The history of the thermal lake

the legend and history of lake hévíz

Lake Hévíz is one of the world’s unique natural lakes, a true wonder of the town and of Hungary. According to the legend, Virgin Mary made the water gush forth from the depths of the earth in order that a paralyzed child could healed by the welling-up hot water and the steaming mud. In the end, due to the natural healing effects of the spring, the child recovered and later became an Eastern Roman Emperor known as Flavius Theodosius.

Therefore, based on the legend, the curative effects of Lake Hévíz was already known by the Romans. This is demonstrated by the period coins collected by divers from the lake in the beginning of the 1980s, as well as by an altar stone found near the lake.

Migration Period findings also suggest that the Germanic and Slavic population turned up here also used the lake. The first written record of Hévíz was found in a charter of 1328.

The formation of the lake can be traced back to ancient times. At the end of the Pannon Period, named after its sea, the surface of Transdanubia was broken by volcanoes. The first signs of post-volcanic activities were sources of heath, thus the break-out of the ancient Hévíz spring. During the movement of the Earth’s crust, two ditch systems were formed, where rainfall was gathered. Lake Balaton took shape this way about 22 thousand years ago and it marked the beginning of the history of Hévíz Thermal Lake too. The warmth coming from the deeper layers of the Earth’s crust heats the groundwater locked into the underground storage system formed during the Pannon Period, therefore the water of the lake is heated by geothermal energy.

The traditional therapy of Hévíz, in its present sense, also has a more than 200 years old history. The first study about the lake was published in 1769 by Ferenc Szláby, who was a physicist and the chief medical officer in County Zala. The Festetics Family, who took possession of the spring and its surrounding area in the middle of the 18th century, played an important role in developing and popularizing the baths. Mainly, Count George Festetics I made the bathing culture flourish, he built up the bathhouses purposefully.

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