The USSR’s sanatoriums, the grand health spas that once welcomed millions of citizens every year, often courtesy of the state, stand across the post-Soviet space in various states of decline. A few are still open to guests who want a taste of their strange health treatments and staff-monitored relaxation schedules.
Belgian photographer Reginald Van de Velde is more interested in deserted sanatoriums, documenting their ruins on his Instagram account @suspiciousminds.
His latest series explores the “abandoned” Neoclassical buildings in the Georgian spa town of Tskaltubo. Once one of the Soviet Union’s most popular holiday destinations for workers, elites, and Stalin himself, Tskaltubo now houses makeshift refugee camps for the many people who fled the war in Abkhazia 25 years ago.
“On all of my visits I had a warm welcome by the kindest people who showed me around the former ballrooms, leisure rooms, patios, and private rooms,” says Van de Velde.
You can follow him on Instagram as he continues to explore abandoned sanatoriums along with other architectural gems like the spomeniks of former Yugoslavia and monumental buildings of Tbilisi.