loutra edipsou-spa

The spa town of Loutra Edipsou, (Greek Λουτρά Αιδηψού), is located in the north of the Greek island of Euboea, also known as Evia, on the Gulf of Euboea.

 

Loutra (Gr. Λουτρά), with emphasis on the "a", means "bath" and is appended to Greek place names that have thermal springs.

Loutra Edipsou is one of the oldest and most visited spas in Greece. It has been known for its thermal springs since around the 5th century BC.

On the homepage of Edipsos you can read that the thermal spa was already mentioned in the Meteorologika of Aristotle, the Naturalis Historiae of Plinios (Pliny) and the Geografika of Strabon. For many Roman emperors and high-ranking persons, such as Roman generals, Loutra Edipsou was a popular attraction for treating major and minor ailments in the warm and healing waters. Strabon mentioned in his records in particular the Roman Emperor Sylla, after whom the "Cave of Sylla" was named, and who visited the spa for hydrotherapy and was fascinated not only by the beauty of the place and the surroundings, but also by the famous banquets that accompanied the spa experience, where bathers could enjoy not only food and drink of exceptional quality, but also spiritual conversations that sometimes lasted all night.  

 

The Cave of the Syllas

 

But as often happened in the history of the Roman way of life, the hydrotherapy baths at Loutra Edipsou were increasingly used for debauched orgies, so that the use of hydrotherapy centres like Loutra Edipsou was at times relentlessly persecuted and ostracised with the advent of Christianity.

Over time, however, Christians also recognised the healing benefits of hydrotherapy and monasteries were founded around the country near the centres, believing that the waters of the thermal springs "washed away sins". 

Then, at the end of the 19th century, on the initiative of the then Queen Olga, former Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna Romanova, from 1867 then wife of the King of the Hellenes, George I, the construction of the spa resort of Loutra Edipsou was begun.

 

Queen Olga had a particular fondness for the village of Loutra Edipsou, where she had also founded an orphanage. In 1907 she also stayed for some time in the hotel Thermae Sylla, which was built in 1896 by Errikos Tompazis.  

With the beginning of the 20th century, one hotel after another was built.

The spa became the most important national tourist centre at that time with many private spa centres, posh restaurants and taverns with live music and famous orchestra groups. 

Famous shipowners, industrialists, politicians, artists and intellectuals spent moments of relaxation, both physical and mental, in Loutra Edipsou and made the spa famous beyond its borders. 

With the admission of refugees from Asia Minor at the beginning of the 1920s, new economic impulses also benefited the further development of the town.

Fishing, agriculture and trade ensured a stable economy. 

During the German occupation, the hotel complexes were temporarily used as accommodation and military hospitals. 

 

After the war, the spa quickly attracted thousands of visitors again.

From Europe, Cyprus, America and Egypt, visitors, largely from the political and artistic scene, as well as the upper-crust environment, enjoyed the soothing and relaxing hydrotherapeutic centres of the Loutra Edipsou spa.

Famous names such as Eleftherios Venizelos, Churchill, Onassis, Maria Callas, Greta Garbo, Omar Sharif and Charlie Chaplin, are still associated with Loutra Edipsou today.

 

In the course of time, this place, like so many others, has suffered from the construction of rapidly built new-modern buildings.

Nevertheless, Edipsos still offers many old and lovingly renovated buildings, a beautiful waterfront promenade, numerous typical restaurants and taverns, ouzeries and cafés (Kafeneion).

 

Texts and info from Wikipedia