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Duszniki-Zdroj

Duszniki Zdroj is a spa town located in the Klodzko Valley, standing on the banks of the Bystrzyca River in Klodzko County in the Lower Silesian Province. It is an important spa centre and a major tourist attraction of the area. It is included in the category of foothill spas.

The first mention of the existence of a curative "Cold Spa" in the area occurred in the 15th century. In the second half of the 17th century the city became an important centre for weaving, the manufacture of paper and the cloth trade as well as a spa resort. The first study of the mineral springs in Duszniki was carried out in 1748 and by 1769 the "Cold Spa" in Duszniki became an official spa on a list of healing resorts in Prussia. In 1797 spa treatments began in a makeshift shed housing six baths and using pre-heated water from the "Cold Spa". In the same year the "Warm Spring" was discovered, which in later years became known as "Chopin's Foam Bath".

Shortly, by 1802, pavilions were appeared on the outskirts of the city with bathing facilities, meeting houses and the first inns. At this time Duszniki became one of the most prominent resorts in the region. The sixteen year old Frederic Chopin came for treatment to the resort in 1826 with his mother and sisters and gave two concerts from which the income was used to look after orphans in the area.

Towards the end of the century further investment was made to the resort. New bath houses were build, which today house the Institute of Natural Medicine, and in 1877 a palm house and a concert hall was completed which today is the Spa Pump Room. The railway line to Kudowa built between 1890 and 1905 further accelerated the development of Duszniki-Zdroj.

After the end of World War II the town of Duszniki was ceded to Poland and the remaining inhabitants resettled in Germany. As the city avoided any major war damage the International Chopin Festival was staged for the first time in Duszniki Zdroj in 1946 and the former guest houses and hotels were all nationalised.

In 1998 the town of Duszniki was hit by floods and the spa district along with its historic Spa Park suffered the most damage. Today, the effects of the flooding have been wiped out as the park, which included Chopin's residence has been painstakingly renovated. A colourful and musical fountain has been rebuilt and the covered bridges over the steam have been restored from original photographs.

Today the spa in Duszniki Zdroj provides a full range of medical services and curative treatments for cardiac, gastrological and pulmonary diseases, gynaecological complaints and osteoporosis.

Apart from spa treatments another draw for tourists to Duszniki-Zdroj is the Museum of Papermaking. The original paper mill is one of the most architecturally valuable industrial monuments in Europe. The tradition of papermaking in Duszniki dates back to the 16th century when the first recorded paper mill was built in 1562. The original mill was destroyed by floods at the beginning of the 17th century but was promptly rebuilt and stands to this day. The building was opened to visitors in 1968 as a museum and displays of papermaking by hand became very popular with the thousands of tourists that come to the region. The floods in 1998 caused much damage to the mill and the museum. Waters washed away the foundations of the original drying room and deposited tons of mud and debris inside the building. The damage was repaired and the building was restored with financial assistance from the Polish Government.

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