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Mullersches Volksbad Munich Germany - A 19th Century Spa
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A century ago, baths and showers in private households were still largely unheard of. As a result, people used public baths as a means of personal hygiene. The Müller'sche Volksbad (Müller's Public Baths) in Munich, Germany is an Art Nouveau jewel and one of the finest public bath houses in Europe. Opened in 1901, it was the world's biggest and most expensive indoor swimming pool.
The entrance hall to the Müller'sche Volksbad is like an overture to a great work of art, inviting visitors to indulge in the elegant surroundings of new baroque and art nouveau.
The halls and galleries upon both main pools remember of a glamorous castle. The men's pool is covered by an impressive sprung arch and stuccoed ceiling, a bronze serpent slayer and the gold-plated bars on the air vents are nothing short of captivating. On hot days, cold vaporized water streams through them to cool the air down. The small pool is lit up by beautiful art-nouveau and is decorated by elaborate plastering. Gender segregation was abolished in 1989.
Today, guests are enticed by the Finnish sauna with its changing colored lights, regular fragrance infusions and women's' days on Tuesdays and Fridays. The warm water tub of the Latino-Irish sweat bath can be found under a glass dome in a round room which is flooded by light. In one of the alcoves stands the iron virgin, a semicircular cold shower which sprays mercilessly cold water. The Turkish bath (Türkisch Bad) is yet another treat.
Here, in the United States, a day at the spa is considered something the frivolous wealthy do. But in Europe, particularly Germany, the public baths are for the “volks”, the people. Going for a swim at Müller'sches Volksbad, the People’s Public Baths, is like diving into another century, another world even. It's a place of contemplation and relaxation for people who love art nouveau. For a mere $20.00 you can pamper yourself for as long as you like. The Volksbad's Mediterranean feel will convince you that the sun is shining and that you're standing only minutes from the sea. The illusion continues as you climb the steps to begin your day at the spa.
December 21st, 2012
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