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Doutor e paciente

The history

​Dr. Carlos Crisóstomo
Clinical Director | Specialty in Hydrology

Next to the Serra de Penha Garcia and on the right bank of the River Erges, which here delimits the Portuguese-Spanish border, we find the Termas de Monfortinho and its spring of mineral water from Fonte Santa, whose exploitation of the spring has been known since the Roman period, although not there is any evidence to support this theory.

The first effective references to these thermal waters come from Ribeiro Sanches, a famous natural doctor from Penamacor who in the 18th century described the therapeutic qualities of these waters. Also Francisco da Fonseca Henriques, physician of D. João V, in his Aquilégio Medicinal, mentions these syrups and their miraculous effects in the cure of joint, skin, digestive and liver diseases, female reproductive system and psychiatric problems.

For centuries, this mineral water that sprouted in a desert place was freely used by people on both sides of the border to cure various pathologies, although the existing infrastructure was very deficient. For the baths, a small granite house was used, called the Public Bath House, with very weak and archaic conditions.

The Public Bathroom would be demolished at the beginning of the 20th century, during the remodeling works carried out by the Companhia das Águas da Fonte Santa de Monfortinho, which would obtain the exploitation of these spas.

The Companhia das Águas da Fonte Santa de Monfortinho would be founded in 1907 by 32 partners, with José Gardete Martins, physician and lifetime clinical director of these Spas, being its main driver. With this foundation, the free access of the population to this spring, which had taken place for centuries, ended, and the business exploitation of its exploitation began. During the period of World War I, Caldas de Monfortinho experienced a period of serious crisis that was compensated, however, during the years of the Spanish Civil War and World War II, a period during which there was a large increase in the number of bathers.

In 1935, during the initial period of the Estado Novo, a new company would be constituted, formed by new partners, which would keep the same name. This new society was headed by the Count of Covilhã, Júlio Anahory de Quental Calheiros, and by the Viscount of Guilhomil, Ruy Vieira Peixoto de Villas Boas.

In 1940, the large spa would be built, with all the infrastructure, and which we still know, as well as a hotel, the Hotel da Fonte Santa.

In 1989, the therapeutic properties of thermal waters were recognized by an order from the General Directorate of Health and in 2008 (on March 19) new functions and therapies for thermal waters were added to the joint order of the General Directorate of Health: metabolic-endocrine diseases , rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders, circulatory system, nephro-urinary system and respiratory system.

The beautiful spa, opened in 1940, underwent a thorough renovation in 2001, carried out by the architect José Luís Teixeira Pinto, who reorganized and modernized the entire infrastructure, creating a new environment of well-being with modern areas for rest and relaxation.

The Termas de Monfortinho today provide a more functional offer of treatments, better adapted to the growing demand of a group of users who see in the thermal spas an important role in the recovery of the physical and psychic balance of all those who cannot escape a day-to-day. intense daily life and the consecutive months of the varied concerns of city life. It also has individual thermal wellness and rest services.

Photographs:  Old postcards edited by  Monfortinho Company - 1940s

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