Soviet era

My first urban explore and Irma’s file

Some people call it trespassing, other call it urban exploring: making pictures in abandoned buildings. I’m always fascinated by the often erie appearance of empty houses. It makes you wonder why the people left, their stories and the past.

Abandoned Soviet era spa
Abandoned Soviet era spa

During my trip to Georgia I came across and abandoned Soviet era spa at the Black Sea coast. I couldn’t resist to take a peek together with my youngest daughter and we went past the rusty fence. The main building was a gloomy hotel. What used to be the lobby, was filled with rubble.

Inside the main building
Inside the main building

On the second floor was the former restaurant. From the outside you could still see the tables and chairs. When I walked up the round stairs, I was spotted by someone who might have been a caretaker and was asked to leave. Being shooed away by angry men is also part of urban exploring I guess.

I decided to check out the nearby pool. Back in the 1970’s the pool was probably luxurious. I could imagine Communist Party members swimming back and forth, while in the adjoining rooms people got their massages and other spa treatments. Nowadays the pool is filled with mess and instead of the typical chlorine smell of a pool, the odour of pee and dung is abundant.

The pool
The pool
Staircase
Staircase
The former massage parlour?
The former massage parlour?

In one of the rooms that could have been an office, there were scraps of destroyed files and one forgotten file (number 566) on a former employee that was still intact. A certain Irma from Kobuleti worked here in 1988 as a cleaner. From the pages ‘AHKETA’ (questionnaire in English) we learnt that she was a member of the Communist youth movement (Komsomol), that her mother was an agronomist and her father a kolchoznik. She and her family had never traveled abroad. Irma was 20 the she got the job, although she had an education as a nurse.

AHKETA
Irma’s file

We left her file were we found it and left the crumbling pool before dark. The next day we went back and rescued Irma’s file from oblivion.