Bad Blumau is a municipality with 1615 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020) in the judicial district of Fürstenfeld or the political district of Hartberg-Fürstenfeld in Eastern Styria, around 25 kilometers south of the district capital Hartberg. The small town is best known for its hotel with thermal bath, the Rogner Bad Blumau, which was designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Parish Church of St. Sebastian
The Parish Church of St. Sebastian is one of the main attractions and religious center of the Austrian community of Bad Blumau. Saint Sebastian was a Roman soldier and is revered as a saint in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
The construction of the church began in 1480. It was then that a magnificent building in the Gothic style arose in Bad Blumau. But it did not stand too long and collapsed due to the displacement of the earth layers that occurred in 1701. Only the chapel of St. Leonard has survived from the previous building.
The modern building of the Church of St. Sebastian was erected in 1702-1703 according to the drawings and under the guidance of the master from Graz, Bartholomeus Ebner. In 1987, the church was overhauled, and in 2001 an organ arrived here from Anton Škrabl's workshop in Slovenia.
The interior of the church is designed in a typical Baroque style. On one of the outer walls there is a sundial with an inscription in two languages - Latin and German: "Where the sun is, there is life." Above the central altar is a painting depicting St. Sebastian pierced with arrows. The multicolored stained glass windows let in enough light to create a cozy, unique atmosphere.
Not far from the Austrian community of Bad Blumau, there is the so-called Millennium Oak - the oldest tree in Europe, which received the status of a natural monument of national importance. You can find it in the district of Fürstenfeld on the so-called "oak path" between the villages of Loymet and Birbaum an der Saphen.
The giant oak reaches 30 meters in height, the trunk diameter is 2.5 meters, and the girth is 8.75 meters. It will take 7 adults to hug such a giant. The crown of a thousand-year-old oak tree is no less majestic, its diameter exceeds 50 meters.
Since ancient times, the place near such a remarkable tree has been used for various kinds of meetings, gatherings, and also as a dance floor. In the seventies of the XX century, an extraordinary thunderstorm broke out on the outskirts of Bad Blumau, which caused a real tragedy. Lightning struck the immense trunk and nearly destroyed an ancient tree. People came to the aid of the giant. The four-meter wound was covered with concrete and the oak survived. Later it turned out that this measure turned more to harm than good. The water flowing down the concrete inside the oak, accumulating, led to the fact that the trunk began to rot.
The wife of a successful German entrepreneur Heidi Horten became interested in the fate of the millennial oak. It was she who sponsored the renovation of the tree, which took more than 1000 hours to complete. The "tree surgeon" brought in for this purpose removed the rotten core with compressed air and laid a water drainage system, thanks to which the oak recovered and, as everyone in the area hopes, will live for a long time.
The first settlement is likely to have occurred in the first
century AD. Some grave mounds (for example between Kleinsteinbach
and Speilbrunn) bear witness to this. Due to the migration of
peoples around 400 AD, Eastern Styria was also repopulated. There
was probably no permanent settlement between 400 and 600 AD. Only
the Slavs repopulated the area around Blumau again.
As part of the fortification of the eastern border, a belt of castles was built, which also included a castle in Blumau. In the 13th century the castle is called "Plumenenau", which was deserted around 1400, so that today no traces can be found. Around 1480 a Gothic church was built, dedicated to Saint Leonhard, which was in danger of collapsing after a landslide at the end of the 17th century. In 1702/03 the court architect Bartolomäus Ebner built today's parish church of St. Sebastian in the Baroque style.
In 1997 the thermal bath designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser was opened. With this opening a reorientation of the until then mainly agricultural community towards tourism took place. In 2001, Blumau was named a health resort and thus received the right to use the name “Bad”. Since 2001, 180 kW of electricity have been generated from the 107 ° C hot thermal water, so that the hotel is also a geothermal power plant.
The prosperity following tourism led to the renovation of numerous old farms and buildings.
In 2009 the construction of the new elementary school began, about the establishment of which there was a survey of the community citizens. As part of the construction of the elementary school, USC Rogner Bad Blumau will also get a new sports facility. This consists of two new grass pitches and a grandstand and will be east of the old arena.
Bad Blumau is located in the middle of the Eastern Styrian hill country on the small Safen river, just before it flows into the Lafnitz. Due to its location on the thermal line, which can be traced back to the earlier volcanic activity in this area, Bad Blumau is primarily known as a health resort.
Bad Blumau can be reached via the Thermenbahn, regional bus routes and by car via the A2 motorway, exit Bad Waltersdorf.