The history of the Castle Spa

The town of Gyula already had a cold water bath before the Turkish rule. In 1518, there was already a certificate stating that it must be kept in order by the vicar. In Turkish times, spa culture naturally flourished, Turkish traveler Evlia Cselebi already mentioned 11 spas in Gyula. In 1722, Franz Rosenfeld already depicted the Turkish bath in his engraving.


After the expulsion of the Turks, the longest operating steam bath in Gyula was built by Alajos Popp in 1887, where 12 tubs and a common pool fed by an artesian well awaited bathers separated by gender. Several open-air baths operated in the city as early as the 19th century. at the end of the century, but the efforts to build a swimming pool had to wait a few decades for success.


On the initiative of two master builders from Gyula, the Beach Bath was granted an operating license on July 31, 1930, in the section of the canal adjacent to today's Várfürdő, which was a 60 x 12 meter beach section fenced off from the Élővíz canal with a barrier wall. At that time, bathing was expressly prohibited in other parts of the city. The vicissitudes of the world crisis and the war did not spare Partfürdő either, so in the 1940s the idea of a deep well was discussed. So much so that in 1942, the Almásy family founded the Gyulai Fürdő és Üdülő Reszvénytársaság (Gyulai Fürdő és Üdülő Reszvénytársaság), for the purpose of the resort and spa to be established in the castle garden, to which the count's family even provided a loan to start the drilling works. The construction that began in 1943 and, according to the documents of the time, was ultimately carried out unprofessionally, as well as other storms of history (nationalization, relocation of the county seat from Gyula) repeatedly halted the drilling of the well. By 1951, the 33 1/3-meter swimming and jumping pool built next to "Uncle Abaházi's wading pool" was filled with the 29-degree water trickling from this broken well.


But the people of Gyula - being persistent people - did not give up on their plans for the spa. In 1957, the City Council decided on the establishment of the spa, and a year later, deep drilling began in the vicinity of Lovarda in a ceremonial setting. The thermal water in Gyula was first seen on September 17, 1958 by the eager and curious crowds. This alkaline-hydrogen-carbonate thermal mineral water still forms the basis of the Gyula Castle Bath, which opened its doors on May 1, 1959. We owe the naming to the students from Gyula who won the competition at the time. The first thermal pool was put into operation by rebuilding the pool of the former Partfürdő, now filled with the famous, yellowish-brown Gyula thermal water.


Already the first bathing season made it obvious that new pools and changing rooms are needed as soon as possible. In 1960, another well and a shallower beach pool were also delivered, so it is not surprising that the spa had 250,000 visitors already in its second year. By the summer of 1961, three new children's pools and two therapeutic pools with benches were completed. In 1963, they began to transform the Count's Stables, built in 1833, and this marked the beginning of the second stage of the spa's development.


By 1965, the Lovarda and the winter bath were completed, and in the same year, the Ministry of Health of that time declared the delimited part of Gyula's interior a resort. This year was a very important milestone in the life of the Várfürdő, as the tubs and pools, which had previously been used only as a purity bath, also served medical treatment purposes. The five-year plan drawn up in 1967 already included the construction of a 50-meter swimming pool, a whirlpool pool and a wave pool. The plans were only strengthened by the fact that in 1968 the thermal water of the I. well was declared a medical water, and in 1971 the spa was declared a medical spa.


The 1970s brought the golden age of Várfürdő, in 1970 it boasted 550,000 visitors, and it was then that the swimming sport in Gyula began its real conquest. In 1972, thermal well No. V was put into operation and the 50-meter swimming pool was handed over, and Gyula was the first city in the country to introduce compulsory swimming lessons for all children.


In 1981, the slide pool and the iconic wooden shading structure above the I. spa pool were completed, and in 1984, guests were able to take possession of the indoor spa, now known as the domed wellness. As a ceremonial event in 1985, the Ministry of Public Welfare declared the area around the spa a health resort, which was clearly based on the healing water. In the 1980s, several technical modernizations took place, the spa was expanded with new catering and commercial units, park planning and the modernization of traffic routes were also underway.


The political storms of the '90s also affected Várfürdő, this decade did not bring significant development. In 1999, a multi-step development schedule was drawn up, and the new millennium was all about its implementation. As part of the Széchenyi I. project, spa pools were renovated and the heating system was modernized. In 2002, the medicine started operating in its current location and largely with the equipment that is still in use today. At that time, the domed indoor bath was transformed into a wellness bath with rotating water, and this year also brought the children's water paradise for the little ones, the slide pool got a kamikaze and a giant slide.


In 2004-05, the Széchenyi II. The goal of the project was the complete reconstruction of the Lovarda and the construction of the Polyp pool. The swimming pool was remodeled, and new ticket offices were built on the Wooden Bridge and the Stone Bridge. The end of the decade was also about development, the Castello Sauna Park opened in December 2009 with European-standard outdoor sauna houses, indoor saunas, a steam cabin and relaxation areas and a sauna garden.


As the largest-scale investment in the history of the Castle Spa, the new family experience spa, AquaPalota, was built for Christmas 2013, which completed the spa's offer with its special family-friendly services and environmentally conscious technical solutions. In connection with the AquaPalota, the changing rooms and the access control system have been renewed, and the main entrance evokes a new harmony close to nature.


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