THE BEGINNINGS of the Nový Smokovec spa settlement in the High Tatras date back to 1875, when Mikuláš Szontagh bought a 20-hectare wooded plot from the municipality of Veľký Slavkov to found his own sanatorium.
The sanatorium was built to cure tuberculosis and Basedow’s disease (Graves’ disease) primarily through climatotherapy, which was very popular at that time. The first building of the new settlement was finished in 1876. A small artificial lake was created within the garden and park area – an accoutrement that was important in many villages and towns in the Tatras.
That lake still exists and bears the name of the founder of Nový Smokovec. The villa with a turret that can be seen in the background also stands in the same place today and is also named after Doctor Szontagh. It is now the property of his heirs. The small villa on the right was called Genciana and it stood there until 1933, when it gave way to construction of the Palace nursing home. However, Genciana’s structure did not perish – it was carefully dismantled, moved and reassembled in Pekná Vyhliadka.
This colourised postcard is from the 1920s.
16. May 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff