The first mention of the settlement dates back to September 13, 1578, ie in the privileged act for Prince Kristóf Báthory  granted to the guards of the mining salt from Szováta, act confirmed later by Zsigmond Báthory - "Confirmatio Assecurationis possessionis Zowatha" In his complaint dated 1581, addressed to István Báthory, the Prince of Transylvania and the King of Poland, the Chamberlain of the salt mines in Szeklerland refers to the existence of a number of 16 families on the field of Szováta. The population of the small settlement, initially formed by the keepers of salt mines and their families has increased slowly, going from 16 families mentioned in historical documents dating from 1602 to a total of 400 families as shown in notes of the traveller Orbán Balázs, who visited the town in 1860. The main occupation of the population was forestry, agriculture, animal husbandry and carting, the first industrial enterprise in the city being also in the forestry field.

   The mineral water and the salt lakes were used for baths since the days preceding the eighteenth century, the salty waters being initially used mostly by the local people; later emerged, however, wealthy visitors, the small aristocracy began to build their own summer residencies at the bottom of the Salt Mountain, even since the early 1840s.

   In 1872, the foundations were laid for the first public bath in the city, called "Géra" also authorized as therapeutic bath in 1876.The founder was Veress József. The Lower Resort developed around this bath very shortly after its building, the city itself experiencing an unprecedented development in its history of over three centuries. Within a few decades the number of its inhabitants tripled, around the resort emerged dozens of villas, the settlement being officially certified as a resort in 1884, becoming a spa centre of local interest known by the inhabitants of the nearby towns and villages.

   In the period 1875-1881 arose Bear Lake, the largest heliothermal salt lake in the world, following the collapse of the land above a huge underground dissolution and the accumulation of two rivulets in the resulted gap. After conducting complex studies on the curative properties of the waters of the new lake situated in a picturesque landscape, the founder of the modern resort - Sófalvi Illyés Lajos - decided on exploiting the unique natural resources, the Upper Resort being founded officially in 1900. In 1902 he also bought the Géra Baths, thus uniting the two resorts. The years before the First World War were a period of dynamic development, Szováta becoming one of the most popular and visited resorts in Transylvania. In 1905, the railroad that reached to Sărăţeni/Sóvárad was extended to Praid/Parajd mine, thus facilitating the connection of Szováta with more remote areas. In 1908, current water was introduced and sewage of the resort was accomplished.

   After stagnating during the First World War, Szováta experienced a new period of prosperity, becoming between the wars the best known resort with salt baths in Romania, visited several times by the royal family. In 1926, the electric light was introduced in the resort, and in 1925, due to rheumatic and gynaecological treatment demand, treatment facilities were built near Bear Lake and Black Lake. By 1939 over 100 villas were built by private investors.

   World War II brought another period of stagnation, followed by the establishment of the socialist regime: nationalization of forests, small industrial and handicraft workshops, as well as villas and spa facilities in the resort.

   In 1952, when the resort was declared a town (due primarily to its reputation as spa), only the resort itself showed signs of urbanization (water network, sewerage, electricity) - which did not affect the lives of the residents of the village. The situation would change in 1960, when they carried out the extension of water, sewer, electricity networks throughout the entire town, asphalting the main streets and arranging the sidewalks along them and providing public lighting.

   Between 1960-1980 the resort has benefited from major investment amenities, being 5 hotels and a new treatment unit being built, which enabled the development of the tourism capacity at maximum, thus creating many jobs in the service sector.

   After 1990, the resort and thus the city have been marked by the transition period, the facilities of the spa area being affected by the obvious moral aging process, also created by the tourism legislation, the landmarks of the economic activity in the city, complementary to those developed in the resort, knowing a wide restructuring process concurrently with the transfer of ownership.

    The period after 2000 is characterized by massive requests for building chalets and holiday homes, developing spontaneously microzones with holiday houses or small and medium capacity tourist facilities, mostly belonging to the private sector.

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2023-12-06 20:44

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