The thermal springs of Luso are situated within the parish of Mealhalda, some 90 km south of Oporto in Portugal.Benedictine monks had settled here originally in the 6th century, The ruins of their hermitages, which the monks lined with cork to keep out the bitter cold can still be seen today among the rare trees they planted from around the world. The “Iron Duke”, Wellington famously spent a night in one of these cells before his victory over the French in 1810.
In 1726, the 1st Inventory of Portuguese mineral waters, the “Aquilégio Medicinal” (written by Dr. Francisco da Fonseca Henriques, mentioned the existence of a “hot water spring, which has been named as the Bath ...” , and in the later 18th century, local physicians and monks started to write about the effectiveness of the waters for particular cures. However, it wasn’t until 1834, when monasteries were abolished in Portugal, that the village was separated from the monastery and started to thrive as a health and rehabilitation spa in its own right. By 1854, work had started on a new hydrotherapeutic facility, a complex of baths and treatment rooms, laid out in a circle around the spring.
New hotels and villas and a casino added to the attraction of the town. The Founders of the Society for the improvement of the Luso Baths, DrAntónio Augusto Costa Simões, Dr. AlexandreAssis León, Dr. Antonio Francisco Diniz and a local journalist who was tireless in his promotion and development of the town, Councilor Emídio Navarro, are all immortalised in a famous painting by Luciano Freire, which may be seen in the Casino.