The bath culture of Sikonda

2024.07.01. 11:24

Sikonda is administratively part of Komló, and like almost everything else in Komló, the history of the spa in Sikonda is linked to the mining industry. It was during the exploration for coal that lead to the discovery of the 38-degree thermal spring, which was later declared a spa. Thanks to this, Sikonda became an important tourist destination within a few years.

Sikonda – a thermal spring cures everything

ttei_19xxzbxx_sikondathermalfurdo_00.jpgIn 1927 a coal mine was planned to be opened here and deepcoredrilling began. But instead of coal, hot water came up – much to the dismay of the mining company –, but the community saw the potential within.

The inhabitants were keen about the medicinal water, and it became rumoured that the spring water of Sikonda could cure every disease. Dr. Kálmán Emszt was the first to analyse the thermal water, and he concluded that the water's "free carbonic acid content makes it the only carbon dioxide spring in Hungary, which, combined with the lithium, greatly increases its value." After an initial analysis of the water, it was found to have a medicinal effect, particularly in the case of diseases of the excretory organs, which improved after ''baths'' in this marvelous water. In 1929 the Geological Institute declared the spring water to be medicinal water.

The Salgótarján mining company, which was prospecting for coal seams, removed the drill pipes after the thermal spring had been excavated and replaced them with 203 mm steel pipes. Later it turned out that this was not a good decision, because the metal started to decay after only a few years. This is when the plan to line the well with Larch, which can withstand the damaging effects of water, was conceived and later partially implemented.

To harness the medicinal water, a very simple bath was first built, in which more than a thousand people could have a bath in the first year. A few years later, a 30-metre-long, 14-metre-wide concrete pool was ready for use. At that time, the aim was to create a thermal spa that would also provide medical care, building on the medicinal waters.

The spa was attractive even in its 'primitive' state, as the then head of the forest estate of the Pécs episcopal manor, Andor Kolossváry - the man who dreamed the Sikonda spa - said. "Its lovely wooden huts, surrounded by unadulterated ancestral nature. Here, I can walk freely under the century-old trees, enjoy the beauty of nature in all its splendour, forget that a few kilometres away, life is already bustling, the air is polluted by the smoke of chimneys."

So many guests, so few rooms

150529.jpgOn 15 July 1930, the spa hotel, the main attraction of Sikonda, was opened according to the plans of architect Andor Pilch. Where were those little wooden huts by that time? According to the newspaper articles, "... with its comfortable, modern rooms, restaurants, beer lounge, games rooms and lobby, it is a match for any world spa resort.”

On the ground floor of the building were two huge restaurants, smoking rooms, a shunt, a lounge, a wide entrance and a lobby. The hotel was also equipped with central heating and was furnished with modern amenities to meet the needs of guests in every respect.

VF_26674.jpgThe baths were then still officially owned by the church, and the construction required the consent of the chapter. For the opening ceremony, His Eminence Ferenc Virágh, Bishop of Pécs, celebrated a mass in the small chapel, which had been built for this purpose.

In 1933, Sikonda received the international quality certificate for medical spa facilities followed by a few years of undesturbed bathing. After 1945, times were very different. In 1948, the hotel became a mining sanatorium, but the spa remained a popular destination. The number of pools in front of the sanatorium grew rapidly, and the town's own beach was created.

VF_2013_342_2.jpgSikonda was often the subject of local newspaper articles, with well-informed journalists referring to the spa as a summer sensation for Pécs residents. It was no wonder that the Baranya County spa became fashionable, with hundreds and hundreds of people seeking recreation and relaxation every day. In the 1960s, rumours spread that the thermal waters were not as warm as they used to be. This rumour was repeatedly denied by the spa operator. The unsolicited rumours were probably fuelled by new wells being drilled, although new ones, drilled next to earlier wells, produced water as warm as before.

Nowadays, guests of a spa hotel still enjoy the positive effects of thermal water.

Borbála Water

As an interesting side note, there is another spring in the area. An other thermal water source was found on the Altáró road in the 1950s. In 1960, it was already supplying the baths of the Kossuth Mining Company. After the decline of the mining industry, the organisation responsible for the mine property decided to do something with the precious thermal water, and came up with the idea of marketing it as mineral water. The high quality water, with a significant fluoride content, was awarded the mineral water status. However, the water, named as 'Borbála Water'– referring to the mining industry, as St. Barbara is the patron saint of miners –  never made it to the shelves because the funding attempts to set up a bottling company failed.

translated by László Gönczi


Fürdőélet Sikondán In: Dunántúl, 1932. augusztus (22. évfolyam, 173-196. szám) 1932-08-14 / 184. szám.

Virág Ferenc megyéspüspök vasárnap tábori szentmisét mondott Sikondán és felszentelte az új szállót In: Dunántúl, 1930. július (20. évfolyam, 146-172. szám) 1930-07-22 / 164. szám.

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