Piešťany is interesting for foreigners simply because of its name. Etymologists see the origin of the name Pescan in the word "sand". The first settlements originated near the sandy soils around the River Váh. Archaeologists have found here and in surrounding locations incredibly interesting discoveries, such as bones of prehistoric animals and traces of some settlements by prehistoric humans that give evidence of the attraction of the hot springs in this fertile valley. An exceptionally precious and rare find from this region is the delicate statue of a woman carved from a mammoth’s tusk, well-known as Moravany Venus. Scientists estimate her age at about 22,860 years old.
People say that the curative effects of our springs were first discovered by Roman legions. Roman horses were so tired after their long journey that they could not continue without rest. Soldiers then decided to relax for several days next to a muddy meadow near the River Váh. They supposedly continued their journey after this stay unusually refreshed.
The first written reference about Piešťany is stated in a deed from Zoborská in 1113. The future fame and international reputation of Piešťany as a spa town began to be born in the second half of the 17th century. In the 15th – 17th centuries, a professional interest in curative healing baths and mineral waters grew in Central Europe.
In 1642, the Czech scholar and intellectual Adam Trajan Benešovský from Benešov, in the ode Saluberrimae Pistinienses Thermae, glorified and celebrated with his poetry the curative healing effects of Spa Piešťany. He lyrically described the raging river with a raft, float, nobleman's residence, noblemen and aristocrats and peasants, a fertile valley and crowds of people who came to dive into hot baths and mud holes in the spring, when nature returned to life.
Aristocrats and noblemen, owners of grounds and properties, started to build the current spa buildings above the springs. So the first spas in Piešťany were created as well. In 1821, the squire of Piešťany Count Jozef Erdödy, head of the Nitriansky region and state minister of the Vienna government, began construction of the first bathtub and pool baths. He began constructing the first bathhouse - Napoleon´s Spas and the first mirror pool, in Piešťany after the Napoleonic wars ended, with the aim of healing and treating wounded soldiers (1822).
The beginnings of progressive rational changes in Piešťany´s curative healing methods meant the arrival of Dr. František E. Scherer, M.D., pioneer of modern balneal therapy, who worked in Piešťany Spa from 1829 to 1837. He advocated an individual approach for the prescription of curative cures based on advance defined diagnosis, and on the phase of the advanced state of disease of the patient.
A crucial era in the development of the spas of Piešťany is wedded to the name of the family Winter. At the beginning of the 20th century, the spa hotel Thermia Palace was created along with the balneal therapy building Irma (1912), the spa hotel Pro Patria (1916) and the Hotel Excelsior in the thirties in the functional style (now Jalta). Father Alexander and later his sons, especially Ľudovít and Imrich, served and managed the development of cultural and social life in Piešťany, and for the first time they struggled and attempted to combine the common interests and needs of the town and the spa. They laid the foundations of the Balneology Museum, and invited young and talented doctors and physicians to Piešťany. Some of the more notable include: František Ernest Scherer, Adalbert Wagner, Hermann Alter, Samuel Weinberger, Koloman Fodor, Eduard Weisz, father and son Zigmund and Leo Alexandre, Vratislav Kučera, Eduard Cmunt, Ladislav Schmidt, Jozef Brežný, Gejza Vámoš, Štefan Kollár and others.
During the era and period of spas managed by the Winters, the roads and transportation system improved dramatically. Many new schools were built as well as a new post office, the pedestrian Colonnaded Bridge with its symbol of the Spa – a bronze statue of a man, Crutch Breaker, and the unique outdoor pool Eva. The first golf course in Slovakia was built on Spa Island. Piešťany became the centre of significant golf tournaments, tennis competitions and chess championships, but also concert exhibitions, dance competitions, car racing tournaments and the Concours d´ Elegance championship.