Thermal bath in Hungary
Rudas Baths, Budapest
Rudas Bath is probably the most popular medieval Turkish bath in Budapest, the City of Baths, famous for its bathing palaces like the Neo-Baroque Szechenyi Bath or the Art Nouveau Gellert Bath.
Rudas Bath has recently been restored (in 2012), and is located at the foot of the scenic Gellert Hill on the Buda side.What makes Rudas Bath stand out is definitely its 16th century core, and the fact that the bath has a special very late night opening hours every Friday and Saturday (the baths reopen from 10 pm to 4 am, both nights). Also, Rudas is the only thermal bath in Budapest, which has men only and women only days on weekdays, when aprons are worn by many guests instead of traditional swimwear.
Turkish baths in Budapest are amazing oriental monuments with modern day facilities. Many tourists who visited Turkey will expect to see the dry Turkish sauna as a Turkish bath, but the medieval Turkish baths of Budapest are not steam baths as in modern day Turkey, but historical Turkish baths with a central octogonal shaped pool extended with other baths.
That said, you can take a Turkish bath as a steambath too, as Rudas Bath offers a complex bath and wellness experience, including a hamam (Turkish sauna) as well as an ilidza (Turkish “Ilica” for warm thermal spring). There are 6 thermal baths in Rudas Bath as well as a larger swimming pool.
The knights of St John in the 13th century built their healing center here, then after the Buda Castle siege, when the Ottoman Turkish armies successfully captured the Royal Palace of Hungarians, the Turks started to build a series of Turkish baths along the river Danube, using the deep underground hot spring waters for relaxing, bathing and healing. Sokollu Mehmed Pasha (Sokoli Mustafa), the Turkish pasha, who excelled in the siege of Vienna, and governed the town of Buda for 12 years during the Turkish occupation in Hungary, made sure that the baths are well built (with hard ceramic pipes, and tiles brought from Turkey).