Continent Reviews

Under the Ruins of Old Town Samobor

The ”Hidropatsko” at Vugrinscak is well known to anyone who has been to Samobor. For you who haven’t, but are planning to visit, here’s a little introduction. Samobor is the first city you encounter when entering Croatia from Slovenia through the Bregana border-crossing. It is a favorite field trip destination for the people of Zagreb, up to the point that the sentence “We’ve visited Samobor last weekend.” has a slight elitist and prestigious ring to it. In addition to restaurants, walkways, “kremsnita” cake – local delicacy, “bermet” – local alcoholic beverage and “mustarda” – local type of mustard, the hydrotherapy swimming pool is part of the historical charm of Samobor. It is located in the Vugrinscak meadow where used to be gardens of the current rulers of that time.
The complex was built in the time of k&k, mainly thanks to emperor Franz Joseph. Its history begins at the end of August 1888 when the head members of Samobor savings-bank got together to discuss a “high directive” from Vienna. It stated that due to the annual celebration of the Emperor’s ruling all the reserve funds should be sent to Vienna and donated for the needs of the monarchy. A wise decision was made by the savings-bank members – to cut down the reserve by donating a part of it for the funding of the Zagreb Medical School and the rest, 2206 forints and 72 coins for building a hydrotherapy complex in Vugrinscak. No one can dispute the influence of Franz Joseph on the making of the swimming pool. Was there really spider-webs in the emperor’s cashier or Vienna found a way to activate the sleepy provincial forints, we’ll never know.
The project for the hydrotherapy complex was designed by the architect M.Pilar and the first day of August next year, 1889, the complex was ready for use. Women bathed in the mornings and men in the afternoons, to keep public morality of the times.
The history of the hydrotherapy pools was quite complex, multiple owners or tenants, closures, re-openings, ups and downs…In the beginning of the 20th century the health tourism “squeezed out” the sports and recreation, but at its “golden age”, Vugrinscak also used to contain tennis-courts and a ice-skating rink.
A water polo match was held in the old “Hydropaticki” complex after the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy, on the 3rd of August 1919. It was the first water polo match in Croatia, held between Concordia from Zagreb and a combined team of players from Okic and Storok from Zagreb. Concordia won 4:0. Quite irrelevant data nowadays.

Women and men of today swim in the same time, in the afternoon. Mornings are reserved for school children. Everyone can use the pools whole day on the weekends, for the price of 20 HRK. In the 19th century it used to be 10 coins for the entrance, laundry use 10 coins, steam bath in a cabin was 40 coins and swimming lessons with a personal trainer were 2 forints.

About the author

Vladimir Kinđerski

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