széchenyi bath

There is hardly anything better than visiting the famous Hungarian thermal and medicinal waters during the cold winter, and luckily, the country has no opponents as far as the number of these baths is concerned. reports that it is not only medicinal waters in which Hungary is abundant but in anecdotes concerning these establishments, as well. Let’s check out some of these amusing legends that you most probably have not heard of before.

1. Lake Hévíz and the girl who is only remembered for her face

There are many fabulous stories related to Lake Hévíz, one of which is the story of Sándor Rezi who fell in love with the daughter of the castle’s master. He saw his beloved lady every day leaning on her elbow and staring out of the window, and he was so amazed by her beautiful face, that he even fought for this dear woman.

However, when they could eventually meet, he realised that the reason why the lady was sitting so much in the window was that she was paralysed. The legend goes that the young couple settled down on the coast of Lake Hévíz, that was advised to them by a fortune teller gipsy woman, and, miracle of miracles, the lady recovered after bathing much in the lake.


2. Gellért bath and the mysterious hermit

This legend tells about a strange hermit living in one of the caves of Gellért Hill who was also considered to be a witch doctor. His patients came to a hot spring at the foot of the hill where the hermit cured them by using his mystical curing method.

Until the 19th century, the hotspring was quite silty, that is why it was considered to be effective as medicinal water.

The 1st thermal bath set up in this place was in the 13th century until which the hot spring was accessible to everyone. And if you would wonder what stands today in this place, it is no surprise that it is the Gellért Thermal Bath. 🙂

3. Széchenyi Bath and the hippopotami

There is quite a common rumour in Budapest that the water of the Széchenyi Bath is used by the Budapest Zoo, too, to fill up the pools of the hippopotami. It is an interesting legend, but is it true? 🙂

In fact, it is. The 2 hippopotami, Tücsök and Jusztina (daughter and mother), currently living in the Zoo, also enjoy the benefits of the medicinal water just like human beings.

Furthermore, both the inside and the outside pools of the animals can be filled up with this water. The water pipe, connecting the two establishments, was already built before the war, but it does not mean that the Zoo only uses this water every time they have to fill up the pools of the animals. In fact, the zookeepers also have to add some cold water, since the temperature of the thermal water is around 70 °C that would be too hot for the animals.

Széchenyi Bath in Budapest

4. Hajdúszoboszló and the sea

Around 100 years ago, people were searching for natural gas in Hajúszoboszló, and during one of these drillings, besides natural gas, water erupting from deep down also came to the surface. This was referred to as “hot gold” which had a distinctive smell and brown colour.

At that time, women washed their clothes in pitholes and since they stood in them for quite a long time, they discovered easily that muscular pain was lessened thanks to it.

The legend goes that the local government was also informed about the discovery, and that is why they started to examine the minerals and the other components of the water. Later on, science also proved that the empirical experience of the people was right. Furthermore, thanks to the concentration of salt in the thermal water, it is seen as 5-time diluted seawater.


5. Rudas Thermal Bath and the Turkish people

Turkish people referred to the Rudas Thermal Bath as “the bath of green columns” as green columns were standing in the bath as sorts of decoration. However, as far as the origin of its name is concerned, it is still much debated. One legend says that it was named after a ship pole, as there was a harbour opposite to the bath at that time.

Another theory mentions that it is also possible that colloquial speech only simplified the expression “Rudna ilidzse” used by the Serbs, which means mineral bath.


6. Harkány and the devil in love

The foundation of the town of Harkány has a number of legends among which we find one about how its hot spring came to the surface, too. Everything started when the devil fell in love with a beautiful girl, called Harka, and wanted to get married to her.

He was decent enough to ask for her hand from her mother, who was not particularly happy with the idea of the devil becoming her son-in-law.

She figured out, however, that she would only agree with this marriage if he carries away the nearby stone mountain until morning. The devil was on the point of finishing the test when the mother of Harka started to crow, and all the other cocks in the neighbourhood joined her. The devil was frightened and believing that it was already morning, he escaped under the ground. In that place, sulphur water surfaced, and that is called the famous Thermal Bath of Harkány these days.


7. Lake Gyopáros and the miraculous water

Lake Gyopáros (or as locals call it, Gyopi) is not so far from Orosháza. Its miraculous healing power was discovered by ordinary people who first used the water for soaking hemp and bathing horses before discovering the magical power of the water.


In the summer, patients came on carriages from all parts of the Great Hungarian Plain to dig a pit and sit there for all they long. Doctors also got amazed by the miraculous recovery of people, and they started to recommend this treatment to their patients. That is why the lake was called “Miracle Lake”. Later on, chemists also proved with thorough research the unique composition of the water, that is high in potassium, sodium, iron and iodine.

Featured image:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.