View of the facade of Müllersches Volksbad in Munich.

Müllersches Volksbad

Jewel of Art Nouveau at the Isar river

Müllersches Volksbad (Müllersches Public Baths) is an indoor swimming pool and local attraction all in one. This jewel of Art Nouveau design is not far from the Deutsches Museum (German Museum) and Gasteig cultural centre on the banks of the Isar river.

Müllersches Volksbad, Munich’s first public indoor swimming pool, first opened its doors back in 1901. The art nouveau swimming pool, which was one of the world's largest and most cutting-edge pools of its type in the early 20th century, was designed by the architect Carl Hocheder in an impressive Neo-Baroque style. His concept was inspired by Oriental hammam baths and Roman thermal spas. Decorative baroque elements, such as the wide staircase, wall murals, stucco and bronze statues, transform a trip to the pool and sauna into a stylish and sensual experience.

Yet despite its grand appearance, it was not what you would call the upper echelons of the city who used to meet here for a swim over one hundred years ago. Quite the opposite. The indoor baths are named after their founder Karl Müller. The engineer donated the building to the City of Munich on the condition that it built public baths for the less fortunate members of society.

There are two pools, which were strictly separated into a men’s and women’s pool in earlier days. Nowadays, visitors are, of course, free to choose where they swim. The smaller pool, previously the women’s pool, is slightly warmer and ideal for a relaxing bathe. In the larger – former men’s – pool, the temperature is cooler and swimmers can opt for lane swimming or one of the sports courses on offer.

The exceptional sauna facilities make Müllersches Volksbad particularly popular with locals. One of the original features, the Roman-Irish steam bath, slowly warms the body in various heated rooms at different temperatures (40, 60, 80°C). As well as offering the ancient art of steaming, the Volksbad also has a steam bath and a Finnish sauna with a new infusion every hour.

And if you need something to eat or drink after your trip to the baths, you can recharge your batteries in Müllersches Volksbad’s very own art nouveau café-restaurant.

www.swm.de

 

 

Photos: Luis Gervasi, Jörg Lutz

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