Natural Spa in Bistrica ob Dravi

Sights that are worth visiting

Natural Spa in Bistrica ob Dravi

This lesser-known spa was introduced by Dr. Eman Pertl, a medical historian, in his work Naravno Zdravilišče v Bistrici pri Limbušu, which had the characteristics of a Kneipp natural spa. Dr. Pertl showed how Gjuno Simonič managed this spa from 1884 to 1905. Simonič recommended the natural spa in his booklet, and he was drawn to Bistrica by the natural environment, especially the forest.

This natural feature at the foot of Pohorje, together with the stream, creates a plain before the banks of the Drava River. Its health-giving clean air and beneficial microclimate had a positive effect on people's well-being. The most famous was Ludvik Rottner's inn in Bistrica. Guests included both the young and the old, men and women. Among them were people suffering from rheumatism and asthma. The guests came from the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Most of them were from Vienna, including officials and officers. Some even came from Russia, a few from Leoben, New York, and Genoa.

The spa resembled a good improvisation. The guests stayed in modest farm huts. Simonič had a rented apartment in the Bistrica 3 house, which belonged to Miloš Oset. There were showers and bathtubs. Everything was simple. In the house Bistrica 22 (near Leponček) Simonič had a kind of laboratory or home pharmacy with herbs and ointments. Guests had to bring two linen sheets and two special blankets. They were lying on cement benches covered with wood. Simonič recommended sunbathing because he referred to the old traditions of the Indians and Persians. They slept on air cushions in tents, where the power of the earth was well felt. Dravska mivka from the Onič Bay was used for "coating", mud baths, which to a certain extent destroy disease-causing substances. According to pastor Kneipp's method, the program included bogging and walking on water (walking on dewy grass, stomping - splashing in water). The guests helped the surrounding farmers with threshing and rubbing of flax. Simonič did not recommend his spa only for rest to the healthy, overtired from work, but for the treatment of many chronic diseases. He treated nervous diseases and insomnia, women's diseases, heart diseases, and diseases of the respiratory and digestive organs. Simonič did not exaggerate his advice. He dosed the treatment individually and the food was vegetarian: oat bread, milk, brandy, vegetables, potatoes and fruit. Many obese people have lost weight this way. The recreation program included swimming in the Drava, bowling and other social games. The guests were served by Simonič's relatives, the food was prepared according to recipes from the book "This is how you should eat". In the evenings, the zithers sounded and drove away the gloom. It was pleasant and relaxed, but also educational because Father Simonič also enlightened the guests on health. He taught natural healing, mostly outdoors, but in bad weather at the Rottner Inn. Many residents of Maribor travelled there by train, especially on Sundays

The locals had a hard time understanding that the guests were paying for getting up at dawn, walking early on the dewy grass or splashing in the stream, and helping with farm chores.

In 1905, after more than 16 years of operation, the spa in Bistrica was closed. If Simonič had secured German capital, his spa would likely have survived, and Bistrica would be a well-known climatic health resort and tourist destination today. On the way from Maribor to Ruše, the former Rottner's house and other houses still stand. There, by the stream, where his patients walked barefoot on the dewy grass to strengthen their spirit and body, grassy orchards still remain.

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