Piešťany jaunts

Famous Piešťany Spa
Piešťany is known world wide for its Spa that focuses on the treatment for illnesses of the human muscular-skeletal systems. The fi rst spa houses, Napoleonic Baths used till the present time, were built at the beginning of the 19th century. But the real upsurge of the Spa came after the Winter family rented it.
Thanks to the Winters, the Spa became internationally known and respected. The Piešťany Spa is a modern complex with hotels and treatment premises in the picturesque surroundings of Spa Island as well as in the town centre. A body of historic objects can be found at Spa Island such as the spa hotel Thermia Palace
or balneal therapy house Irma, both built in the Art Nouveau Style. These are genuine architectural jewels of the Spa. Balnea centre – a modern complex with the hotels Balnea Esplanade, Balnea Palace, Balnea Splendid and Balnea Grand dominates the northern part of Spa Island.

In the footsteps of yore
Beautiful views are offered to everyone who climbs the Kostelec Hill that towers over the village of Ducové. It was the seat of a Great Moravian lord from the middle of the 9th century till the 10th century AD. The bygone times are recalled by the restored walls of a rotunda, living quarters and farm premises – all is encircled by a restored palisade fortifi cation. This archaeological landmark is located some 7km north-east of Piešťany. The Ducové Rotunda belongs to the Museum of Balneology in Piešťany as one of its expositions. The locality is a National Cultural Memorial.

Pictures from a village
At the Low Carpathian’s foothills, some 5km from Piešťany, spreads the village of Krakovany. There you can fi nd a private ethnographic museum behind the Krakovany Gates. If you are interested in what is hidden behind the museum doors, you’ll be welcomed and allowed to peek into the past. The whole museum exposition documents not only the lives of the Krakovany residents but also the neighbouring villages. The equipment and tools used in agriculture, food preparation as well as for homestead and domestic work are displayed there.

About the journeys of a great explorer
If you visit the more than 600 year old town of Vrbové, you meet its rich history with every step you take. Among important historical and cultural memorials, you will fi nd the St. Martin Church built in the Gothic Style in 12th century, the “Leaning Tower” of Vrbové – the bell tower with a 99cm shift from its axis (1835), Lutheran Church (1929) or Jewish Synagogue (1883) built in the Oriental Style. A modern church (1997) with a capacity for 1000 people consecrated to St. Gorazd, the fi rst Slovak Saint, is also interesting to see. Apart from these memorials in Vrbové, you can also admire the manor house built at the end of the 17th century in the Renaissance Style. The famous explorer and adventurer Móric Beňovský´s forefathers built it, he was born there in 1746. The noble manor is located in the street at Námesti slobody (Freedom Plaza) and Beňovského ulica (Beňovský Street) junction. It used to be the seat of the First Slovak Bank, later it served as a school for apprentices. It became the Town of Vrbové’s estate after WW II. After its reconstruction, it was used for cultural purposes like town library and historical exposition.

In the waters of Sĺňava
The water reservoir Sĺňava came into existence at the end of the 50´s of the last century when the Váh River was dammed. Thanks to climatic conditions tied to the thermal springs, Sĺňava belongs to the most important winter resting places for the water birds in Slovakia. Several thousand pairs of Black-headed Gulls nest on Bird Island in the middle of Sĺňava every year which can be seen during a boating trip. It is also interesting that the fi rst nesting of Caspian Gulls and Common  Gulls in Slovakia is tied to this place. However, the most interest belongs to the nesting colony of the Eurasian Kingfi sher. The majestic Mute Swans which gather under the Colonnade Bridge are a real attraction for the tourists. Wild ducks join them during the winter months. Sĺňava was declared a protected area in 1980.

From military history

The Military History Museum, part of the Military History Institution, can be found at the premises of the former air force airport in Piešťany. The exposition displays the military equipment of the Czechoslovak Army from 1945 till 1992. Over its huge area, the Museum gives its visitors the opportunity to look at more than a hundred pieces of heavy and light equipment as well as planes and helicopters. They are displayed in open air and in three former air force hangars.

How the castle masters lived
Just above the village of Beckov, on a 70m high cliff at 245m above sea level spreads the monumental ruins of a former border guarding castle. It was already mentioned in Anonymous Chronicle from 13th century AD. Originally it was a castle built in the Gothic Style, later it was rebuilt in the Renaissance Style. Everyone of its masters (Mathias Csaky from Trenčín, the Ctibor family or Bánfi clan) made several signifi cant construction changes. Today, we can only admire its conserved ruins due to the 1729 fi re. The Beckov Castle is the National Cultural Memorial.

Fishing or adrenalin?

If you take the turning in Piešťany towards Veľké Orvište, the information panel next to the village church would lead you to Bašovce Pond. Your visit of this place would become a nice experience if you are looking for relaxation or sports and entertainment. For the more quiet, it offers fi shing, the school of fi shing for children and beginners and sitting in a stylish fi sherman environment. And for those more daring, a rope track, the only one in Slovakia suspend above the water, offers plenty of excitement. Those who desire a “taste” of sports and adrenalin can choose from 22 sections with hurdles of varied diffi culty and fastidiousness over a 429m distance. Sports people and devotees of exhilaration will surely be satisfied.

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