Thermal springs and Water Lily

This post is part of the GeoConnect³d blog.

Felix Baths (in Romania: Baile Felix) is located in the north-west of Romania, Bihor county, at a distance of about 9 km SSE from Oradea.

Felix Baths. Image from

The year of the discovery of the thermal springs in the area is disputed, some considering that it took place around the year 1000, others, around the year 1200, and some specialists even state that they were discovered only in 1700. The only fact agreed by all experts is the appearance of the first buildings in this resort: between the years 1711–1721.

The oldest testimony (in 1221) of the Felix Baths appears in a Vatican Diploma, mentioning the thermal waters near the Oradea Fortress as Termae Varadienses or Oradea Baths. The healing effect of the thermal waters left its mark on the writings of the great humanist Nicolaus Olahus, who paid homage to them in 1536.

Thermal springs were valued in the eighteenth century by the monk Félix Helcher of the Monastery of Klosterbruck in Moravia, administrator of the Váradszentmárton (today: Sânmartin, Romania) monastery.

Between 1711-1721 the first treatment facilities were organized under the name of Félixfürdő (in English: The Bath of Felix). Félix Helcher died in 1737.

The first geothermal well was drilled in 1885. The well was 51 m deep, with a flow rate of 195 l/s and a temperature of 49oC. This first well is still in operation.

The symbol of the resort is a rare species of subtropical water lily – Nymphaea lotus thermalis – tertiary relict, discovered in 1789 by the botanist P. Kitaibel.

Lake with water lily (left) and thermal lotus (right). Images from

The thermal lotus originates from the Nile area and it is assumed that the seeds of this plant were brought here by either Turks or migratory birds, and developed due to the thermal water and favorable conditions in the area.

The plant was declared a natural monument in 1931.

Radu Farnoaga
IGR – Geological Institute of Romania


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