The curative effects of Lake Hévíz were presumably already known by the Romans, at least the ancient coins found in the lake and the remains of an altar indicate so.
Objects excavated around the lake and originating from the Migration Period prove the presence of Germanic and Slavic tribes. The first written record of the lake dates from 1328. The area inhabited in the Middle Ages was destroyed by the Turks.
The Festetics family played a key role in the setting up and the propagation of the baths when, in the mid 18th century the spring and its surroundings became part of their domain. The prospering of the spa-life of the resort is mainly owing to count György Festetics I who was determined to develop the spa resort.
The Hévíz cure in its present sense has a history of more than 200 years. The first study written about the lake was published in 1769 by Ferenc Szláby, health officer of Zala county and physicist. The predecessor of today’s St. Andrew’s Hospital was founded in 1952 and inpatients, as well as outpatients have been received since then. The effectiveness of the therapy is ensured by the full diagnostic services and the 200-year-old medical competence. The hospital offers medical examinations and a complete treatment on the basis of individual therapy plans.
The settlement of Hévíz was established in 1946 by the unification of two villages: Hévízszentandrás és Egregy. It was granted the designation of a town on 1 May 1992.
Today, the development of the town is based on tourism. It owes its popularity to health tourism and has several thousand visitors a year.
The origin of Lake Hévíz
The history of the lake – such as that of our Earth - looks back to several million years. At the beginning of the Mesozoic era, during the Triassic period (about 200 million years ago) sea water covered this region as well as the site of the present day Transdanubian Mountains (Pannonian Sea). Out of this sea white dolomite and limestone formed a deposit around Hévíz.
During the other two Mesozoic periods, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous (about 180-170 million years ago) the sea gradually withdrew from this area. In the territory of today’s Bakony Hills, at the end of the Cretaceous period and the during the first epoch of the Tertiary period, the Palaeocene bauxite deposits formed in a tropical environment, then re-deposited due to surface impacts. These natural forces caused erosion in the softer layers of the ground surface, at some spots totally destroying them. This was followed by the karstification of limestone and dolomite.
During the Tertiary period, neither the Eocene, the Oligocene, nor the Miocene epochs did leave layers behind; the region of Hévíz remained a 'mainland'. The last epoch of the period, the Pliocene, however, was very eventful.
At the end of the Pliocene and at the beginning of the Pleistocene (about 2 to 4 million years ago) the wind and water streams carried the majority of the material of the Pannonian layers southwards. The welling up of hot springs, and thus the Primordial Spring were the first sign of post-volcanic activities. Due to earth movements and the crustal collapse two trench systems were formed in the middle of the Pleistocene epoch. Moisture accumulated in them: Lake Balaton was formed about 22 thousand years ago. This was the time when the history of the Lake of Hévíz also started.
There are several pieces of evidence proving that the thermal water of Lake Hévíz did not well up at the level in the geological past as it does today, but much higher. The water of the Hévíz Lake welled up at its present site about 20-22 thousand years ago, simultaneously with the formation of Lake Balaton. The warm water rushing up first flowed into Lake Balaton. Due to the changes in the climate, the water level of Lake Balaton dropped. A peat-moor formed from the once lush flora in the former basin of the lake.
The boggy, peaty, flat surface of the Hévíz valley extends 1-1.5 km eastwards of the lake as far as Dobogó hill at the eastern part of the valley and the mountain range of Cserszegtomaj surrounding the valley from the east. The peaty area extends southwards as far as river Zala and northwards as well as the country tavern of Gyöngyös.
The water of the Hévíz Lake is 'heated' by geothermal energy. The deep-seated waters enclosed in underground storage systems formed during the Triassic and the Pannonian periods are heated by heat conducted and radiated from deep-lying layers of the crust of the earth.
Based on the amount of carbon isotope in the water, scientists have found out that the cold rill of the spring is 5-7 thousand years old, while the warm-water spring is 10-12 thousand years of age. Waters infiltrating into the depth from the surface come from a quite extensive area: from the Bakony Hills, the Keszthely Mountains and the Zala Hills. A part of the water does not permeate too deep into the ground (as far as the Pannonian layer) - this is the so-called karst water zone - and from here it gets into the 'mixing cave' of the Lake of Hévíz through the cold rill. The majority of the water gets much deeper, into the Triassic dolomite layers where it gets warmed up. During its journey it dissolves various metals and minerals and then it flows towards the surface again to arrive finally at the spring cave.