SOVATA, A TRADITIONAL SETTLEMENT
Sovata is one of the youngest settlements of the region known as Szekelyfold (Szekely Land) - it came into being in the period 1578-1582. Its first mentioning in the records is dated 13th September 1578, its first settlers were salt-guards – salt-mining being an important factor of development in the entire region.
There are three small settlements that belong to Sovata: Iliesi - a linear settlement located at a distance of 5 km of Sovata in the Juhod valley ; Capeti - that lies 553 m high at the Kopac mountain-side, to the right of the Sovata river ; Sacadat - a typical linear village North of Sovata, situated in the valley of the Sovata river and the Sacadat brook.
The first officially authorized medical bath in Sovata used to be the famous Gera Bath. Its creator, at the same time the founder of the modern bathing resort of Sovata was Veress Jozsef(1817-18889), who realized that the saline springs in Sovata are of exceptional value and must not be left unexploited. He organized the bathing establishment with amazing skill and intelligence, inspired by the baths of Corund, widely famous at the time. In 1872 he built the Gera Bath with great ingeniousity : the water of the salt fountain at the foot of the Zoltan plateau was directed through wooden ducts into two enormous tanks, from there the water flowed into the bathing basin and the tubs. In 1876 the Gera was already an officialy registered authorized bath. Back then, the bath consisted of an open basin divided in two separate parts for men and women, 6 cabins and tubs carved out of willow. When Veress Jozsef died in 1889, there were already 28 cabins and 11 tubs in operation.
Treatment at the Gera was extremely efficient – unbelievable as it may seem, 21 kinds of different diseases could be treated there, for example rheumatic diseases, nervous prostration, diseases of the womb and its appendices, rachitis, anaemia, incipient arteriosclerosis, and it also proved to be efficient in the treatment of overweight people.
The Gera Bath functioned until 1969, ultimately being destroyed by the 1970 floods that caused significant damage in other parts of the town as well.
Situated in a beautiful picturesque environment featuring magnificent salt rocks and forests, the Ursu Lake formed between 1875-1881, was left unexploited during the first few years of its existence. However, at the end of the 19th century Sófalvi Illyés Lajos recognized that the future of Sovata lay in the Ursu Lake. After purchasing the rights for its exclusive use, in 1894 he built the first villa on the Southern side of the lake and in 1901 officially founded the Upper-Sovata Bath. In 1902 he became owner of the Gera Bath too.
The fast development of the bathing resort was facilitated by the building of a county road connecting the spa and Sovata village, and the construction of the railway line in 1906 which ensured much easier access to Sovata as well as neighbouring Praid. In 1910 the length of the promenades already exceeded 7 km, and a large number of wooden villas, hotels, restaurants, a casino and dance-hall were built in the proximity of the Ursu Lake. Another attraction of the Sovata spa was the daily performance of a military band that played between 8-10 am, respectively 5-7 p.m in the park of the resort.
After WW I the Illyes-bath was purchased by the National Peasant Party - they founded the Sovata Bath Corporation, with famous balneologist Dr.Marius Sturza as its supervisor and health director between 1926-1940. The contribution of Dr.Marius Sturza to the development of the spa was of great importance : the therapeutical base severely damaged during WW I was rebuilt under his guidance, he also introduced modern therapeutical methods as water cure and physiotherapy.
The bathing resort had excellent publicity in the period 1923-1939, when Sovata became one of the most favourite holiday resorts of queen Maria, mother of Romanian king Carol II. She had her own two-storeyed shingle-roofed bathing cabin by Lake Ursu and a beautiful wooden villa nearby Gera Bath.
In 1948 the Sovata Bath Inc.was nationalized, along with about 140 villas in the upper town of Sovata.
In the 1970’es a group of four hotels were built in the close vicinity of Lake Ursu, the new buildings could accomodate a total number of 1100 people, and shared an up-to date medical treatment centre.
Begining with 1990, the bath began to grow into a veritable tourist center, privatization was in progress, although not without difficulties.
Today newly built modern establishments, as well as restored old buildings, elegant and comfortable too, can be found everywhere in Sovata resort. Two of the recently renovated large hotels have their own medical treatment centers, and several residences are endowed with their own indoor swimming pool, sauna, solarium, fitness center, offering excellent conditions for leisure, repose or sports practice.
The preventive, healing and rehabilitation therapies performed in Sovata became known throughout the world, the curently applied therapeutical methods consisting of : salt-water baths, mud-packs, and all forms of physical therapy ( electro-therapy, thermal therapy, water cure and phototherapy, massage, recovery gymnastics, walks ).
Therapy is focused on five categories of diseases:
2.Problems of the endocrine glands
3.Disorders of the nervous system
5.Gynaecological illnesses, especially infertility –best results being achieved in sterility treatment.
Sovata is a town of unique beauty, located in the Salt District of Transylvania (Romania) where turists and visitors are bedazzled by natural treasures as heliotermic salt lakes situated in picturesque dolines, salt and its carstic forms, flowery meadows with trickling streamlets, surrounded by century-old forests.
It is an internationally known health-resort and holiday destination, thanks to its curative salt lakes, most of all the famous Lake Ursu (Bear Lake), recommended for the medical treatment of gynecological, rheumatic, nervous and endocrine diseases, as well as treatment of post-traumatic problems.
Wooden villas abundant in floral motifs, that appear to be an organic part of the local environment – fine examples of the typical mountain architecture – along with modern establishments, excellent accomodation services and highly qualified personnel also recommend Sovata as a holiday destination.
I welcome you to the virtual world of Sovata, hoping information presented on this site will be helpful in getting a better insight into the past and present of Sovata, and attract you to experience the riches of the land and the hospitality of our people first hand.
Fülöp László Zsolt