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    Pyatigorsk

The region of Five Mountains (Bish-Dag) with hot water spring is first mentioned in the chronicles in 1334, when famous Arabian traveler Ibn Batutta visited the place. Russian manuscripts start mentioning the site in the middle of the 16th century, giving some information about Bish-Dags (Pyatigorsk) population. New data on the spot appear only in 1773, when Russian scientist Guldenshtedt briefly describes the Hot Mountain (southern ridge of the Mashuk Mountain), where hot sulphuric spring wells out of its slope.

In 1774 peace agreement with Turkey states Kabarda and Bish-Dag belong to Russia. In 1780 a small fortress is erected not far than 4 kilometers from the Mashuk Mountain, The fortress is called Konstantinogorskaya, and soon a settlement appear near it, sheltering soldiers, who finished their military service. The soldiers notice hot mineral springs, coming form the Mashuk Mountain, and when world famous Russian traveler Pallas visits the site in 1793, local population is already well aware of healing waters, good for skin problems, rheumatism, gout and etc. Scientists come and study the springs, spreading news about wonderful waters around the country and welcoming patients from most distant Russian cities.

In 1861 doctor S.A. Smirnov becomes the head of Russian resorts, which has positive effect on Pyatigorsk. Dr. Smirnov founds Russian Balneal Society, first Russian science establishment dealing with natural healing factors. When in 1875 railway connects Rostov-on-Don with Vladikavkaz, amount of health-resort visitors rapidly grows. In the beginning of the 20th century Pyatigorsk authorities open hot mineral spring, well-rooms for sulphureous water, install electrical equipment, build Lermontov gallery with a stage and hotels. The town outskirts are rapidly encumbered with comfortable villas.

Many famous people visit Pyatigorsk health resort outstanding Russian poets Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov, music composer Mikhail Glinka, famous writers Lev Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov. In 1917 Soviet revolution comes to the resort, and local population meets communists with enthusiasm. However, civil war makes the situation around the town dangerous. In 1920 first Soviet Balneal institute opens in Pyatigorsk, which later plays important role in development of Soviet resorts. Other resorts open branches of said institute. Science and research activities give ground for science-based treatment and for important hydrogeological surveys, aimed at finding new mineral springs. In 1924-1925 three more chalybeate springs are discovered near Pyatigorsk. All described activities result in accurate treatment focus of the town, correct indications and contraindications for therapy and appropriate medical infrastructure. In 1935 the town queues for reconstruction; however the Great Patriotic war, started in 1941, breaks plans for peaceful reconstruction causing great damage to Pyatigorsk.

After the war ends in 1945, Soviet government decides to rebuild destroyed resorts, and in two years Pyatigorsk returns to economic and cultural level, it had before the war had started. The fifties open a new stage in towns development. Hydrogeological works result in new springs, and radon water arrives to Pyatigorsk via pipes from Caucasian field. New sanatoriums are built in the city.

Today the city hosts not only medical establishments, but also over a hundred museums and historical monuments. The city is known all around the world as Natural Museum of Mineral water, having over 40 mineral springs around its territories. In 1997 city authorities establish Public ecological foundation, aimed at preserving natural heritage and creating a collection of rare and endangered species of plants and animals.



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