In the so called Białe Kujawy (White Kujawy) amidst the Ciechocinek lowland, being part of Kotlina Toruńsko – Bydgoska (Toruń – Bydgoszcz Valley) on the left bank of Wisła (Vistula River), between Toruń and Włocławek about 40 m above the sea level in the picturesque proglacial stream-valley of the “Queen of Polish Rivers” lies one of most known and at the same time one of the biggest health resorts of our country – the scarcely twelve thousand inhabitants numbering town of Ciechocinek.
The history of Ciechocinek’s saline springs goes back to very ancient times. However records from XIII century are considered as the oldest ones. In 1235 the prince of Mazovia, Konrad I has issued a document, by which he passed two salt works to the Teutonic Order which he settled down in the country, for eternal lease, in return the Order was obliged to render salt allowances to the courts of the prince and the bishop.
When after the I partition of Poland Wieliczka and Bochnia, the localities rich with salt deposits found themselves under the Austrian annexation, the saline springs of Słońsk and Ciechocinek have attracted attention of competent departments of the new administration. On initiative of Stanisław Staszic, who was a right hand of Finance Minister of the Polish Kingdom – the duke Franciszek Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki, a project of salt gaining from saline springs was launched. The enterprise was animated by the active person in economy Konstanty Leon Wolicki.
In 1830 big salt-works have been built in the parish of Słońsk, while during the years 1824 – 1833 two first graduation towers have been erected and, in 1859 – the third one, that became an salt production establishment of industrial scale.
The crucial date in Ciechocink’s history was 1836, when in the local inn four treatment copper bath tubs have been installed. 120 persons have at that time taken advantage of saline baths. This has given start to the Health Springs Enterprise, that was the origin of the Health Resort. From that time on the town begins to gain fame as health resort. Baths are originating, the number of tubes is increasing.
In Warsaw a Committee has been appointed under the name of “Committee for Considering Means to Erect a Mineral Water Establishment in Ciechocinek”. The work in the Springs’ Establishment was started by doctor Roman Ignatowski, who works during over fifty years on development of the health resort. Ciechocinek becomes more and more popular, houses, residences and pensions are built for more and more numerous patients arriving here.
The most important matters for the town become the installation of a railway siding for the Warsaw-Bydgoszcz railway (1867), building up of protective dams (1872) and the water intake in the locality of Kuczek and bringing it by water works to Ciechocinek (1894). The spa expanded and developed as never before. Illustrious guests visited it often, Ciechocinek flourished, attracted by the beauty of it’s parks and squares. It’s popularity crossed already borders of the country. All this resulted in adjudication of civic rights in 1916 to Ciechocinek.
After the end of World War I the health resort has been taken over by the Government of Poland and subordinated to the Health Ministry. In this period treatment installations devastated during the war have been restored and put into service, new pensions for vacationists, a post office a school , a residential and trade “Complex Europa” the President’s Residence and other objects have been erected. During this period also the Health Park came into being among the graduation towers. It consists of a thermal-saline pool, a children’s play-park, a sports field and of vast greens around the graduation towers.
During the thirties Ciechocinek begins to trans-form into a garden-town. It was the vision fulfil- ment of the greens architect Zygmunt Hellwig, the creator of Ciechocinek’s Flower-Carpets, of it’s Flower Clock and of many Parks and squares.
After World War II has broken out Ciechocinek has been renamed to Hermannsbad. A one big military hospital for Germans has been made of it. During the German occupation the town functioned also as a health resort, but exclusively for German citizens. German specialists comparing the local saline springs with springs in Germany itself evaluated their quality very highly, and the thermal spring no. 14 they named simply “a wonder of nature”.
After the liberation on 21 January 1945 reactivation of the health resort has begun very quickly. Luckly enough, the war has not ruined it very much. Most important objects in the town, the baths, the railway station and the church escaped destruction, despite attempts of the Germans to blow them up.
Since 1950 a whole-year’s treatment activity was resumed. Particularly intensively the town has developed during the late fifties in the sixties and seventies. Many trade-owned sanatoriums and preventoriums originated in this time.
As in the past Ciechocinek attracts patients and holiday-makers not only with it’s curative qualities, but also with it’s picturesque situation, it’s green of it’s numerous squares and parks, with it’s lovely and cosy climate of little cafes, with the whisper of fountains, the solemnity of graduation towers, the charm of many walking places.
Since 1998 the at least overhauled Summer Theatre building in which various cultural entertainments of the town are taking place, delights eyes of guests and patients.
Presently Ciechocinek deserves fully it’s honourable name of “The Pearl of Polish Health Resorts” and is one of most popular health resort towns in Poland.