The Hungaria Spa was build in 1910 after the project of the Hungarian architect Emil Agoston in Dohany utca(eventually, who projected the Astoria Hotel, too). The history of the building, and of the spa itself, is a little bit messy. In fact the bath structure operated just until the end of the first decade of the XX century. He was converted in a Cinema in 1920 and as a Cabarè just until 1963. After that date the demolition of the structure began and nowadays what remains is just the facade, which also is in a very terrible condition.
However the last piece of this historical building survived, and in this very days seems that restoration works finally begin.
The remaining part of the facade still presents a really impressive relief, in typical secession style, of three woman enjoying the thermal water. They aren’t mermaids strictly sense, however those feminine figures are charged with the typical art nouveau symbolism concerning female characters and the water. the pleasing and excited, even erotic, expression which could be still viewable on the female figure on the very left of the relief, is evocative of the sensual, even sexual, relationship of feminine and the natural liquid element.
Not surprisingly, since this symbolism was quite usual in the artistic production of the turn of the century, a very similar frieze can be noticed in Vienna, in Seitzergasse, 1st District. And even if the subject itself was quite common at the time, however the resemblance between the two sculptures is really noticeable. Judge yourself: link side are the Dohany-utca Budapest woman at the bath, where on the right you can nitice the Vienna mermaids …