South Bathhouse, Sopot
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The South Bathhouse represents seaside resort architecture. It is one of few examples of architecture inspired by the national Norwegian style, following the style of the medieval stavkirke churches. Those churches have a piled-up body, characteristic of that style, and lavish carpentry decorations. The motifs of dragon heads and stylised real and fantastic animals, characteristic of the Norwegian style, are present here partly in the Art Nouveau form. The Bathhouse is one of the symbols of the seaside and resort history of Sopot.

History

The first bathing facility in the village of Sopoty was developed by Karol Krzysztof Wegner in 1819. He built a small wooden bathing building and cubicles - changing rooms for those who wanted to swim in the sea. In 1823, Jerzy Haffner, a former major and surgeon in the Napoleonic Army, erected the first brick Bath House. He built new wooden cubicles - changing rooms by the beach, separate for women and men. A bit later, the Spa House (with a hotel and a restaurant), a theatre, and a walking pier were built and a park was developed next to the Bath House. In the late 19th century, Sopot became a popular and dynamically developing resort. In 1901, it was granted municipal rights. In the first decade of the 20th century, the town authorities erected numerous impressive buildings in order to enrich the offer and win Sopot a reputation of one of the best European resorts. E.g. the Bath Facility and the Spa House were built, and the walking pier was enlarged at that time. In 1903, a new North Bathhouse (currently non-existent) was built on the site of earlier 19-century bath rooms, and in 1907, the South Bathhouse was erected. Both buildings were designed by Paul Puchmueller. From the side of the sea, the South Bathhouse had cubicles - changing rooms, and bridges, divided into separate segments for women, men, and families. In the rooms from the side of the promenade, there were restaurants, cafés, and hairdressing salons. In 1938, a tour hostel for members of the Hitler Youth (Hitler-Jugend) was established in the building. In 1994-1997, the Bathhouse was renovated and extended; new wings were added on the site of earlier changing rooms. Currently, the building houses the Zhong Hua hotel and restaurant.

Description

The South Bathhouse is located in the central-eastern part of Sopot, on the seashore, on the east side of the seaside promenade , i.e. Wojska Polskiego avenue. The building neighbours dunes and a beach towards the north, south, and east, and the South Park, as well as villas and boarding houses located on the seashore strip towards the west.

It is made of wood and built in the national Norwegian style, also called the Old Nordic style. The main body is symmetrical and made of several stacked parts. The central part of the building has one and two storeys and is covered with a gable roof and a mono-pitched roof. On its sides, it is framed with two two-storey towers covered with hip roofs. The roofs of the towers are topped with lanterns that are covered with roofs similar in form to the roofs of the towers. In the front façade of the towers, there are bay windows. There are annexes on both edges of the building. They are narrower and lower than the body, and are covered with steep-pitched roofs. In the front (western) façade, on the axis, there is a porch of the main entrance to the building, and on the roof, there is a clock tower. Originally, on both sides of the front façade there were rows of cubicles - changing rooms (with an entrance from the side of the sea), ended with corner one-storey pavilions. Three similar rows of cubicles with bridges adjoined the eastern façade of the building perpendicularly (from the side of the sea). The cubicles on the west side have been replaced with galleries, and the cubicles on the east side have been replaced with hotel wings in the form similar to the body of the building. The corner pavilions were preserved.

The Bathhouse has carpentry decorations distinctive of the national Norwegian style, partly covered with painted decoration and following the Art Nouveau style. The most characteristic elements of the decoration are dragon heads and stylised real and fantastic animals (e.g. bears, dolphins, or walruses).

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Beata Dygulska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 12-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Domańska H., Opowieści sopockich kamienic, Gdańsk 2005, s. 82-84;
  • Dzieje Sopotu do roku 1945, pod red. B. Śliwińskiego, Gdańsk 1998, str. 39;
  • Paul Puchmueller, architekt, który przemienił Sopot w miasto (1875-1942), katalog wystawy, praca zbiorowa pod red. M. Buchholz-Todoroskiej, Sopot 2008, s. 58-61;
  • Karty ewidencyjne zabytku architektury: Łazienki Południowe, opr. J. Golc- Czyszek, J. Woszczak, W. Niedzielko, 1984, Archiwum NID;

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: początek XX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wojska Polskiego 1, Sopot
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district Sopot, commune Sopot
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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