Rudas Gyógyfürdő

Budapest, Hungary

Anastasia Chukovskaya

In 1541, Buda was occupied by Turks who gently called the city a 'Golden Apple' and began to develop it to their taste. Christian churches were turned into mosques, muezzin's voice could be heard near the Danube, calling from the minaret for a prayer. Markets offered oriental species and thermal springs were used for bathhouses under archy domes. Only a century and a half later could the Habsburgs fight the city back. Bloody battles lasted for two and a half months and most signs of the Ottoman Empire were left in ruins. Only a few bathhouses survived, including Rudas. This bath has been known from 1556 when a budai pasa ordered to build a bathhouse here. Eight green columns maintain the dome under which an octagonal pool is installed with thermal water from three springs. During the Ottoman rule, a dervish mosque was here. Since 1936, the bath was for men only. Even today, most days the bath is open for men only and you don't have to wear trunks. Democracy's achievement is that Tuesdays are women's day and on weekends both women and men can relax here. One of the episodes from the Red heat movie with Arnold Scwarzenegger was shot here. In this episode, bodybuilders lift dumbbells by the central reservoir in the bath, and Schwarzenegger walks nude into the steam room where a fight starts during which he falls from a stained glass window in snow. The scene is not typical for Rudas. The atmosphere in Budapest bathhouses is very calm and laid-back.


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