Bathhouse no. 8

24 Bathhouse no. 8

address: Central Park
architect: Ioseb Zaalishvili, constructors: Davit Kajaia, N. Meskhi
project: 1958
construction: 1959
current state: abandoned/ruined

In the thicket of the abandoned spa park, halfway between the spring yard no. 6 and the spa house Zheleznodorozhnyj, stands the ruin of one of the most impressive spa buildings in Tskaltubo. The hydrotherapy facility of Spring no. 8 was put into operation as early as 1959. It was designed by architect Ioseb Zaalishvili, whose name is closely linked with Tskaltubo baths and is also the author of the 1953 building plan of the baths.  From the outside, the inconspicuous building reveals an interesting circular typology of the hydrotherapy facility inside. The single room is roofed with a dome – a reinforced concrete shell weighing 42 tons with a central oculus open to the sky (originally covered). The interior is accessed by four opposing entrances. Inside, the circular space is divided into precise quarters. Each of the four spa compartments had two sections with 14 tubs of thermal water arranged in a circle. The four sections of 28 baths each provided hydrotherapy capacity for a total of 112 individual baths/patients at any one time, or 134 patients per hour. The individual baths were fed with thermal mineral water at a temperature of 34.6 degrees Celsius. The water was fed from 11 different wells nearby to a circular reservoir located under the central oculus from where it was distributed to 4 sections. What is remarkable about the hydrotherapy facility of Spring no. 8, apart from its form, is the fact that it was built earlier, in a distinctly progressive and modern spirit, than some of the famous healing houses such as Medea or Gelati, with their distinctly historicist form. At the same time, Spring no. 8 is also a valuable contribution to the testing of balneological typology, even in international comparison. In 2021, the building was granted the status of a cultural heritage monument.