ETHD 2023: Conference, Workshops and Guided Visits on Thermal Towns and Therapeutic Landscapes
The European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA), will host the next European Thermal Heritage Day with the support of the Mondariz Balneario Municipality, the Rural Development Group Condado Paradanta, and the Balneario de Mondariz and Aguas de Mondariz. This annual event will take place from 11th – 15th October in Mondariz-Balneario (Galicia, Spain). A varied programme of conferences, visits and parallel activities to reflect on therapeutic landscape in thermal towns, coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Public Utility of mineral waters of Mondariz.
EHTTA’s 6th European Thermal Heritage Day will begin on 11 October, with an opening ceremony which will include important local representatives from the Municipality and the organising committee.
During the panel, as part of a hybrid event, experts from Europe and America will analyse the origin, structuring elements in urban development and future perspectives of four contrasting thermal towns: Mondariz-Balneario (Spain), Caldas da Rainha (Portugal), Spa (Belgium) and Saratoga Springs (USA).
Presentations will be given by the following experts, followed by a Q&A session.
- Mario Crecente (EHTTA Scientific Committee President),
- Jorge Mangorrinha (PhD, Centro de Estudos Globais da Universidade Aberta),
- Anne Pirard (Spa local site manager for WHS Great Spa Towns of Europe)
- Samantha Bosshart (Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation).
- Finally Álvaro Bonet will speak live from Madrid to present the figure and works of Antonio Palacios, one of the most important architects in Spain during the first half of the 20th century. He was responsible for some of the most representative buildings in the capital, and played a key role in the design of Mondariz-Balneario.
Following the presentations on the first day, as part of a wider programme of visits and events, there will be a guided tour to the therapeutic landscape of Mondariz, visiting its fountains, buildings, gardens and parks and learning more about the myths and legends in the company of a local tour guide.
Further information about Mondariz-Balneario 2023
The Therapeutic (Spa) Landscape
Each spa town relies on its natural setting and the surrounding landscape which has been used and managed as a part of the ‘spa offer’ or attractiveness of the place since the 16th century, in other words the ‘therapeutic’ or spa landscape which is unique to spa towns. This has led to a specific historic urban landscape of transition which moves from the formal gardens in the centre of the spa town, formed around the principal public buildings to the wider ‘English’ style parkland of trees, shrubs and lawns, to the meadows and walks beyond leading into the hills and ‘wild’ landscape setting of the spa town.
The ‘natural’ landscape surrounding the spa towns is often less “natural” than it might appear, as it is a deliberately managed and planted forest to create the concept of ‘wilderness’ with prospects, viewpoints and ‘hidden surprises’ and features. This landscape was purposefully developed with health in mind, the development of which became a collaboration between the spa town authorities, private landowners, and the doctors practising in the town who prescribed walking and riding as part of the ‘cure’.
The European Thermal Heritage Day is an annual event established by EHTTA’s Scientific Committee in 2018 as a celebration of European thermal heritage and an opportunity to raise awareness of the subject that is at the heart of the Association and its objectives. It is regarded as an example of best practice by the European Institute of Cultural Routes, and won an award in 2019 for the concept.
EHTTA believes that thermal heritage represents a very particular European phenomenon, which includes natural, cultural, and intangible resources. The concept of thermal heritage is used to promote health and wellbeing, to create original tourism destinations, and to protect magnificent cultural landscapes. European Thermal Heritage Day highlights the importance of thermal heritage as a centuries-old Europe-wide tradition, and to gain recognition and awareness of issues that affect the future of this valuable heritage.
In a series of three events, the European Thermal Heritage Day is looking at the development of the “Therapeutic (Spa) Landscape” in the years 2021-2023. After “Thermal Urbanism” in 2021 hosted by Wiesbaden (Germany), the subject in 2022 was “Parks and Gardens” with impressive support from Lądek-Zdrój in Poland.
For this year 2023 the EHTTA member town Mondariz-Balneario has been chosen to be the host of the event. This small thermal town in Galicia in Spain celebrates its 150th anniversary.
4th November at 10.00 CET (ONLINE)
Click here to join the event: Link to ZOOM
Moderated by Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director
Welcome by the host
Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director
The Parks and Gardens in Lądek-Zdrój
Thermal Parks and Gardens in European historic thermal towns –
Revival of the thermal heart of Vichy: Restoration of the Parc des Sources and renovation of its surroundings – Dominique Scherer, Director of Green Spaces for the City of Vichy and project manager of the Parc des Sources restoration project / Anke Matthys, Vichy local coordinator of the Great Spa Towns of Europe
Bath and North East Somerset Council: Sydney Pleasure Gardens restoration project – Keith Rowe, Parks & Greenspaces Team Manager.
“Spacious parks and magnificent gardens on every side” – Walter S. McClellan’s 1930s journey to European Spas and his observations on the spa park.
Q & A – Discussion