When diving in Chaves Thermal Water, you will automatically dive into a millennial history dating back to the Roman conquest of Iberian Peninsula. The written memoirs of those times reveal that the unique characteristics of the Hot Springs of Caldas de Chaves were discovered by the Romans who acknowledged the power of the “Healing Waters”, when handling the aftermath of battles and discoveries of territories.
Romans have left legacies such as laws, customs and the love for the culture of water that has given rise to our city named Aquae Flaviae by Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus. It then became Chaves with the Foundation of the Kingdom of Portugal. This name clearly entails the roots in the honor of our hot water, whose use of Thermal Water has remained decisive for the city's enhancement.
The last 300 years of history
Although the Hot Springs of Caldas de Chaves were first mentioned by Francisco da Fonseca Henriques, El Rei D. João V’s physician, in 1726, in “Aquilégio Medicinal”, the first book on Portuguese mineral and medicinal waters, its unique and distinctive medicinal properties were only highlighted in 1856 when characterized as bicarbonated, rich in sodium, minerals and hydrogen.
On October 12, 1899, Caldas de Chaves received a business license and an exploration permit from the hands of King Carlos I. Therefore, in 1890, the City Council of Chaves ordered the construction of the “Fonte do Gradeamento”, open to visitors, next to the fountain built in 1807, from which the boiling and smoking water was drawn. Years later, in 1934, the “Poço do Gradeamento” was the base for building of a small buvette of stone columns alluding to the Roman period, from which the water was drawn with the help of a small hand pump.
Aware of the importance of this resource for the city, in 1945, the City Council appointed Dr. Mário Gonçalves Carneiro as the first Clinical Director of the Thermal Resort of Chaves.
Renowned and distinguished, Dr. Mário Gonçalves Carneiro, who was from Chaves, played a crucial role in the national and international recognition, growth and evolution of Termas de Chaves and the city, due to the benefits provided by Thermal Water.
In 1949, the banker Cândido Sotto Mayor bought the right to explore Caldas de Chaves’ Water, and built a temporary spa. Dr. J. Afonso Guimarães, Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of Porto, was named Clinical Director of Caldas de Chaves.
In 1963, the concession was given back to the City Council under the presidency of Dr. Agostinho Pizarro, and Dr. Mário Gonçalves Carneiro was once again appointed as Clinical Director. The construction of the new spa began and it was inaugurated in 1972. It was composed of five interconnected pavilions that are still in service today, after many renovations and expansions carried out by the Municipality of Chaves.
From 2004 to 2018, DR. António Vicente was the Clinical Director of the spa. In 2019, Prof. Dr. Pedro Cantista became the new Clinical Director and is still in office.