Urban Exploration in Georgia – Abandoned Sanatoria in Tskaltubo

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Ever since we started our journey in Vladivostok in eastern Russia, many towns we passed have looked pretty much the same. The architecture of one-story houses and derelict apartment buildings, the condition of the roads, and the omnipresent (yellow) gas pipes don’t tell you if you’re traveling in Kazakhstan, Siberia, or in Georgia. For some 70 years the Soviets ruled over all these regions, and their imprint on infrastructure is still visible and tangible everywhere.

Sanatoria were an important part of the Soviets sense of well-being, and over the years we have stopped at some of them in remote corners where they (also) serve as a public bathhouse. In many places bath houses (banyas in Russian) are still common, whether with regular water from the tap or from a mineral spring.

Sanatoria in Tskaltubo

Many, if not all could use some sort maintenance, not to mention a full restoration. Tskaltubo, in western Georgia, was a thriving resort until the collapse of the Soviet Union. There was no longer money to maintain the sanatoria and demolition most likely is waiting for the more than twenty sanatoria and bath houses in town.

Today, Tskaltubo is the perfect place for urban exploration in Georgia. While some of the buildings are inhabited (often by refugees), others are empty. Some are private and closed off, others are open to whomever feels like visiting it.

There are more than twenty and the sanatoria are huge, some with a few hundred rooms. We took a long afternoon just to visit these four sites. These photos will give you an impression.

Enjoy!

Check out this book: 24 Off-road Routes in Georgia

Explore Georgia (©Oun Travela)

1. Sanatorium Iveria

GPS Waypoint Sanatorium Iveria: 42.330140, 42.604643

Recommended Books on Overlanding

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Going Home to Africa – Dot Bekker

The Cruel Way, Switzerland to Afghanistan – Ella Maillart

927 Days of Summer – Brad & Sheena van Orden

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2. Sanatorium Metalurgist

GPS Waypoint Sanatorium Metalurgist: 42.325343, 42.593706

3. Bathhouse #8

GPS Waypoint Bathhouse #8: 42.323329, 42.597741

Travel Guidebooks for Georgia & the Caucasus

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Lonely Planet – Georgia – Armenia – Azerbaijan

Bradt Travel Guide – Georgia

The Caucasus: An Introduction – Thomas de Waal

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4. Sanatorium Medea

GPS Waypoint Sanatorium Medea: 42.322194, 42.592648

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For a full list with some 25 abandoned buildings, check out this blog post by wander-lush.

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