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Busko-Zdrój is a town divided into two parts: the city part is situated on the Pińczowski Hump and the spa part – Zdrój which dates back to approximately 1820 when Feliks Rzewuski became a leaseholder of post-monastery property in Busko.

The first document which includes information about the salt-springs in Busko is the commercial privilege of Bolesław the Chaste from 1252. This privilege gave the right to exploit their resources and to curdle salt.

After the first partition of Poland in 1772, the country lost the salt mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia and the salt-works houses in eastern Małopolska. Prussia and Austria imposed high prices which were in fact ruinous to the Polish economy. Geological prospecting was a solution thanks to which Poland could have cheaper salt. The king Stanisław August appointed the State Geology Services whose main task was to discover salt deposits. The first explorer of the Busko salt-spring was John Philip Carosi who in 1781 published a geological description of outflows of the salt-spring waters in Busko and three years later in 1784 the salt-works house in Busko was visited by well-known geologists: George Forster, John Jaśkiewicz, Francis Scheidt and Berniard. In June 1787 in Busko stayed the king Stanisław August Poniatowski who observed the progress of the exploration works. However, the exploitation was stopped in 1796, i.e. when Busko was incorporated into the Austrian partition (with salt deposits) as a result of the third partition of Poland.

Although local people for a long time were aware of the beneficial effects of the Busko salt-springs, because they used them to treat ulcers and skin diseases, not earlier than in 1808 Dr John Winterfeld from Pińczów tried to use the salt-springs for medicinal purposes. However, not being fully convinced of the medicinal effects of the waters from Busko, he first experimented on beggars and animals and with time achieved excellent results.

One of the patients was Feliks Rzewuski, a leaseholder of Busko, who had rheumatism and who, when became convinced of the excellent medicinal properties of the Busko waters, established a company of Warsaw shareholders. Afterwards, he received a permit to open a health resort. Feliks Rzewuski adapted a post-monastery building (raised in the period 1720-1730, today the former building of the Regional Court) to the needs of the health resort visitors. Next to the building he made the “walking garden” full of trees, flowerbeds, bushes (today the streets: Staszica, Sądowa, Legionów Polskich Housing Estate) and built a pump room of mineral waters. The building with the pump room was situated in the place of today’s housing estate in Sądowa Street. In the building there were also installed barrels and baths. They were placed in the corner of the current Plac Zwycięstwa and Mickiewicza Avenue. 1824 marked the beginning of treatment by means of mineral waters and in 1828 Busko was already known as a health resort.

Feliks Rzewuski aimed at building in Busko a state of the art health resort. To achieve this goal he needed financial resources, whereas profits from a small number of patients were low (in 1828 there were 202 patients and in 1833 there were 1040 health resort visitors). In 1823 Feliks Rzewuski, who was already a municipal councillor, leased from the Town Council municipal propination laws (the right to manufacture and sell drinks). Profits from the propination enabled him to build a spa building, the so-called “Łazienki” (Baths). In 1824 Feliks Rzewuski commissioned construction of the Baths to a Polish architect of Italian descent Henry Marconi.[2] In 1830, on commission of Feliks Rzewuski there was carried out a chemical analysis of the Busko mineral waters. Its results confirmed that the waters had high medicinal values. On 1 June 1836 there was activated the first bathing facility which was situated insine the beautiful building of “Łazienki” (Baths) designed in the Neoclassical style. At the same time this date is considered the date of health resort opening. Treatment activities were transferred from the town centre to Zdrój (Spa).

Mr Rzewuski entrusted creation of the park to a known gardener Ignacy Hanusz. The health spa soon became popular and started to develop quickly. There were more and more medicinal facilities as well as patients whose number in 1860 came to as many as 415.

In 1865, after expiration of the leasing rights of the company run by the Rzewuski family, the health resort for 10 years was a state-owned company and then was leased first to Łubieński (1875-78) and afterwards to A. Dobrzański (1879-1884) who, apart from sulphur waters, also used for treatment mineral silts taken from local ponds.

Feliks Rzewuski died on 15 October 1841 and was buried in a family vault in the cemetery near St. Leonard church in the current Bohaterów Warszawy Street.

In 1894 there was appointed the Financial Management Board of Mineral Waters in Busko which administered Busko-Zdrój by 1914. In 1899 in Busko there were registered as many as 2431 patients.

The health resort was intensively developing in the interwar period. On Dr Szymon Starkiewicz’s initiative and thanks to people’s assistance in 1924 there was established the sanatorium for children “Górka” (Hill). In 1936 on the initiative of the Ministry of Military Affairs of that time, there was opened the Military Seasonal Hospital in Busko-Zdrój. Today, its name is: the 21st Military Spa and Rehabilitation Hospital.

During the 2nd World War the “Łazienki” (Baths) in Busko were devastated. Just after the end of the warfare the renovation works started and the health resort was intensely extended. There were also carried out new drilling works during which other rich sources were discovered. This contributed to further development of the health resort. At the beginning of the ‘60s there were started works on constructing new sanatoria: the Association of the Disabled “Nida”, the Spa Hospital “Krystyna” (Christine) and in the ‘70s the sanatoria: “Włókniarz” (Weaver), “Rafał” (Raphal), “Radek” (today the “Gromada” Hotel). In the following years the sanatorium “Zielona” (Green). For disabled children there was raised a modern Pedagogical and Educational Centre and the following sanatoria were completely renovated: “Marconi”, “Mikołaj” (Nicolas), “Oblęgorek”, the Children Hospital of Comprehensive Rehabilitation “Górka” (Hill). Furthermore the 21st Military Spa and Rehabilitation Hospital was extended.

Today, Busko is a dynamically developing sanatorium and holiday centre.  


L. Marciniec, Kurortu czar (Health resort’s charm), Busko-Zdrój 2009, p. 13
http://www.busko-zdroj.com/miasto/miasto_historia2.html

M. Jurecki, Ponidzie. W świętokrzyskim stepie (In the steppe of the Świętokrzyskie region). Kraków 2007, p. 48
L. Marciniec, Buska Starówka Zdrojowa (The Spa Old Town of Busko), Busko-Zdrój 2006, p. 13

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Projekt: "Kampania promocyjna Miasta i Gminy Busko-Zdrój oraz utworzenie centrum informacji
turystycznej" współfinansowany przez Unię Europejską z Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju Regionalnego
w ramach Regionalnego Programu Operacyjnego Województwa Świętokrzyskiego na lata 2007-2013