Bathing prohibited: Sofia's forgotten mineral baths

Bathing prohibited: Sofia’s forgotten mineral baths

One of Sofia’s unique traits has to be the city’s wealth of hot springs and mineral water sources. You would have thought, then, that Sofia’s historic public baths with their medicinal properties and splendid architecture would be among the city’s chief attractions? After all, in not-so-distant Budapest the baths of Széchenyi and Gellért are luring thousands of tourists!

Instead, Sofia’s thermal baths in the districts of Bankya, Gorna Banya and Ovcha Kupel are currently abandoned and in an ever-worsening condition. And the conversion of the curious Vienna Secession-style Central Mineral Baths into a Museum of Sofia has been dragging on forever too.

To reveal the endangered beauty of Sofia’s historic baths, photographers (and urban explorers, dare I say!) Zdravko Yonchev and Martin Radnev entered the abandoned buildings and took some memorable snapshots of their captivating but neglected interiors. The resulting exhibition Sofia’s Old Mineral Baths can be viewed in front of the Ivan Vazov National Theatre from 28 August to 10 September.