Piestany history




The Spa history is closely tied with the town history. The first reliable note about Pieštany as spa town dates back to 1549 in Juraj Werner’s De admirandis Hungariae aquis hypomnemation – About remarkable Hungarian waters published in Basel.

In 1682 the Emperor Leopold I took Pieštany and village Banka under his protection following a request from the Hlohovec manor owners (at the time Pieštany belonged to this manor). The first written protection of a spa – Salva Guardia (1682, some Spa covenant was one of the ever written documents in Europe related to spa protection) when a village was relieved from duty to provide lodgings to ruler’s army, forbade to confiscate village horses, cattle, food etc. for the Imperial Army and that had favourable effect on the Spa development.

The first medical specialist in balneology starts to reside and work in Pieštany was František Scherer MD (1805 – 1879); he wrote a Spa monograph. Martin Marschall MD is author of thesis on Pieštany Spa published in German in 1838. Also David Wachtel MD in 1859 wrote about the Spa as well as many others.

The Pieštany Spa natural healing base are: the gypsum-sulphur thermal water with temperature 67 – 69 °C (applied in forms of baths in pools and bath-tubs) and healing sulphur mud (applied in forms of partial or whole-body packs).

The Spa concentrates in treatment of locomotive apparatus illnesses. Pieštany Spa belongs to the most important European spas of its kind and is well known all over the world.


Settlement of the present spa town Pieštany and its surroundings (cadastral areas of contemporary villages Banka, Moravany nad Váhom and Ratnovce) goes well back to prehistoric times when in the neighbouring hot thermal springs the mammoth hunters settled here. This is also proved by archaeological find of Venus from Moravany - a woman plastic carved from mammoth tusk from the younger period of the Older Stone Age.

The first written record about Pieštany (under name Pescan) can by found in the Zobor scroll by Hungarian King Koloman 1st from 1113.

In 1299, 1301 - 1321 Pieštany was part of the Mathias Csaky from Trencín estate, who was nicknamed the Lord of Váh River and Tatra Mountains. After his death, part of his estate was taken by King Charles Robert from Anjou. Pieštany use to be also the king’s property and part of the Tematín Estate. In 1348 King Louis I. donated the Tematín Castle and Estate (along with Pieštany) to Master Nicholas Kont. After the Kont klan died out, Alexej Thurzo acquired the Estate from King Louis II. Administrative activities of this little town are proven by the first letter written in Slovak from 1564 when the Pieštany Mayor Valo Kudlas wrote to Trnava Magistracy.

The most beautiful memory about Pieštany thermal water, spa and life in it was left by Adam Trajan from Benešov in his ode “Healing Pieštany Spa" from 1642.

King Charles VI. gave the Hlohovec Estate (and Pieštany with it) to Ján Leopold Erdody in 1720. The little town Pieštany belonged to Erdody family until 1848 and Spa until 1940. At the beginning of 19th century (around 1820 -1822) Jozef Erdody has built in Classicistic style the first brick spa buildings that were being built and rebuilt during the whole 19th century. Count Erdody have also built the Spa Park.

In 19th century the first expert worked in Spa - balneologist František Ernest Scherer MD, author of the book “On healing springs and spas in Hungary” (Leipzig 1837) who also was the founder of the Military Spa Institute in Pieštany (1863).

The largest Spa boom begun after 1889 when Spa was leased by Winter family from the Erdody´s. During 1889 - 1940 the company Alexander Winter and Sons has changed the Spa into a business of international significance and little town of Pieštany and village Teplice into well known sap town. At the end of the 19th century - in 1894 - the Spa symbol was created - the Crutch-breaker that is even today in the City of Pieštany Coat -of-Arms.

The city statute was given to Pieštany in 1945 after the World War II. The construction of artificial water reservoir Slnava in 1956 - 1959 contributed to tourism, sports and recreational activities development in Pieštany surroundings, as well as construction of Interhotel Magnólia in 1968 and building of the complex spa buildings “Balnea” on Spa Island during 1965 - 1980. The Pieštany town centre is connected to the Spa Island with two bridges. Architecturally interesting Colonnade Bridge serves to pedestrians; Krajinský Bridge (County Bridge) in south is interesting from its technical point of view and is used for transport vehicles.

Many significant personalities from art life lived and worked in Pieštany. Poet Ivan Krasko, writer and drama author Ivan Stodola, writer Gejza Vámoš, graphic artist and painter Aurel Kajlich were among them. During 1932 - 1937 Janko Alexy, famous Slovak painter was trying to establish artists’ colony here; he managed to lure such masters of brush like Martin Benka, Miloš A. Bazovský, Zolo Palugyay, Jozef Kollár, Jozef Ilecko and many others. Two sculptors found here permanent home - Valér Vavro and Ladislav L. Pollák. Painter Ctibor Krcámr’s works remains also precious art heritage. Emil Belluš, famous Slovak architect enriched the town with three objects; especially Colonnade Bridge belongs to the top examples of Functionalistic architectural style. Other significant Pieštany visitors were Emperor František Jozef with spouse Alžbeta (Elisabeth) - popular Sisi, Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand I, German Kaiser Wilhelm II, maharajas from India and Malaysia, presidents and diplomats from various states of the world. We can rank among such famous artists world known painter and posters author Alfonz Mucha, Russian opera singer Fjodor Chaljapin, tenor Richard Tauber and whole array of writer, poets, drama writers, actors and composers. University Professor Karel Domin, author of a book “Pieštany flora” (1931) lived here for longer period.