A glimpse inside abandoned luxury spa resorts built under the Soviet Union

Broken glass and peeling paint - this beautiful passage is slowly deteriorating with the passing of time. The blue boxes on the wall were part of the heating system, so patients and guests could enjoy a view on the magnificent gardens during winter time as well. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde. All images courtesy of the photographer, via Creative Boom submission

Following on from his series on abandoned amusement parks in Japan, Belgium photographer Reginald Van de Velde is now documenting the remains of former Soviet spa resorts in Georgia.

Originally conceived in the 1920s, these once glorious sanatoriums offered a luxury escape for the hard-working citizen with thermal baths and spas providing great health benefits. Often decadent with ornate architecture and interior design throughout, it seems a shame that so many now lie abandoned, crumbling. Still, there's a beauty in what's left, as Reginald has been able to capture.

He remarks: "High-ranked officers and lieutenants from the Russian Army relaxed at these – even special dedicated military sanatoria were constructed, serving only military personnel. With the majority of the USSR leaders based in Moscow, they simply connected these spa resorts with a direct train line to the capital. In Mother Russia, anything is possible. Stalin frequented the baths many times and a shrine devoted to the communist leader still reminds us of those glorious times."

But is all completely lost? "During my visit, I could see that little by little things are put into motion. Railway stations are being renovated, whereas I expected them to be in a very bad state. I saw many gardeners maintaining the lush gardens and landscapes. I noticed security keeping an eye on the still active buildings. On all of my visits, I had a warm welcome by the kindest people inviting and showing me around into the former ballrooms, leisure rooms, patios and private rooms. The outdoor pool had freshwater, the roads in and around many buildings were being asphalted anew... Maybe, just maybe, the utopian dream is not lost."

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Monumental arches adorn this open-air-treatment gallery inside a former sanatorium. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Monumental arches adorn this open-air-treatment gallery inside a former sanatorium. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Nature is taking over this beautiful corridor. This passage connected the main thermal spa facilities with the private rooms of patients and guests. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Nature is taking over this beautiful corridor. This passage connected the main thermal spa facilities with the private rooms of patients and guests. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The view on the grand entrance hall inside a neglected sanatorium. This building will be redeveloped into a luxurious hotel. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The view on the grand entrance hall inside a neglected sanatorium. This building will be redeveloped into a luxurious hotel. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

A derelict bathhouse is seen inside the thermal spa town of Tskaltubo. The water still flows through and underneath these baths, causing the buildings to deteriorate even faster. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

A derelict bathhouse is seen inside the thermal spa town of Tskaltubo. The water still flows through and underneath these baths, causing the buildings to deteriorate even faster. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Left in dismay, the view inside one of the many dining halls where the Soviet elite used to gather, featuring ornate arches and beautiful colors. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Left in dismay, the view inside one of the many dining halls where the Soviet elite used to gather, featuring ornate arches and beautiful colors. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The remains of a thermal spa featuring a circular setup of individual tubs, a setup that would allow many people to bathe at once. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The remains of a thermal spa featuring a circular setup of individual tubs, a setup that would allow many people to bathe at once. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

An exterior passage leads towards one of the many bathhouses, popular for its curative water treatments. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

An exterior passage leads towards one of the many bathhouses, popular for its curative water treatments. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

A crumbling spiraling staircase is seen inside this former Soviet sanatorium. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

A crumbling spiraling staircase is seen inside this former Soviet sanatorium. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Roman columns and an ornate ceiling decorate this dining hall inside a former sanatorium. Salvageable objects like parquet floors, statues and metals have long been vanished. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Roman columns and an ornate ceiling decorate this dining hall inside a former sanatorium. Salvageable objects like parquet floors, statues and metals have long been vanished. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Concrete is starting to collapse inside this hallway connecting a theater with the main building. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Concrete is starting to collapse inside this hallway connecting a theater with the main building. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The impressive entrance hallway to a former Soviet sanatorium alongside the Russian Riviera. It was later reconverted into a hotel but was left abandoned since the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. Gagra, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The impressive entrance hallway to a former Soviet sanatorium alongside the Russian Riviera. It was later reconverted into a hotel but was left abandoned since the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. Gagra, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Billiard tables are left to rot inside this leisure room. Sanatoria were immensely popular with the Soviet elite and holidays were arranged via a state-funded voucher system. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Billiard tables are left to rot inside this leisure room. Sanatoria were immensely popular with the Soviet elite and holidays were arranged via a state-funded voucher system. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The impressive entrance hallway to a former Soviet sanatorium alongside the Russian Riviera. It was later reconverted into a hotel but was left abandoned since the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. Gagra, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The impressive entrance hallway to a former Soviet sanatorium alongside the Russian Riviera. It was later reconverted into a hotel but was left abandoned since the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. Gagra, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

A marble staircase is seen inside this impressive former Soviet sanatorium at the Russian Riviera. It was later reconverted into a hotel but left abandoned since the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. Gagra, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

A marble staircase is seen inside this impressive former Soviet sanatorium at the Russian Riviera. It was later reconverted into a hotel but left abandoned since the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. Gagra, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Past grandeur: the view inside an ornate room where patients with respiratory problems were treated. Many of the ex-Soviet sanatoria all featured light blue paints, benefiting to a very refined and typical style. Gagra, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

Past grandeur: the view inside an ornate room where patients with respiratory problems were treated. Many of the ex-Soviet sanatoria all featured light blue paints, benefiting to a very refined and typical style. Gagra, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The remains of a sanatorium alongside the Russian Riviera. Benefiting from a sub-tropical climate, this region was immensely popular for the Soviet-elite during the USSR era. This particular sanatorium was built in the early 1900s and severed heavily by shelling and gunfire during the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. Sokhum, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The remains of a sanatorium alongside the Russian Riviera. Benefiting from a sub-tropical climate, this region was immensely popular for the Soviet-elite during the USSR era. This particular sanatorium was built in the early 1900s and severed heavily by shelling and gunfire during the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. Sokhum, Abkhazia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The exterior view on one of the many remaining spas. Men & women bathed separately, explaining a mirrored layout of the bathhouses. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde

The exterior view on one of the many remaining spas. Men & women bathed separately, explaining a mirrored layout of the bathhouses. Tskaltubo, Georgia. © Reginald Van de Velde