Sliac Spa is “the Spa of Your heart”
In this time of hyper-modern cutting-edge technology, people are increasingly returning to something that has been all around us for millions of years and even the most modern technology cannot replace or explain all its processes. Yes, the answer is nature. Even the best scientists on the planet have still not understood every detail of its processes, laws and functioning. Its effect on people can be felt in different ways, and we know that its strength can be enormous. Its capacity for regeneration is breath-taking. Just as it is able to regenerate itself, it can help and treat people with the same power, even though we often treat it disrespectfully. At Sliac Spa we have the greatest respect for nature and its gifts and for this reason our core philosophy is:
Harmony of body and mind in the unique relationship between the human and nature and its healing resources.
The immense powers of the spa springs at Sliac Spa have already helped to treat thousands of satisfied guests. One of the best known was the composer Jan Cikker, who believed that Sliac Spa’s treatments had brought him back to life and restored his will to live:“I feel as if I was born two times. The first time in 1911 in Banska Bystrica and the second time in Sliac in 1958, when no medicine would work on my back and I had lost faith in the cure that I had had such high hopes of. It was a strange, joyful and victorious feeling, when I regained my interest in life and started living again.”
History and architecture
The spa town of Sliac is one of the most interesting places in the Hron valley. Its history began in the second century of our era. Several archaeological excavations have confirmed the finding that it was one of the first places to be settled by Slavic tribes. During the middle ages two settlements developed in the area – Hajniky and Rybare – which remained independent until they were incorporated to form Sliac in 1959.
The present day Sliac Spa has been famous for over 770 years for the therapeutic benefits of its unique mineral springs. The noteworthy thermal and mineral springs in the swampy meadows and hillsides above the village of Rybare had already attracted the attention not just of local people but also scholars and writers for some time. Superstitious people worried about the unexplained sudden deaths of birds and animals near the springs. The carbon dioxide that emerged from the spring and flooded the surrounding area was a mystery even to scholars in earlier times.
Amongst the local people there is a story that at the site where the spa now stands there used to be a pool of warm water, where an older woman suffering from oedema used to go to soak flax. After she soaked her legs in the pond, they came out less swollen. She repeated this several times until she was completely healed. Through stories like this, it became known that the water at Rybare had healing powers.
The oldest written record of the springs at Sliac dates from 1244, when King Bela IV raised Zvolen to the status of a free royal town. The description of the area includes a reference to mineral springs that the local inhabitants then called Teplice (which means "warm springs"). According to contemporary accounts, the first guests came to take the waters at Rybare for relaxation and healing in the second half of the 17th century. The waters’ medicinal properties were officially recognised in the 18th century.
Their good reputation caused them to develop very rapidly. Dozens of new buildings were put up, parks and gardens were laid out and the spa received thousands of satisfied visitors. Their good name travelled beyond the borders of Hungary and it became a saying that "Your heart feels best at Sliac".
The foundation stone of a single storey spa building was laid in 1818. Inside were four pools. They were filled by a wooden trough directly from the Spa Spring, whose water was used without any artificial treatment for all therapeutic and rehabilitation procedures. In addition, the first spa hotel for travelling guests was built. Initially called Buda, it is now known as Bratislava. Hotel Bratislava was commissioned by the Zvolen County administration in 1812. It was a modern building for its time on one floor with four rooms, a hall, two kitchens and four storerooms. The second floor was added in 1889 and two years later Hotel Buda was linked by a wooden terrace at the level of the first floor with the Hotels Pest (later Detva) and Hungaria (later Slovensko). The Bratislava is the oldest hotel at Sliac and the birthplace of the treatments that are the foundation of the spa's worldwide reputation.
SPA HOTEL PALACE***
When the Palace complex was built, Sliac Spa was just a small spa town. In 1922, it was bought by the Czechoslovak state. The new buildings in the Palace complex were designed by the Prague architect, Rudolf Stockar. The development would include a range of rooms for social functions and dining on the edge of the spa complex. The architect also made plans for the spa centre and the spa master plan. Only a fraction of these plans was implemented. The plans later had to be revised to incorporate hotel accommodation. The result was a 240 m functionalist building which is now seen as an integrated unit and which has become the main building of the spa.
The complex is divided up into an accommodation unit, restaurants, cafés and a service section. The architect planned every detail of the building and its fit-out to emphasise functionality, including the furniture and the coffee pots. Although the original plans were not fully implemented, the architectural work is very valuable. The professional community recognised its importance immediately. The architectural magazine Slovensky stavitel dedicated a special issue to it in 1932.
At present the whole of Spa Hotel Palace is listed in the DOCO-MOMO register of functionalist architecture. It is considered to be one of Rudolf Stockar’s masterworks. In 1998 the Palace complex was declared a national cultural heritage monument. When it opened, Spa Hotel Palace was one of the most luxurious spa hotels in the country. It has never undergone a comprehensive renovation since it was first built and it is therefore possible to see many historic details including the original windows and furniture.
Natural healing resources
There is nowhere in the world with mineral springs that have a natural isothermal temperature and such a high carbon dioxide content as those at Sliac. A constant temperature of 33.2°C, and the highest possible concentration of carbon dioxide are unique benefits that patients experience during a stay at our spa.
The Spa Spring
rises directly under the Spa Building and is used in all spa treatments without any artificial modifications. The water is mineralised with sulphate, hydrogen carbonate, magnesium and calcium. It contains large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and has a constant temperature of 33.3°C. The spring can produce around 5 litres of water and 10 litres of spring gas every second. The spring’s high levels of CO2 and noble gases are highly valued by doctors because of their incomparable benefits for the organism. Sliac is the only Slovak spa that uses natural spring gas in its treatments and not artificially made gas.The Stefanik Spring
(formerly Jozef) is the coldest spring, with high levels of carbon dioxide and iron. It assists digestion and relieves anaemia. It was first mentioned in written sources in 1595. It was originally named after Archduke Jozef Habsburg, who came here to take the waters. In the second half of the nineteenth century water from this spring was bottled and sold for medicinal uses throughout Austria-Hungary.The Bystrica
(originally Dorothea) Spring is recommended for stomach diseases. At first it was an ordinary well protected by railings at ground level. Spa guests and other visitors drew water from it by lowering a cup on a long cord into the well. A pump was later installed on the well to draw water and it was distributed to guests by girls.The Lenkey Spring
can help to relieve diseases of the eyes and thyroid gland. It first appears in written sources in the second half of the fifteenth century. Until the surface was regulated, it gave off highly dangerous poisonous fumes because the spring emerged in a small cave where the carbon dioxide could become highly concentrated.The Adam spring
is used to treat bladder diseases. This spring was regulated in 1834 by Acacius Lenkey, a naturalist and admirer of Sliac’s natural beauties.
Diagnoses that are treated Sliac SpaI. Oncological diseases
II. Circulatory system diseases
VII. Musculoskeletal diseases
XI. Gynaecological diseases
The spa has a vital role in the treatment of chronic diseases and provides unforeseeable benefits. It is also an excellent means of disease prevention. Most of the population undervalues balneotherapy and prefers pharmaceuticals with all their side effects, even though they are ultimately more expensive than spa treatments. Spas are often the last thing people try, after everything else has failed. Do not underestimate the healing power of nature, whose unique value has stood for centuries.
Sliac Spa is situated in an extensive 46 ha park. The dominant building of the spa complex is the Spa Hotel Palace***, now a national cultural heritage monument designed in a Functionalist style by the Czech architect Rudolf Stockar. The complex includes a café, two dining rooms, a restaurant, a 350-seat theatre and a function suite with bar as well as 376 beds. The spa complex also includes two spa houses, a swimming pool with thermal spring water, tennis courts and English-style gardens that connect seamlessly with a large forest park. The forest is well cared for and is filled with colours in every shade, especially during the summer. Marked "heart trails" guide walkers throughout the park. The spa park includes examples of rare trees and shrubs that cannot be found elsewhere growing freely in such numbers. If you get tired of walking under the poplar and linden alleys, you can relax by the cascade pools or observe the local wildlife. The park grew as the spa developed, by landscaping the area around and between the buildings as a regular park. The spa park at Sliac is a balm for the soul. You will benefit from the positive energy of nature and a sense of absolute peace, which will bring harmony to your body and mind.
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Famous spa guests
Many important personalities have come to Sliac Spa for treatment and been cured over the years. Many of those who visited the spa produced a part of their work here. For many of them, Sliac Spa was not just a place to recover lost health but also inspiration for their art. For others, the spa gave them energy to go on in creative work.
Jan Cikker, who was leading Slovak modernist composer and music teacher stayed at Sliac Spa regularly from 1958 after he was struck by a severe illness. He came to the spa not only for treatment but also to work. It was a place where he felt at home. He dedicated his opera Mister Scrooge to Sliac Spa as an expression of gratitude.
“I feel as if I was born two times. The first time in 1911 in Banska Bystrica and the second time in Sliac in 1958, when no medicine would work on my back and I had lost faith in the cure that I had had such high hopes of. It was a strange, joyful and victorious feeling, when I regained my interest in life and started living again. Sliac and its water have a vital function for me and my life. I really need this environment and the tender touch and embrace of Sliac.”
The Czech writer and collector of folk tales, Bozena Nemcova, was treated at Sliac and according to a local tradition she got the idea for her story “Salt over Gold” from a tale told to her by one of the older servants. Her stay also inspired her work “The village at the foot of the hills”. She was enchanted by her first visit to Sliac Spa. At the very start of her stay she wrote to a friend: “Sliac Spa is doing me good, even though I have only bathed four times. That day alone was really very, very pleasant. When I lay down under the acacias on the peak and looked out over the beautiful landscape towards the Hron, I couldn't wish for anything more than to have you by my side...” (Letters of Bozena Nemcova, Prague 1952).
In 1885 – 1886, Queen Natalia of Serbia visited Sliac Spa with Crown Prince Alexander, her ladies in waiting and her own doctor and servants. They stayed in the building that is now the Hotel Detva, where they took eight rooms and had their own kitchen. In anticipation of her arrival, a special copper bath was ordered from craft workers in Banska Stiavnica.
In summer 1855, the Archduchess Hildegard, wife of Field Marshall Albrecht Habsburg, was treated at Sliac Spa. She stayed in the house of Mrs Tokoly, known as the Amalienhof. In gratitude for her treatment during her eight weeks at the spa, he had a chapel built near the mineral water springs and it bears her name to this day.
Other major personalities to visit Sliač include the King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, the Enlightenment scholar Matej Bel, Palatine Jozef Habsburg, Queen Natalia of Serbia, the Hungarian revolutionary Lajos Kossuth, the Austrian dramatist and poet Franz Grillparzer, the poets Jan Kollar, Andrej Sladkovic, P. O. Hviezdoslav, Ludmila Podjavorinska; Roman Catholic priests – Stefan Zahorsky, Jozef Kacka; literary and cultural theorist Dr. Jozef Skultety, poet and literary critic Dr. Stefan Krcmery, writers – Ferdinand Gabaj, Jan Smrek, Pavol Horov, Mikulas Huba, Janko Jesensky, J. C. Hronsky, Terezia Vansova, B. S. Timrava, E. M. Soltesova, Stefania Partosova; French writer Rene Picard, Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, Czech comedian Vlasta Burian, politician and priest Jozef Tiso, the first president of the Czechoslovak Republic T. G. Masaryk, politician and diplomat Dr. Eduard Benes, Soviet ruler Nikita Khrushchev, the president of Czechoslovakia, General of the Army Ludvik Svoboda; painters and illustrators – Janko Alexy, Ludovit Fulla, Martin Benka; the folk artist brothers Jan and Martin Santrirar, composer – Alexander Moyzes; actor Julius Pantik amongst many others.
To finish, some beautiful lines by Slovakia’s most famous poet, P. O. Hviezdoslav:
“How blissful, how peaceful, to be in beauteous Sliac. Stop running and flying, just for a while. Listen to that bird song, welcoming us from every side; see how the branches – like old friends
Wave to us, entice us with sweet scents, while the spring babbles below them... Stay, stay, just for a while Why worry about the time? Soon you will be healthy enough – and head home with pangs of separation...”