Holidays in Soviet SanatoriumsPrevious project Next project
160x200 mm hardback
Published in 2017
This book is the first to offer a comprehensive collection of photographs and text on Soviet-era sanatoriums from Armenia to Uzbekistan. All the photographs are specially commissioned for the book, taken by a team of young photographers specialising in the post-Soviet territories.
Originally conceived in the 1920s, sanatoriums afforded workers a place to holiday, courtesy of a state-funded voucher system. At their peak they were visited by millions of citizens across the USSR every year. A combination of medical institution and spa, the era’s sanatoriums are among the most innovative buildings of their time.
Although aesthetically diverse, Soviet utopian values permeated every aspect: western holidays were perceived as decadent. By contrast, sanatorium breaks were intended to edify and strengthen visitors – health professionals carefully monitored guests throughout their stay, so they could return to work with renewed vigour. Certain sanatoriums became known for their specialist treatments, such as crude oil baths and radon water douches.
With decades-old wallpaper, mosaics glorifying workers and treatments such as ‘electrical hot chairs’, these sanatoriums are a door to another time.
Every shade of beige: Soviet-era sanatoriums – in pictures.
This book transports you to a new and exciting world - like all good books should - and it made me want to go there in the same way that a novel does.
Mathew Clayton, Open Book, BBC Radio 4
A glimpse into the fascinating and incredibly odd world of Soviet-era sanatoriums.
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