What to see in Slovakia
The city of Piestany is the largest and most visited thermal resort in Slovakia. Due to the picturesque nature, the moderate climate and the location in the flatlands of the country, the resort offers ideal natural conditions for year-round relaxation. In winter there is a lot of sun and the summer is dry and relatively cool. This means that guests of the city can travel on the map to new sights in the city and the surrounding area and at the same time have time to complete a rehabilitation course. In Piestany there are not only healing mineral springs, but also mud deposits and even its own salt-iodine cave.
History of the city
Piestany is located in western Slovakia in a hilly and sunny area on the bank of the Váh River. Historians have known the first river settlements since the 12th century, when the Piestans were mentioned in one of the documents found in 1113. The first historical mention of Piestany as a health resort dates back to 1545. Then the medical sources of the settlement in Europe were discussed, they were mentioned in the correspondence of the Czech royal adviser, the doctor of the Austrian emperor and even the pope. It was not until the 18th century that Piestany took on the appearance of a developed town; buildings and hospitals were built. For this reason, the city was even chosen in 1917 as the meeting point of the German emperor with the Austrian neighbor and ruler of Bulgaria for negotiations. And if the Piestany Valley once belonged to the noble family of Count Erdodi, it has now become state property. Now it is a modern and developed balneological resort that offers guests both effective health techniques and a rich entertainment and tourism program.
You can also explore the sights of Piestany without a map, as they are almost one behind the other on Winterova Street. For tourists who want to plan their vacation in advance and compile a list of attractions to visit, the following tips will be helpful.
The balneological museum is the largest and most popular in Piestny. The museum was opened in 1928 on the initiative of the local museum society, the owner of the winter baths and his assistant Vloka. Now the museum attracts tourists with its beautiful building, built in the classicism style, with walkways and picturesque statues along the perimeter of the tracks. Inside, guests can enjoy various exhibitions: an ethnographic collection with samples of the flora and fauna of the area, samples of folk life, clothing and embroidery, archaeological finds, and even reconstructions of the old Piestany farmhouse. There is also an exhibition with German composer Ludwig van Beethoven who visited the resort.
Small botanical garden
For justice, it is worth noting that this is not a classic botanical garden, just a park of gardeners created by enthusiasts. However, the garden is also interesting for the guests of the city. The area is very well maintained with walking paths, flower beds, cut shrubs and rare tree species. The students take care of the park in the gardening school and grow herbs and other interesting plant species here. For example, tourists will be curious to look at a real sequoia tree, stroll through the fragrant rose garden, which has been blooming different varieties of roses since May, and stroll around a small lake with water lilies. Photo exhibitions, painting exhibitions and entertainment events were also held regularly in the botanical garden.
The resort island is a separate part of the city, on the streets of which there are mineral water springs and deposits of healing mud. There are also the most beautiful spa houses. Strolling around the island is a great opportunity for tourists to take in the local architecture. On the island itself there is a picturesque park and in its depth a lake with water lilies. The uniqueness of this place is that there are aquarium fish in the pond and a rare African specimen - Victoria Regia - can be found among the water lilies.
In the middle of the historical center of Piestany, all guests of the city are immediately greeted by a red tower and an elegant building of the Protestant church. These temples are a real decoration of the place. Inside the building there is an ornate altar aisle in an earlier Gothic style with an ornate chair and writing. The chapel is bright and spacious and designed for two hundred wooden benches for parishioners as services are still held here.
Military History Museum
The open-air military museum offers visitors an exhibition of equipment and Czechoslovak weapons from the period of World War II and the following years that ended in 1992. Here you can see tanks from the 45th year, fighter jets, automobiles, armored cars, as well as more modern helicopters and rocket launchers. It is recommended to visit the museum together with the guide who will provide information on each exhibition in fascinating form.
The museum exhibition is dedicated to a prominent Slovak figure - General Milan Rastislav Stefanik. The museum building itself is an exhibition because it is in this house that the future general was born. The fact that the figure of Stefanik is a symbol for the country can already be measured by the fact that the Slovak State Prize was established in his honor. The airport in Bratislava and the observatory in Prague were named after him. Tourists interested in history can learn why General Stefanic is so famous in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, about his life story and mysterious death, what he loved, what he had done in public service and what his life principles were.
The exhibition of the famous cultural figure Ivan Krasko is in his former apartment. The museum was opened in 1976, the memorial bust of the poet is at the entrance and one of the streets of the resort is also named after him. Ivan Krasko went down in history as a Slovak poet and writer who had a great influence on the literature of the Czech and Slovak regions. His collections of poetic works have been translated into many languages and published across Europe.
Villa Dr. Liska
The renaissance villa of Dr. Liska, located on Stefanikov Street in the 20th century, was selected for the city's balneological museum. The museum's exhibition includes: old medical works from the 16th to 17th centuries with engravings and portraits, exhibits from the history of balneology, such as wooden hip baths, medical instruments, photographs illustrating the development of the Piestany spa and other resorts in Slovakia. There are also sections in the exhibition devoted to treatment methods, their development, as well as paintings with landscapes of the most popular and interesting sanatoriums. Of particular interest are rare photos of vacationers and stately hotels that no longer exist today. In a separate room there are regular exhibitions of local masters of fine arts and crafts.
There is a sunny and cozy mansion on Winterova Street, which was built in the 19th century in the architectural style of the magical half-timbered houses. Villas with such a medieval and recognizable frame construction were very popular in Europe. In the years 1850-1900 this type of architecture gained great popularity in the city of Piestany. Many prominent personalities of the city, doctors, scientists, aristocrats, built their houses in the romantic medieval style. Unfortunately, only Villa Leger has survived from the buildings of this type. The symbolic manor house was built for himself by the Austrian master builder Franz Baumgartner. Although he later decided to turn the villa into a guest house with rooms for visitors to the health resort. In 1917 Villa Leger replaced the owner, and the new owner, in whose honor it was named, became the photographer Gustav Leger. In 1951 the mansion was withdrawn to a private company that carried out its restoration. Now it's a hotel.
Interesting for the traveler is not the construction of the water tower itself from the 20th century, but the picturesque location of its location. Even such a technical monument of the holiday complex looks unusually against the hills on the horizon, surrounded by buildings with red tile roofs, a green meadow and a reflective surface of the water. Such a frame makes the tower a real medieval fortress.
One of the most popular recreational areas of the Piestany resort is the Slnava reservoir at the foot of the Povazh Inovec mountains. It is a deep and sunny reservoir with campsites and beaches for recreation. The name was not chosen by chance, as there is a maximum number of sunny days in this area, despite the proximity to the mountains. Lovers of passive recreation can spend whole days sunbathing and swimming here. For the more active guests of the resort, they offer kayaking, water skiing, speed boating and even boat trips. For tourists along the reservoir there are not only pedestrian zones for walks in the evening, but there are also paths for cyclists. Fishing enthusiasts will also be satisfied.
Visiting Slnava is not only one of the ways to spend free time and sunbathe on the beach, but also to visit a nature reserve. Here is the so-called island of birds. Rare bird species nest on the island, such as gray gulls and common terns.
Not far from the spa in the hills of Povazh Inovets there is a curious karst cave, which is a recognized natural monument. In the cave, scientists made important archaeological discoveries and found traces of ancient settlements of primitive people. The dating of these settlements is inconsistent, under the primary layer of the Paleolithic an even older settlement of the Interglacial and Stone Ages was discovered. In historical documents, the cave has been known since 1742 and its name has not changed since then.
The cave is freely accessible. It will be easy for a tourist to find it as a marked path is laid on it. You can get on the bus that comes from a stop near the road bridge called Krainsky. After seeing the sights, stop for lunch at a nearby café. The place has a playground and a mini zoo with deer, goats, pigs and domestic birds.
Ancient settlement of Dutsove-Kostolec
Only 7 km from the resort of Piestany there is an important archaeological site - the ancient settlement Kostolets near the village of Ducove. The settlement was founded at the foot of the Povazh Inovets mountain in the Neolithic Age. The settlement had a strategically important location: on a rocky and inaccessible cape and very close to Amber Trail. Archaeologists have suggested that caravans and merchants move through the settlement, transporting goods from northern to southern Europe and back. Full excavations were not carried out until the end of the 20th century. Then the scientists not only examined the already known settlement, but also discovered a stone settlement from the Bronze Age. A little later, a wooden facing with serf towers from the time of Great Moravia as well as a small old church and tombs from the 9th century were excavated around them. Now all of this can be examined by the guest of the town of Piestany. You can rent a bike or take the bus to visit this national historical monument. It will be interesting for both adults and children.
Moravany nad Vahom castle
The snow-white fairytale castle with turrets, surrounded by an English park, is only a few kilometers from the center of the spa town of Piestany. If you go for a walk on the spa island, you should definitely go a little further, cross the river Waag along the bridge and visit the real Renaissance castle. The building was built at the end of the 15th century by a noble family from Moteshinsky. Initially, the castle consisted of two separate buildings, which were combined into one building in the 16th century. In the 18th century the castle passed to the new owners, the Chucky clan, and was rebuilt. There was a family chapel with an altar adorned with the family's coat of arms, with splendid altarpieces and ancient icons.
Unfortunately, the Moravany Palace was abandoned in the 20th century and now belongs to the state, which is in no hurry to rebuild. Nonetheless, tourists can enjoy the grand appearance of the palace and its medieval architecture. Going out on the terrace, you can admire the cobbled paths, green meadows, a deep well under a tiled roof, a round fountain with statues, sit on the benches and stroll around the park.
St. Martin Church
Not far from Moravany nad Vahom Castle is a medieval Romanesque church surrounded by Gothic tombstones from an old cemetery. The place is ancient, atmospheric and mystical. The Roman Catholic Church was built on a hill in 1465 and established an even older religious building from the 13th century. In fact, the exact date of the beginning and completion of the construction of the church has not been recorded in historical sources, but scientists reconstructed the date of manufacture on the bell in 1464, which is now considered the time of construction of the church itself. The Church has had a turbulent past. It served as the only protection of the local residents from the devastating attacks by the Turks. Here they took refuge and waited for the enemy to pass the village. Once the church was even turned into a mosque by the Turks, but was soon returned to local parishioners. For tourists, this two-aisled brick building with a bell tower is interesting not only for its architecture, but also for its interior design. Inside you can see the Baroque style altar of the Virgin Mary, wooden choirs with carvings and in the high bell tower with a height of 19 meters the bell of the 15th century.
Festivals and events in Piestany
In spring, the spa town of Piestany meets with the music festival “Grave”. This is followed by the “Country Lodenica” festival and a multimedia festival called “Godokvas”. At the end of summer - beginning of autumn - international competitions in water sports for the SNP Cup are held annually in the Slnyava reservoir. Spectators can admire the colorful and lively spectacle of kayaks and yachts gliding along the surface of the water. A little later there are car races with prizes outside the city.
As part of cultural events, the city offers music connoisseurs the opportunity to attend "Days of Organ", concerts with symphonic music and live performances by artists. The doors of the art galleries are always open to visitors. Numerous exhibitions by artists from different countries are also presented. At the reception of your hotel you can find out more about the schedule of the events.
What can you bring from Piestany?
Sweets. There is a large selection of desserts and pastry specialties in Piestany. Gift sets with Kremeshov cake, chocolate fillet with eggnog filling, punch slices with sugar fondant, coconut with cream or sweet jam, windmills with a layer of caramel and vanilla or Bratislava horns are the perfect options for a sweet gift. Chocolate lovers can purchase a set of real Slovak Figaro chocolates.
Tinctures. The city produces the most delicious and strongest plum brandy, a bottle of which is an excellent option for a gift. For those who want to try different flavors of tinctures, you can also take a pear or borovichku. Pay attention to the Slovak variety "Coca-Cola" - Kofola, as well as the spicy and useful tincture on medicinal herbs - Fernet.
Mineral water from the spring. In order to prolong the effect of a spa stay, it is sufficient to obtain bottled mineral water from springs that retain all the beneficial properties for several months.
Natural cosmetics. The cosmetic sets offered in Piestany contain natural components, mineral water from natural sources or the components of healing mud. Such cosmetics are not only suitable for every skin type, but also have a positive effect. It moisturizes, smoothes wrinkles, slows down skin aging, and reduces inflammation and redness. A natural cosmetic set is a great gift for you and your friends.
Handmade clothes. The spa town is famous for its artisans who make clothes from wool.A tourist can buy warm knitted sweaters with traditional patterns, mittens, scarves, and more at cheap prices. At the same time, hand-made clothing is not only of high quality and made from environmentally friendly raw materials, but is also exclusive.
Crystal products. Slovakia has long been known for its crystal production and glass products. With centuries of experience, the country's factories produce real works of art. In the shops of the Piestany spa you can buy glassware, crystal and porcelain tableware.
Characters. The town's souvenir shops will delight fathers and their sons, as there are only a lot of ready-made and collapsible models and metal figures. Well, what kind of boy would refuse the statuette of a real knight in full armor who can still be disassembled? This souvenir will also be a great gift for adults.
Our tips will be useful to you
Warm and dry climate in the health resort is established from March. The temperature begins to rise gradually. So there is no need to wait for summer to come to Piestany to improve your health. From early spring you can relax in the spa. The highest temperature is observed in July-August. So for people who can't stand the summer heat, it makes sense to take a break in the spring months. Even in spring it smells of blooming linden and lilac bushes.
The area around the village is rich in medieval fortresses and castles. Take into account that you have to walk a lot and not always on level ground. Comfortable shoes and closed clothing must be with you. By the way, a hat or a headscarf doesn't hurt either, and sunglasses with insect spray will also be necessary.
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