The Legend of Pegasus
It is said that Pegasus, the winged stallion of Greek myth, travelled through the land of Slovenia, wondering at the beauty of its countryside.
Descending for a closer look, he flew too low, striking a hoof against the hills close to present-day Rogaška Slatina and causing the surface of the earth to move and the natural mineral waters of the area to spring up from the ground. This legend marked the start of the story of Donat Mg, the health-giving mineral water of Rogaška Slatina.
Legend has it that the Rogaška Slatina mineral spring came about when Pegasus touched the ground with his hoof and caused the surface of the earth to move.
The beginnings of the springs of health
Celtic finds and Roman coins bear witness to the existence of the region’s »healing waters«. The water was analysed by Swiss alchemist Leonhard Thurneysser in 1572 marking the beginning of the documented history of the mineral water of Rogaška Slatina. In 1680 Dr Paul Sorbait, court physician and professor at the faculty of medicine in Vienna, described the water in his Praxis Medicae, which helped to give it a place of honour in medical practice. City worthies as well as royalty flocked to the health-giving springs, and news of the benefits of the water rapidly spread beyond the borders of the Hapsburg Empire. By 1685 the development of medicine necessitated a more thorough approach. Maribor physician J. B Gruendel wrote a book entitled Roitschocrene
(‘Rogaška Slatina spring’ in German), which examined the chemical properties and health benefits of Rogaška Slatina’s water in detail. By the 18th century, the water was the third most popular mineral water in the world.
The huge demand for the water led to the construction of a bottling plant; prior to construction in 1904, bottling technology had been extremely basic. The water was poured into the bottles directly from the spring. The bottles were then carried in wooden troughs to the central warehouse, where they were inspected, sealed with cork, labelled, packed into crates and finally loaded onto carriages.
Donat - a subterranean wonder
A decision was taken in 1907/1908 to tap the springs, with the work being overseen by hydrogeologist Dr J. Knett. What they found in 1908 astounded them: spring water with an extremely high magnesium content began to flow from deep below the site of today’s spa park. Because of its special properties and the vicinity of the site to the Donačka Gora mountain, it was named ‘Donat’.
Reconfiguration of the springs
Shortly after the end of the Second World War, following a decline in the output of the spring, Rogaška Slatina undertook a thorough reconfiguration of technology at the spring. The hydrogeologist and academy member Josip Bać introduced the concept of deep drilling. Its effectiveness soon became apparent. Some 41 exploratory wells were dug between 1952 and 1958, which together supplied 60 cubic metres of water a day – five times the amount produced before reconfiguration of the spring. Several years later, in 1967, they began to draw natural mineral water using deep drilling, which further increased the capacity of the springs. Since then, Donat has been drawn from depths of between 280 and 606 metres.
The high magnesium content led to the chemical symbol for that mineral being added to the name of the product – Donat Mg. This merely confirmed what we already knew: that Rogaška Slatina’s mineral water has the highest magnesium content of all mineral waters.*
Apollo and Donat Mg
Apollo remains to this day the symbol of Donat Mg natural mineral water, although that honour should perhaps more rightly go to Pegasus, who was the first to discover the beneficial effects of the mineral water that so entranced the god of beauty and health.
The wonders of the natural mineral water led Apollo to give up drinking from the spring on holy Mount Helicon, which is how he came to be the symbol of Donat Mg.
*Verified comparative data covering all certified natural mineral waters from the EU register available on the market.