Městská plovárna / Municipal River Baths

(Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.732392N, 13.379425E

The premises of the former Municipal River Baths are situated on the left bank of the Radbuza River below Doudlevecká Street, not far from the building of a former hospice (later Fodemayer’s and also Kuffner’s Pavilion) built in the year 1906. The river baths opened in 1910 in the neighbourhood of a military swimming place connected through its location to the nearby Home Guard barracks and other army objects further downstream. They were not the only swimming places in Pilsen – the first one was established at Jíkalka on the Mže River. Another swimming site on the Radbuza River was located below the Church of St. Nicholas and replaced by river baths in the area of the present-day Wilson Bridge further downstream in 1870.

The river spa complex consisted of several parts. A brick entrance gate on Doudlevecká Avenue is still very well preserved to the present day. Nearby, the tram line ended and a path continued down to the river, where a villa with a restaurant stood. This building houses an aftercare programme of the Centre for Drug Prevention and Therapy. There used to be changing rooms right on the river bank and a long pier with three pools on the river. A sunbathing lawn was established on the right bank of the Radbuza River, opposite the river spa because of better access to sunlight. This space was possible to form thanks to an agreement the city made with the Neusiedler (previously Piette) Paper Mill, which leased the plots with the lawn in exchange for the opportunity to construct a railway siding off the Klatovy (and Železná Ruda) bound track into the paper mill premises. Two massive pillars not far from the river baths further upstream still offer a reminder of this never-realised plan. As there was no footbridge at the river baths connecting both river banks, a ferry operated on the spot. 

The post-war period brought the residents of Pilsen extended swimming possibilities, especially in the Bolevec Ponds and emerging swimming pools. Thus, the river baths ceased operations in the 1960s to be replaced by the water sports club of the Czech Tourist Club. Subsequently, most of the land in the area of the former baths’ technical base started to be used by the Speed Canoeing Club TJ Škoda, on whose premises the last remains of wooden buildings are to be found – part of the changing rooms. In response to an impulse by the Maják Plzně / Pilsen Lighthouse initiative – and in an ongoing cooperation with its members – the Pěstuj prostor / Foster the City club has been taking care of the whole area since 2014, bringing life to the former spa with the help of a wide range of cultural and community events.


JČ – MK

Sources

  • mapy.plzen.eu
 
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