In southwest Slovakia, in a picturesque valley by the Váh River, is the world-famous spa town of Piešťany. With the quality of treatment resources and the level of its medical services, the Hotel Granit F.E. Scherer Piešťany Spa Institute belongs among the leading spas for rheumatism in Europe. Piešťany’s location in the sunny Danube Basin at an altitude of 162m, hot summers, long leisurely autumns, mild winters, and clean air predestine the Piešťany Spa as an ideal place for successful comprehensive spa treatment.
The spa owes its reputation to the unique natural treatment resources, particularly the Piešťany thermal water and mud. The hot mineral springs with high sulfur content springing from a depth of 2000m and the sulfur mud with high thermal conductivity and reductive ability are indispensable parts of the classical Piešťany medical cure.
The F.E. Scherer Piešťany Spa Institute is the most important spa facility on the right urban side of the Váh, located directly in the heart of Piešťany on enclosed premises, spreading over an area of two hectares. Its own park ensures a quiet and intimate environment for the guests of the Piešťany Spa Institute, ideal for rest and recovery.
Hotel Granit - The F.E. Scherer Spa Institute provides treatment of all forms of inflammatory and degenerative rheumatic diseases, functional spine disorders, posttraumatic conditions, and conditions following orthopedic surgery. In addition to the treatment of the stated diseases, the Piešťany Spa Institute focuses on prevention and recovery, and all spa-treatment therapies can be done on an outpatient basis as well.
The spa tradition in Piešťany is counted in hundreds of years. However, this long-term history can also be mentioned in relation to a military spa. Its beginning falls within the 18th century, when military authorities were sending many soldiers and officers to Piešťany to recover from serious injuries during the Napoleonic wars. A few decades later, a charity lottery was organized at the suggestion of Archduke Albrecht von Habsburg, whose donations, along with the donated land from Count Erdödy, enabled the construction of the Military Spa Institute’s main building. This was in 1863.
The father of the idea to set up baths for soldiers was a spa doctor and balneologist, František Ernest Scherer (1805-1879), although he was never a soldier. He himself gave land and profits from his literary activities for the institute’s construction. He was known and appreciated as a friend of the poor, whom he looked after with great dedication.
In the first period the institute had accommodation facilities for 20 officers and 80 soldiers. Count Erdödy bound himself to providing a spa (mirror room, mud room) to the accommodated for free. F.E. Scherer was the head doctor in the facility. He was awarded high honors due to his care for soldiers.
From its establishment up to 1914, the institute was organized as a military medical institute in terms of personnel and equipment. According to the records, the first institute commander was Sergeant Fridrich Plauer, and the first head doctor Colonel Dr. Artur Knopp. The institute was highly sought after, but there was little space. Due to this, a pavilion called “The Isabella Pavilion” (later renamed Štefánik’s Pavilion) was built in the institute’s park in 1909. After the outbreak of the First World War, the institute’s capacity wasn’t sufficient and the Pro Patria sanatorium was built with the contribution of the military’s administration, in which 200 soldiers could be treated at the same time. After the war, Pro Patria was adopted by the Spa.
Even after the First World War and the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic, the Military Spa Institute served its original purposes, being a spa treatment for officers and their families.
In the second half of the 20th century, the Military Spa Institute in Piešťany had year-round operation. Nearly two thousand patients passed through every year, mainly soldiers and officers in active service. One of the important guests treated here was the first Czechoslovak astronaut, Vladimír Remek, with his wife.
Source: Revue Piešťany, volume XLVII, Kultúrno-spoločenský štvrťročník. Town of Piešťany. Editor-in-chief: Kornel Duffek, Editorial Board: Ing. M. Galová, K. Duffek, PhDr. V. Krupa, Mgr. D. Moretová, Mgr. J. Obertová; Issued: 24 May 2011 Revue Pieštany.