A thermal spring which dates back to Roman times, and is currently in a state of disrepair, has been included on a list of best budget spas in Eastern Europe by the Guardian.
The British newspaper placed Băile Herculane, or the Herculane Baths_ a thermal spring resort in southwestern Romania _in an an article which looks at 10 spas in the region, from the Czech Republic to Ukraine.
The paper traces the spring’s history back to when the Romans “put the life-giving waters of Baile Herculane on the map.”
According to local legend, a tired Hercules, the Roman hero, once came to the valley, where he enjoyed a bathe and a rest, which is how the resort got the name.
The paper says that 15 thermal springs, named after Roman deities including Diana and Neptune, were a favorite destination of the Hapsburgs, who built “splendid rococo lodges” there.
Later, Communist authorities added concrete blocks to the building as tourists descended on the resort to take the “sulfur rich waters”
The Guardian says “inflammatory, spinal and neurological conditions can be soothed by ozone therapy, magnet therapy and herbal plant baths, as well as complimentary access to thermal pools and saunas for all package guests.
The Herculane Baths have been the subject of media attention due to the neglected state of the crumbling buildings, which are part of Romania’s national heritage.
Last year, managers announced the buildings would be restored with European Union funds.
The baths were first documented in 153 AD. The first name of the resort was Ad Aquas Herculi Sacras Ad Mediam. It was given by the Romans, meaning the holy waters of Hercules from Ad Mediam.
Described by the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I as „Europe’s most beautiful spa resort,” Herculane was already a favorite spot of the Romans.
Empress Elisabeth, nicknamed Sisi, who made several visits during the 1880s to try to cure her rheumatism in the curative waters and enjoy long walks.
It is one of the only Roman baths that is still used for the same purpose today.
The full list of the Guardian’s selected spa destinations in Eastern Europe can be read here.