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While public baths may be somewhat unconventional and of little interest to tourists in general, we guarantee you will love Amalienbad. These are a fine example of Jugendstil art that visitors can enjoy for just a few euros.
Designed by architects Otto Wagner and Karl Schmalhofer, who supervised the construction between 1923 and 1926, the baths were commissioned by the socialist city council of the era. The fact is that during the 1920s Vienna was an extremely socialist city, to the extent that it came to be known as Rote Wien (Red Vienna). During this period many public health projects, such as Amalienbad, and working class housing projects, called Gemeindebau ("Public Housing") were implemented.
For many, Amalienbad is a clear demonstration of the exemplary work carried out by the government of the time, who managed to combine public service functionality, design and aesthetics under one project. In addition, the baths offered the working class a form of healthy, economical, enjoyable entertainment.
Highlights of these facilities, which are decorated with colourful mosaics, include the main 33-metre pool and the huge glass dome that can be opened in just a few minutes to allow bathers to enjoy the weather. The baths were destroyed during World War II, but subsequently rebuilt exactly as before. The main pool is surrounded by theatre-box-style galleries with lounge chairs.
At the time of construction, Amalienbad could hold up to 1300 people, making them the largest public baths in Europe.
As a result of the bombings the facilities were severely damaged and valuable architectural elements were lost. However, from 1980 to 1986 Amalienbad underwent an extensive restoration that, in addition to returning the facilities to their initial condition, allowed for expansion and modernisation.
As a curiosity you may be interested to know that the baths were built on the site where Roman baths formerly stood. Today's baths constitute the most beautiful indoor pool in the city, where visitors can swim, enjoy all kinds of sauna, get a massage or sunbathe (the solarium opens from May to September). And all this surrounded by an architectural marvel decorated with precious mosaics, columns and tiles with modernist motifs.
Did you bring your swimsuit?
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