Marshy area, known only by local people
Settled as early as prehistoric times, the area of Šmarješke Toplice was relatively unknown to the outside world up until the end of the 18th century. The marshy area, with a small lake that was formed by water emerging from thermal springs, was mostly visited by the locals, townspeople from Novo Mesto and inhabitants of the nearby castles. The area around the lake was long known as Lake Baths.
Lake Baths in Lower Carniola
This was also the name quoted by Franc Anton Brekerfeld, the owner of the Old Castle and a historian, in his book A Report on Baths or Lake Baths in Lower Carniola. In the book, he highlighted the beneficial effects of the baths, among others: "The spring water has a healing power: it revitalises and increases circulation, strengthens the nerves and relieves nervous disorders, helps with paralysis, swelling, pain in joints, scurvy. With these disorders, it is not uncommon for the water to work wonders." Since 1791, every guest that experienced favourable effects of the baths signed the guest book.
From cabins to bathhouses
The Counts of Margheri-Commandona, owners of the Old Castle and the baths, had a wooden cabin built next to the baths in the 19th century. The next owners had the bottom of the baths planked. The baths were bought by Alojzij Zajec from Bela Cerkev in 1913 who later had two bathing areas built there. A bathhouse was erected on top of a thermal spring in 1922, and an open-air wooden pool measuring 9 metres by 9 metres was built at the farther end of the valley.
Plumbing and electricity
When the baths were bought in 1926 by the family of Dr. Gregorčič from Novo Mesto, tremendous progress ensued: plumbing and electricity were installed, and the inn and the water mill were restored. The baths were given names: Mary's Bath (today's wooden pool), Alexander's Bath (the large indoor bath) and Peter's Bath (the small indoor bath). There were booths for guests at the poolside. In 1938 the baths were bought by Dr. Šarič, owner of the Radenci Health Resort. He consolidated the area with healing properties by purchasing individual plots of land from their respective owners and converted the existing house into a large guesthouse, at the site where a hotel stands still today.
Development of health resort and hotels
After World War II, the buildings underwent gradual renovation, the health resort was continually upgraded to meet modern tourist demands, and large thermal pools were eventually built. In 1956 the baths were declared a formal medical institution in the form of a health resort. The hotel was renovated and the pools, the park and the area along the stream were redeveloped. Together with another spa, Dolenjske Toplice Spa, the health resort was transferred to the management of Krka Pharmaceuticals in 1973. This marks the beginning of the resort's development of healthcare activities with a narrower focus on individual indication areas.
Picturesque wine-growing hills, ancient castles, churches and monasteries, charming towns and villages and a mighty primeval forest await you to explore them. Experience the region of Dolenjska.
The legend of the spring
Taste the drinking water from the nearby Prinovec spring, whose name is derived from an old legend. Even though according to the legend in the past water had to be paid for by coins, this is nowadays completely free.
»Bring a coin«
Before the water supply system was installed, the spring was a vital source of drinking water for the local people. They used rainwater for their animals. However, when the rainwater ran dry due to the summer draught, the farmers came to the spring with their cow-drawn carts and they filled their buckets, pails and barrels.
Legend has it that the land’s owner put up a sign next to the spring: bring a coin (PRINESI NOVEC) if you want to drink this water. A part of the word (NESI) faded with time and only the word PRINOVEC remained. This is how the spring with healthful and crystalline water got its name.
The only lotus site in Slovenia
The Botanical Path in Šmarješke Toplice Spa park leads to a small lake fed by a hot spring. In it thrives a rare plant – Indian lotus. In summer the surface of the lake is covered thick with big, waxy leaves above which several hundred showy light-pink flowers rise gracefully.
The symbol of spiritual growth
On a summer morning, at first light, lotus flowers slowly rise from the water and start to gently uncurl their petals. In the heat of the day the blossom is completely open, gleaming in all its beauty. At sunset, the flower curls its petals back up again and retreats down into the water, from which it re-emerges the following morning. So the lotus – in addition to beauty, unfailing vitality and virtue – also symbolises man's spiritual growth, rising from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge.
A natural rarity
This lotus genus, which thrived across the globe in the Tertiary, can nowadays be seen in its natural habitat only in some parts of Asia and Australia. It was widely believed that Indian lotus could not make it through our winter out in the open-air. But the Šmarješke Toplice lotuses, which provide shelter for many turtles and fish, owe their uniqueness and eye-catching quality to the habitat on top of a hot spring.