HISTORY OF SZONTAGH FAMILY
The area of Novy Smokovec was founded by Mikulas Szontagh senior after his first private sanatorium was built in the year 1876.
The main therapeutic element offered was the all year round climatic cure, and sun-beds. Thanks to the successful introduction, and growing prosperity, of his sanatorium, the resort was extended with the addition of new spa houses. By 1899, the sanatoria complex already consisted of 26 buildings and 12 summer-houses.
Szontagh's Villa was situated in the west part of the complex of treatment houses. It was built for Mikulas Szontagh sr. after he married to Elena Gilming.
Mikulas Szontagh jr. expanded the villa in year 1914 to the size of a family guest house. After the confiscation the villa became a hotel. As a part of Interhotel Tatry Group, the villa belonged to the hotel Park and was named hotel Tokajik.
After the revolution in the year 1989, the situation changed in the High Tatras. The Szontagh's villa was, in the name of restitution law, given back to lawful heiress, Katarina Anna Szontagh, in the year 1991. That year saw the return of the Szontagh's tradition, which had been kept secret for a long time.
10 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SZONTAGHS
The idea of building a new resort (Nový Smokovec) was born after Stary Smokovec, former employer of doctor Mikulas Szontagh sr., was denied his project of climatic therapy.
During the works on Szontagh’s first sanatorium, construction workers discovered a Roman coin from 2nd century with a portrait of Marcus Aurelius. The silver coin was a proof of the past contact of Tatra miners with roman merchants.
Szontagh's sanatorium was the first specialist TB (tuberculosis) clinic in whole Hungarian Empire.
Mikulas Szontagh sr. was himself suffering from TB caught during the years he spent in Budapest. He became better only when he was in the Tatras. He began performing meteorological and climate influence tests on his own organism.
In the first years of the newly introduced climate therapy, the Tatra sanatoria was using a higher level of medical equipment and methods than the well-known Alp resort of Swiss Davos.
The real glory of the Novy Smokovec founders was a huge glass covered winter garden with rich and colorful flora, fountains, little lakes, private spots with lovely benches, and sensitive lightening. Forest birds flew in a huge hall, and music was performed every evening. A restaurant, cafeteria, and bowling room were directly connected to the hall, as well as a 65 m long, covered walking colonnade with a 6m altitude difference.
The sun from the Szontagh's family royal coat-of-arms has survived times of fraudulent suppression, and paradoxically, in the fifties, it became symbol of all Smokovec resorts.
As a co-founder of Carpathian society, Mikulas Szontagh sr. reorganized the guiding system and trained the Tatra mountain guides. He also brought the first snow skis to the mountains.
In winter, using skis, he was the first to discover the areas of Slavkovska dolina and Batizovska dolina (valley), as well as the Gerlachovsky stit hillsides. He used skis on his winter hunting trips and introduced them to the mountain guides as a basic equipment.
Mikulas Szontagh sr. was highly recognized botanist. He exchanged his knowledge and discoveries with various experts. One of them was the well-known Hungarian politician and Habsburg family adversary, Lajos Kossuth. Kossuth, who was collecting flora in Turin, Italy, during his time of banishment.