Széchenyi Fürdő, Városliget, Budapest

Széchenyi Fürdő (Széchenyi Thermal Baths). This early 20th century masterpiece dominates part of Városliget (City Park) in Budapest. However even if you couldn’t see it, you could smell it: an ammonia and sulphur-tinged aroma drifts from the vents in the ground. I had a potter around the entrance and impressive vestibule, but didn’t have time to enjoy a course of the thermal baths or an enthusiastic massage. Perhaps next time.

I’ve always loved Secessionist-era architecture: this complex was opened in the autumn years of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1913, and its Neo-baroque encapsulates a confident joi-de-vivre and cultural identity which was swept away for ever as the Great War started the following year. Luckily as a space and a cultural icon the baths survive, on the cusp of its first century. If taking the waters is as good as they claim, it may be around for a long time to come.

Click below for a full screen 360° view of the scene with Flash, to read more on Wikipedia, or see the location in Google Earth.

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