KRZESZOWICE

-HISTORY OF THE SPA

 
The most significant epoch for the contemporary character of Krzeszowice as the spa was Tertiary period (60-1 million years B.C.), and - to be more specific - the Miocene sea, which flooded Krzeszowicki Trough, created earlier under the influence of Alpine orogenic movements. In specific local conditions on the bottom of the sea, amongst clay, calcium sulphate - i.e. gypsum - precipitated from water. Due to the influence of organic matter in adjoining layers, it became reduced. Further processes resulted in sulphur compound flushing, which - in the form of sulphate -calcium- sulphide waters flow out in Krzeszowice as two springs: "Main" and "Zofia".
The first inscription on using sulphur water was cattle treatment was made by a local parish-priest Father Bernard Bocheński, in the parish chronicle dated 1625. However, the spa's development started in late 18th century, when dr Jan Gotfryd Leonhardi, following the order of Duke August Czartoryski, conducted research on sulphur water features and discovered - and applied in therapy - a spring of ferruginous water. In c.a. 1778 the only sulphur water spring at that time was cased ( "Main Spring"). Probably in the same year the first baths were constructed and the first patients were registered in the next year.
Modern baths construction plans, approved by Duke Czartoryski, were implemented with great energy by Duchess Izabela Lubomirska. In 1788 the spa centre consisted of five small bath cottages, two baths, a hospital and a residence for poor visitors, the palace of "Vauxhall" with entertainment functions and several additional and storage buildings. In the years to come, the Duchess intended to develop the spa considerably, however, this plan was not realised, probably because of the political events (the 2nd and 3rd partition of Poland in 1793 and 1795, Kościuszko Uprising in 1794, the period of Napoleon wars in 1803-15).
The spa doctor in that period was Leopold de Lafontaine, who published the first monograph of the spa in 1789, which included - apart from the spring characteristics - also description of the region.
A further stage of the spa's development began together with Krzeszowice's take-over by Izabela Czartoryska's grandson - Artur Potocki and his wife Zofia neé Branicka in 1816. In 1819, probably at the location of former baths, the so-called "Green Baths" were constructed, after 1858 named as "Zofia Baths". In 1829 Zofia Potocka purchased a piece of land with active sulphur spring and built there a hospital (nowadays called "the Old Hospital"), for curing the employees of the "Tęczyn county". During the October Uprising (1830-31), as Artur Potocki wished, it was a hospital for insurgents seeking refuge in the Republic of Kraków.
1835 was the period of the peak interest in the spa, however, as the years went by, the interest was gradually fading. Only a momentary increase in the spa popularity was noted in 1847; the reason of which was construction of a railway line from Kraków to Mysłowice through Krzeszowice. The Potocki family efforts were moved to development of profitable mining and industry. The decrease of medical service quality followed soon and the spa appliances deteriorated slowly.
After a thorough analysis of the spa in 1858 made by Józef Dietl and presentation of a project for this condition improvement, sanative measures were taken for the spa. The treatment methods were modernised, the necessary repairs to the appliances were made. In 1869 Adolf Aleksandrowicz made new chemical analysis of both springs' sulphur water. In 1875-76 "Green Baths" were thoroughly reconstructed and modernised and in 1877 a new, one-storied residential house for spa visitors was ready for usage. These operations increased considerably interest in Krzeszowice. The situation in the years to follow was similar, till the beginning of the 20th century.
Despite the baths modernisation in 1923 and obtaining the spa status in 1928, during the whole interwar period Krzeszowice had local significance only. During World War II the spa building were used by the Nazis for war purposes and were largely devastated.
After the war several attempt were made to restore spa treatment. In 1964 the spa was reactivated. Two new mineral springs were discovered near the baths: a brine and a sulphur one. In 1966-68 adaptation works were carried in the building of "Zofia" Baths and the centre was partially extended. First patients arrived in 1970 at the Rehabilitation Centre. At the turn of the 70-ties and 80-ties the baths were extended again, this time - towards the south. At present the therapy (in-patient and out-patient) involves patients with rheumatic, neurological and posttraumatic illnesses

 

 
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