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Narzan Baths
May 14, 2014 01:56


Narzan baths in Kislovodsk were taken only by the members of the imperial family prior to the 1917 revolution and, according to legend, even the emperor himself. In Soviet times the resort towns of Kavminvody were attended by the party bosses (including the Secretary General of the CPSU Central Committee Leonid Brezhnev), famous actors, writers and astronauts. But there was enough space in the sanatoriums for ordinary people too. However, everything collapsed after reformation period.

Many employees of sanatoriums cry recalling what was happening here in the early - mid nineties. In the last decade the situation began to change, but still not as rapidly as the locals would like it to, tourism is, in fact, an opportunity for them to live a normal life. If you come here for the first time, this town makes a dual impression. Those who have previously traveled mainly to foreign resorts involuntarily pay attention to the unfinished bulk of sanatoriums sticking out on the background of the picturesque landscape of “plush” mountains like rotten teeth.

Being victims of perestroika they deteriorate for decades, and it is unlikely that anyone will need them anymore. It is expensive to demolish them, but to complete construction is even more expensive. The roads chipped in many places are also a surprise, as well as some pavements that can hardly be called that. Dekabristov Street near the “Rossiya” sanatorium preferred by local and guest bosses has no pavements at all: the gates of mansions look out directly on the roadway.

But once you take a look at the chain of mountains in the distance, go down to the centre of the town and walk through Kurortny Boulevard, Nizhny and Verkhny parks, listen to a woman playing the saxophone with two huge dogs sitting at her feet, breath in the magical air and drink mineral water in “Narzan gallery”, then your impression of the town will change. All the more if you see Elbrus clearly visible in bright weather on the road from the airport of Mineralnye Vody and from the mountains in Kislovodsk and Pyatigorsk, then you realize: you're in love with this place.

That is why many people have stayed loyal to the resort towns of Kavminvody for decades. Of course these are mainly older vacationers who have traveled here since their youth. However, the number of young visitors also increases. They come mostly during the season, from April to November.

In February-March sanatoriums and resorts are filled at most only by half, and the most part of this half is those who arrived by subsidized resort vouchers from their enterprises. Those who arrive in a sanatorium at their own expense are few. The cost of vouchers really makes you wonder. An economy voucher to a sanatorium for 12 full days will cost at least 35-40 thousand roubles (per person in a double room). And this doesn’t include the road and expenses on travel and entertainment during your stay.

However 40,000 for a voucher include not only accommodation and meals, but also a thorough inspection of the body and a number of procedures. Not to mention the traditional narzan and freshwater baths which are necessarily included into the “package”.

Mineral water at a local pump room is also free (strictly 20-30 minutes before meal!). If you think that life is sleepy here, you are mistaken. Guest performers from the capital often give shows in the Philharmonic Hall, the unique “Blagodat” theatre will not only acquaint you with the way of life of the Noble and show the historical mini-performance, but also feed you new dishes accompanied by the songs of actors. And, of course, don’t you want to visit a concert and an excursion to the Chaliapin House Museum? He sometimes sang from the balcony of the house yielding to the wish of fans, and his powerful bass was heard all around. It was not by accident that the resort was built - at the time the building of the Main Narzan baths appeared, Kislovodsk was experiencing extraordinary popularity. By the late 19th century, the resort was one of the most visited places of the Russian aristocracy. This was facilitated by a number of factors. The first and most important of them are the unique natural conditions: pure mountain air and warm weather (there are about three hundred sunny days in Kislovodsk a year) successfully complemented the numerous underground mineral springs. The Kislovodsk Naran contains copper, iron, manganese, silver, iodine, bromine, radon, phosphoric and boric acids; this compound is very rare and ensures high medicinal qualities of the mineral water. Caucasus resorts specialize in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, disorders of the nervous system, metabolic disorders, and problems with the digestive system.

The resort was also promoted in the late 19th - early 20th century because in 1885 a German physician, M.I. Ertel, developed the 'treatment with terrain cure' - metered climbing on marked trails. The leading resort immediately put this new treatment into practice. In 1901, a local physician N.N. Oblonsky plotted the first route of terrain cure to the mountain Tupaya, and after scientific study it has become widely used in all resorts. This method is also very good for the heart, blood vessels and digestive system. By the late 19th century, two routes between Moscow and Kislovodsk were completed: the highway and the railway line. Of course, it helped to increase the flow of patients. Fashion also had its influence: going to a resort by train was considered extremely prestigious at the time. Only wealthy people could afford it - a single one way ticket to Kislovodsk in today's money was worth about 30,000 rubles. By the late 19th century, the number of tourists in Kislovodsk has nearly tripled from the beginning of the century. In addition, the clients began to understand the differences in methods of hydrotherapy - and started to require its more advanced and improved forms. There was an urgent need for the latest equipment, building for the Narzan baths. The construction site for the complex was selected at the former Topol Alley (now - Resort Boulevard), for there was a small mineral water lake. Civil engineer A.N. Klepinin was instructed to lead the project of the future baths. He decided that a large two-story building would perfectly fit the spirit and architecture of Kislovodsk, the lower floor of which would be designed for the Narzan baths and pools, and the top - for hydrotherapy, with massage rooms, saunas, unleavened showers of various types and a special massage bath called vellenbad, in which a stream of hot water poured from a special hole in the wall. Klepinin strategically placed the baths in order to let Narzan flow into a special tank of the engine room all by itself - because the building was slightly below the level of the main source. Construction of the complex according to Klepinin’s project began in 1901 and lasted four years - until January 1905. The complex cost the state 393,000 imperial rubles that now would amount a little more than 400 million rubles.

During World War II, the city's status as a resort changed. Most spa health centers were used as hospitals, and the locals worked as nurses and military doctors. Their work was not in vain - after the victory, Kislovodsk was awarded the Medal of the Great Patriotic War of the first level for their dedicated work on the treatment and rehabilitation to health of soldiers.



Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Narzan Kislovodsk    

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