Thermal & Wellness

Wellness in the Antiquity

A temporary exhibition called Bathing culture in Aquincum can be visited at the Aquincum Museum in Budapest until December 2016. It is right next to the permanent exhibition called Aquincum Vision Storage. The exhibition room is only 30 square meters but the information you can read on the walls are carefully collected and really systematic. It presents the bathing habits of the Romans. Let us step in.

The water meant to Romans not only the needs of daily hygiene. The Roman bathhouse was of Greek origin. While Greek baths were strictly the place for cleansing after physical exercises, Roman bahs became the scene of relaxation, invigorating and social contacts. There was clamorous life in Aquincum baths two-thousand years ago.

The first ancient baths in Budapest were found by chance in the process of digging a lime pit in 1778. Since then only in the territory of Aquincum (one part of 3rd district in Budapest) twenty baths or building sections belonging to baths have been found during archaeological excavations.

aquincum

Roman period baths unearthed in the territory of present-day Budapest

Romans treated thermal water with respect and recognized its medicinal effects. Catchment basin and well-houses were built over the medical springs. Well-houses also served as small sanctuaries: altars stood in them.

kuthaz

Models of catchments and well-houses.

forrasfoglalat

A sample of catchment basin in the exhibition.

A typical Roman bathhouse was constructed with uniformity throughout the Roman Empire. The buildings consisted of three main rooms for bathing: the frigidarium (unheated and with cold water pools), the caldarium (with hot water pools and where the temperature and humidity were both high) and the tepidarium between hot and cold part. It could have a pool with tepid water. Sometimes a sweating-room with high temperature but low humidity could be accessed from the tepidarium. It was similar to dry sauna.

furdoepulet

Visualization of the ancient baths.

Roman baths could be of three types in accordance with ownership and users: private, public and military baths. There were any difference between them. For example, in military baths there were two (hot but low humidity) sweating-rooms. These dry saunas were needed because regarding to medical advice its effect on human body was like annealing iron. It can be said that the positive effects of sauna have been already recognized in ancient times.

You can find many other interests including the architecture. Innovative solutions were used in heating, water-heating, water supply and sewage disposal. For example, I would have never thought that sewage water from the pools was often channelled through the latrines attached to the bathhouses, by ensuring a constant flow of water to flush the toilets.

padlo

The heated air was circulating brick floor like this.

Romans took their bathing equipment: towel, bathing clogs, comb, mirror, ear picker, tweezers, olive oil or other perfumed oil or cream, a scraper called strigilis (used for removing oil and dirt from the body), scrub stone.

furdofelszereles

Bathing equipment - slave carried these belongings in case of wealthy person

I do propose to visit this exhibition. The entrance fee is HUF 1000. It would be better if the weather is fine because of the Roman ruins outside. This is the largest Roman archaeological park in Hungary. You will not be disappointed.

 

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The Veli bej Turkish Bath in Budapest

Have you ever been in Veli bej Turkish Bath in Budapest? If not, do not put it off any longer. It is a great facility to relax. This small bath used to belong to one of the oldest and most beautiful Ottoman bath named Császár Bath in the city.

It was built by Sokollu Mustafa pasha in 1575. Its history was quite adventurous but finally it became the property of the Ordo Hospitalarius again in 2000. After regaining the owner status of the bath, the monks decided to renovate the buildings completely.

It is a strange sight watching the bath building because a big hospital was built up around in 1970. The renovation works were finished in 2011. The external walls remain original design and it is surrounded by a very spectacular glass roof. In our opinion medieval charm of bath is in harmony with the 21st century facilities.

veli bej kupola

The domes of Veli bej Bath are clamped between two buildings and surrounded by glass roof.

You can reach the Veli bej Bath over the hall of Budai Irgalmasrendi (Ordo Hospitalarius) Hospital. You can use special plastic bracelet not only for enter and exit but for locker.

Tickets: 2,800 HUF/day, discount tickets between Monday-Thursday: 2,240 HUF/2 hours.

Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 6:00-12:00 a.m. and 3:00-9:00 p.m.

The locker room is coeducated. There are modern furnitures, neat covers, natural light and cleanliness everywhere. You can reach the bath across the shower (separated for women and men).

belső medence

It is the biggest thermal pool under the central cupola.

The bath has a huge thermal pool (36°C ) under the central cupola which is surrounded by four smaller thermal pools. They are 9-10 square meters and have different temperatures: 40, 32, 28 and 22°C. There is also a brand new wellness department with jacuzzi (for six persons), two steam chambers (for eight-eight persons with 40°C or 50°C), Finnish (for ten persons) and infra saunas (for two persons) and several massage showers next to the ice maker machine. You can also get massage at very affordable prices. You can walk to the restaurant directly.

Entering to the separated medical session, a special ticket is needed. There are a Kneipp walk pool, therapeutic swimming pool and underwater massages.

The spring is a curiosity to spout to surface so strongly that whole thermal water can exchange in every four hours. It is total hygienic and besides the water is so clear.

kerengő

You can find a pleasant rest on the bright, glass-roofed corridor.

The water of the bath is beneficial in the following cases: degenerative disorders of the bones and joints, calcium deficiency in bones. It is good for recovery after operation and bad injury. You can find the thermal water composition here.

Others: Every day is coeducated. We met guests only in the age of thirties and fourties in a Friday morning. Accessibility of building is done. The thermal water does not consist of sulfur so it does not smell like rotten eggs. There is a small museum in a corridor. You can see the old pipeline and spring there. There are a couple of good restaurants, coffee and food bars in the neighbourhood.

We can offer the Veli bej Bath to you with pleasure. If you would like to look around there, you can watch this video.

 

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