one of the biggest bath complexes in Europe. If size refers to length instead of the area we need to mention the Napfényfürdő in Szeged, which has a slide that starts from a 30-meter high tower and is 272 meters long. This slide can operate in the winter too thus making it the longest all-year-functioning slide in Europe.
The most popular
We choose the most democratic way possible and went over to termalfurdo.hu which site issues a poll every year on which anyone can vote in three categories. In 2019 the thermal bath of Harkány got first place. It deserved it since it’s one of the most popular baths in Middle-Europe and its sulfur-containing water helps in the fight against rheumatism, skin problems, and infertility.
The mentioned poll wasn’t only measuring the national best, but they wanted to know which bath is most liked by the people living there. This category was won by the beach of Miskolctapolca. It is not only popular for the locals since its cave baths are unique in Europe. You can stay for much longer in the lukewarm crystal clear karst water than in the other mineral containing warm thermal waters. The climate and water of the cave are both medicinal.
The Makói Hagymatikum took first place in the regional category since it is pretty popular among Serbian and Romanian people. If there were a category for most organic bath building, Hagymatikum would have won since the most known organic architect of Hungary, Makovecz Imre designed the onion-like building.
In the oldest bath category, those baths win which were built during the Turkish occupation. The Rudas bath (located in Budapest) was built in 1556 which makes it the oldest in Hungary. Not much later Király and Rácz baths were built in Budapest and another one in Eger around 1560.
The most unique
If we had a category which focuses on the uniqueness of the baths, Tófürdő in Hévíz would definitely be in the top 5 since it is the biggest thermal lake of Europe, moreover, it can compete worldwide too. It is unique since it is biologically active.
Concerning uniqueness, the thermal bath of Egerszalók would get a high rank since the salt hill which was made by the precipitating salt from the thermal water is truly characteristic. A similar formation can be found in Pamukkale in Turkey, and in the Yellowstone Park in the USA.
The most iconic
Many more aspects could be brought up and it is possible, that we could find an aspect for every single bath in which it is the best, but it would be a shame to exclude the cultural aspect of the baths. Baths are not only the place for healing and relaxing (or having fun), but their cultural legacy is spectacular too. It is a strange feeling to chill in the same pool as the great poets and politicians of our country of whom streets and squares are named.
In this category, the big baths of Budapest dominate the list. Several famous people spent time in the pools of Gellért and Széchenyi baths in the last century, moreover many pictures were taken of these celebrities by the resourceful lifeguard, Pusztai Sándor. Among the foreign, these two are the most well known, as well as the most visited by western tourists. This is not an accident since even during their process of the building they represented europian standards, and the synchronizing of the glorious past and the modern present is still an ongoing process.