If you drive through the village Santovka, you will smell a characteristic sulphurous aroma. It is a side effect of mineral water which you can not only drink, but also take a bath in.
The village Santovka appears in written documents as early as in the 13th century, but it was settled in the Neolithic period already. It is an important archaeological site of various ancient cultures, for example the Maďarovská culture. The mineral water spring has been known since the second half of the 16th century; since 1742, the spa was used for treating rheumatic, heart, intestinal, kidney, blood, and neural diseases. The industrial bottle-filling station was built after 1945.
The development of spa in these mineral springs occured thanks to the landowner Karol Šomodi, who had the first spa house and changing room built in 1864. Based on the analyses from 1887, the Santovka water was recognized as mineral water by a decree of the ministry. Over the years, the spa changed owners, who improved the spa. In 1899, Daniel Kavický had the Lower Spa (Dolný kúpeľ) built, which people started calling the Glass Spa (Sklenený kúpeľ) due to its glass roof. Later, when the spring became clogged, the Upper Spa (Horný kúpeľ) was added.
During the period starting in 1948, the spa was ruined and reconstructed, but it was also losing its rate of flow. The new well was made in 1957. In the 60’s, the pool for swimming and the children’s pool, the restaurant, the cottage site and the camping were added. The last significant change took place in 1989, when the swimming pool’s management was transferred to the municipality; and in 1998, when the last well was drilled, which has been used to this day. Since 2001, the thermal water pool has had a private owner.
The water is still excellent. Water temperature suits better hardier people and offers refreshment especially during heat. The transparent, turquoise water in bright white travertine rocks amidst greenery regenerates the body and offers a pleasant sight. Also pleasing are massage jets, spraying water from the travertine block. During the summer season starting in May and during good weather until the end of September, the outer pools are operational. They are supplied exclusively with the thermal natural water directly from the geothermal spring, located on the site of the pool. The Santovka geothermal water springs with the temperature 27 °C. It is in its natural form when it is in balance and has positive effects for health and human organism. The pool for swimming, measuring 50 x 15 m with the depth of 1.6-2.5 m, is designated for swimmers for active swimming. The family pool measuring 15 x 15 m with the depth of 1.4 – 1.6 m, is designated for non-swimmers, parents with children or for games with water toys. The children’s pool, measuring 25 x 10 m with the depth of 50 cm maximum, is designated for children up to 10 years. The little sitting travertine pools in the style of Turkish “pamukkale” provide excellent relaxation.
The Filagoria in the Spa Park
There is a former spa park near the swimming pool and in it there is a Filagoria (garden gazebo). The park used to be the centre of the cultural, social and spa life until as late as the 1970’s. Its adjusted surroundings served for dance parties, promenades and sports events. There is a statue of John of Nepomuk from 1781 in it. It is located in the park above the Filagoria. The Filagoria – a wooden pavilion with rich decorations inspired by the Orient – was originally constructed as an exhibition pavilion for mineral waters at the Budapest exhibition in 1885. In 1993, it was added to the list of cultural monuments.
The Travertine Hill
When you visit Santovka, maybe you too will look for the travertine hill, mentioned in all travel guides. Don’t look for a huge hill of white stones as I did. Near the bus stop, there is a rock formation with two taps, from which the mineral water springs directly from the stone. Even if you bought mineral water in bottles on the company premises as a keepsake, tap some here directly from the spring. This is proper sour water!