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The Ancient Origins of Today’s Swimming Pool

Have you ever wondered how swimming pools got their start? When did society make the switch from finding natural watering holes to creating pools of water on demand? Evidence from the past sheds light on when swimming pools got their start and just how important they’ve been in cultures around the world.

The oldest swimming pool of ancient times was believed to be in the Pakistan city of Mohenjo-daro, constructed over 5,000 years ago. The tank was just over 39 feet long and almost 23 feet wide, with a maximum depth of almost 8 feet. Interestingly, they made the tank watertight by tightly laying bricks together and sealing them with gypsum plaster. Tar was added along the sides of the tank to make it even more watertight. This early pool was more of a water tank used for religious purposes instead of recreation.

As wealth increased during the height of the Greek and Roman empires, swimming pools became one of life’s luxuries. In Greece, ‘palaestras’ were built, which were essentially common areas for recreation and exercise and included pools for swimming and bathing. In the year 305 C.E, the Romans built a massive pool that was over 900,000 square feet. What’s even more impressive is that this pool was heated by fires lit in the basement underneath! Conduits in the columns and walls distributed the heat throughout the massive pool area. Like the Grecian palaestras, the swimming pools of Rome served as social centers where business, exercise, and recreation merged.

While your pool may not be 5,000 years old or have an area of 900,000 square feet, it likely serves similar purposes to pools of ancient times – namely to provide relaxation, socialization, and exercise. And even pools of modern times are an engineering feat. Choosing a pool builder with a reputation of local excellence is important. Check out our gallery of previous work to see what Aqua Blue can do for you! And stay tuned next time for more on how the modern swimming pool made its way into backyards across America.