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The lake of Heviz – a good source of life

Updated on January 25, 2016

Heviz – a short introduction

Heviz is a nice settlement near Lake Balaton (6 kilometers away) on the Western part of Hungary in Zala county. This town is one of the most significant medicinal and touristic centers of the country. Heviz is popular for its unique lake that is the biggest thermal lake on the world that lies on a turf basin. The Lake of Heviz is surrounded by beautiful woods, so the lake is not good only for medical purposes, but it is an ideal environment for relaxation as well.

The town is beautiful, clean and friendly – the local people put a great emphasis on culture and serving tourists.

Nowadays the spa is part of the world’s cultural heritage.

From the capital, Budapest, Heviz can be reached by car (on the M7 highway) or by bus from the biggest cities. /GPS coordinates: N46° 47.434' E17° 11.069'./

Where can you find Heviz on the map?

Heviz on video

The Lake of Heviz

The size of the lake is 4,44 ha and is surrounded by 50 ha woods. It is heated by geometric energy, so the lake is always gently warm, the temperature is around 30-35°C in summer, and the thermometer never goes under 23°C in winter. The complete water in the lake is changed naturally, every 85 hours by the many springs that provide the material-rich content. The water is drained through the channel of Heviz and Zala river into Lake Balaton.

Most of the visitors (more than 100.000 in a year) come here to relax and enjoy the many positive effects of the water that is filled with medicinal water rich minerals, especially in sulphur, calcium- and magnesium-containing hydrogen-carbonate. Patients with rheumatic and motorial diseases can find their cure here. Inflammations and pains can also be reduced by bathing in the water. The little drifts in the lake help to improve circulation as well; they give gentle massage to the patient.

Psychical regeneration is provided by the floating feeling, bathing in the water and the nice environment in the woods, and this can further help the cure of the patient.

Microscopic organisms in the lake

There are many important microorganisms in the lake that make this water unique on the world. The gentle temperature and the chemical composition of the water provide home for several species of microbacteria that can only be found in this lake.

You must know that due to the chemicals and reduced sulfuric compounds dissolved in the oxygen-rich springs that fill up the lake the water is slightly radioactive. These provide a perfect environment for the upper mentioned microorganisms that can help patients to have their problems cured.

In the Lake for example the following bacteria can surely by found (microbiologists will love this):

  • Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae);
  • Thiothrix ;
  • Beggiatoa ;
  • Actinomycetes ;
  • Micromonospora heviziensis (protein and cellulose decomposer bacteria that can only be found in this water – the species got their name from the lake);
  • Chlorella (green algae);
  • Rotatorias ;
  • Nematoda .

The short, modern history of the lake

The medicinal effects of the lake are known since the early Roman era, and the lake was first mentioned in a written source around the 17th century.

The modern history of the Lake of Heviz began in the middle of the 18th century, when the lake and its surroundings became the property of the Festetics family. This family realized the curative effects of the water; therefore they wanted to build a spa here. But in fact, substantive development only began in 1868, when the new generation of the Festetics family started to build suitable accommodation not only for themselves but for guests as well. After the building project was finished, the bath looked more or less similar to the building nowadays.

In the beginning of the 20th century a brewery owner became the new tenant of the territory and he recognized the financial potential of the lake, so he started to erect new buildings next to the spa: hotels, restaurants and shopping places. With his help many famous doctors started to work here who later founded several buildings for different therapies.

During the two World Wars the invading armies used the place as a hospital, then a period of state ownership came in 1948. After that time new machinery were bought and the bath became very popular again.

In 1986 several buildings burnt down in a fire, but those were soon reconstructed and the bath complex became even more attractive to visitors.

Programs and attractions in Heviz

In each year there is at least one beer or wine festival organized in the city that accompanied by interesting and colorful cultural programs. In the heart of the city there are many exhibitions held and in the local sports centre there are many sports events organized that can entertain the visitors.

In the woods and parks that surround the lake and the city there are many opportunities for a great walk (for example you can visit a stone church built in the early 13th century) or you can even go on a bicycle tour.

Nice places you may want to visit:

  • the upper mentioned stone church from the 13th century in Egregy;
  • protected woods, park and marshland;
  • Schulhof esplanade;
  • Holy Spirit Catholic church;
  • wine cellars;
  • the Nymphae well in the center of the city, in front of the town hall;
  • statue park;
  • historical villas.

Video to help you decide to visit this place:

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© Copyright 2012-2014, Zsofia Koszegi-Nagy (zsobig)

© 2010 Sophie

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    • zsobig profile image

      Sophie 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks a lot, I hope once you will have the opportunity to visit this place - I love it! :)

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      This is a great hub. If you join the HubMob contest last month (September,2010), I'm sure this could have won a daily o even weekly prize. Rated it up!