Tourism Health and Wellness in the mountains of Bulgaria:
from antiquity to the present day…
Brief History of Balneology in Bulgaria.
From the remote past, mineral water and sludge have been used therapeutically in Bulgaria Balneotherapy. A number of archaeological findings testify to the development of spas in the current Bulgarian lands. former Thracian (Bulgarian ancestors of today) They deified running water; the ancient Greeks built “nymphaeums” , they are monuments to the nymphs around mineral springs, and there performing religious rituals and healing.
During the Roman Empire, the settlements were built around mineral springs and mud fields, who became health centers, sport, cultural and administrative centers, used by soldiers for rest, the therapeutic and entertainment. A number of archaeological finds and ancient chronicles provide evidence of the existence of these centers in Hisarya balneological, Kyustendil, Sandanski, Varshets y Varna, and tradition in the therapeutic use of water and mud to this day. The town of Hisarya, known in antiquity as the “city of emperors” the Diocletianopolis, named after the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and it became one of the largest centers of health recovery of the Roman Empire, due to the healing power of its mineral waters. Nowadays, Hisarya is one of the most visited cities in the country for health and wellness tourism.
In this city well preserved archaeological remains of Roman walls and parts of Roman baths that remain worth seeing. Next to the current City Kyustendil was built andl more “asclepieion” (Greek: “healing temple”) of all the Balkans, It was a "healing temple" dedicated to the god Asclepius, god of medicine and healing, occupied more than 3.600 m2, It was built there for its mineral hot water healing, climate and sludge and today continues to bring their properties to visitors. The tradition of using curative mineral waters remained alive during the Ottoman Empire, when a large number of mineral baths were built, some of them still in use.
In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, balneology in Bulgaria reached a significant progress. Many modern baths were built across the country, knowledge and technology were collected in western Europe and balneology and hot springs became a science.
Nowadays, the combination of abundant natural resources, scientific experience of many years, new technologies and the application of best European practices has turned Bulgaria into a country at the forefront of the development of health and wellness tourism in Europe.
During the last decade, Large investments have been made in many resorts with SPA centers, welfare and health treatments. These developments are based on domestic and foreign tourists mainly from Russia, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Cyprus and Greece. During the past eight years, net sales of spas and spa services have been steadily growing and now the health and wellness tourism in Bulgaria is second in popularity after beach tourism. The reasons for this upward trend are the treatments with thermal mineral waters and muds can be enjoyed throughout the year taking advantage of the climate and healthy conditions offered Bulgaria.
Special features of the thermal waters of Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is one of the best countries in the world in terms of mineral water resources and it offers a wide variety of mineral waters, and curative mud fields. In its territory there are over 600 Active sources of mineral water flow over 5.000 l / himself. Most bottled water stations are located in areas of high ecological and landscape value, in parks and in the majestic mountains of Rhodope, Pirin y Rila, Also in close proximity to the ski resorts of Bansko and Borovets, or on the Black Sea coast, or in the beautiful Rose Valley, or along the Struma and Mesta rivers, near the capital Sofia, that is to say, almost everywhere in the country.
An important feature of the Bulgarian mineral waters is that stem from deep underground which keeps constant physical and chemical composition and protects them from the influence of pollutants generated by humans and weather conditions.
They are very different in terms of composition waters mineralization, physics and chemistry, and temperature. There are mineral water springs in the country with temperature below 20 ºC , for instance, 12 C. in the village of Voneshta Voda, Veliko Tarnovo region. At the same time, the only geyser in the Balkans is located in southwestern Bulgaria, in the town of Sapareva Banya, and reaches a water temperature 103 ºC. In this video you can see 3D as the pressurized water flowing:
Bulgaria prevailing in the hot springs with temperatures above 37 ºC , followed by mineral water with temperature between 20 Y 37 ºC. As mineralization, in Bulgaria you can be found all groups of mineral waters, from less mineralized in the Balkans and in Europe – for instance, in the district of Sofia, in the town of Knyazhevo (122 mg / liter), Water village Mirovo, Varna region with a high mineralization 318,243 g / liter. And more than half 80% mineral waters in Bulgaria are generally mineralization up 1 g / liter, most of them below mineralization 0,5 g / l. They are good-tasting water, clear, with excellent organoleptic qualities. The group of low mineral water includes water containing radon mainly, sulphide, silica and fluorine. Anions sodium, potassium and calcium cations, and hydrocarbons, sulfate and chloride are common in these waters. Some of them also contain carbon dioxide CO2. The Bulgarian mineral waters are rich in biologically active substances, as fluorine and colloidal metasilicic acid. They are widely used for prevention and treatment of health, to drink, in external balneological treatments and inhalations, for the prophylaxis and for rehabilitation. There is much research on the effectiveness of the waters from low mineral in the human body. Drinking this type of water regulates the function of the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, gallbladder and kidneys. Due to its low mineralization, They have hypotonic effect, increasing the diuresis. The metasilicic acid acts as a balm mucous membrane, protecting it from harmful influences. External application of mineral water is effective in the prophylaxis and treatment of diseases of the peripheral nervous system, musculoskeletal and skin problems.
For its part, mineral waters with mineralization 1,5 a 5 g / containing hydrocarbon liter, sulphate, sales… and have a strong healing effect. Specific doses are administered as prescribed by a physician. Drinking this water has a curative effect tested for patients with gastrointestinal diseases, liver diseases, disorders of the bladder and bladder, la diabetes, obesity and gout. Also reducing hyperacidity of the gastric juice; They have choleretic effect and are protective of the liver. External balneotherapy with this type of water is effective in patients with arthritis, disorders of the peripheral nervous system, gynecological and andrological diseases, skin problems, etc.
Climate therapy in combination with balneotherapy.
The specific climate of Bulgaria also facilitates the development of tourism throughout the year. Climate therapy or climatotherapy in cases of allergic and chronic upper and lower airway disease is widespread in Bulgaria. The combination of climate and healthy mineral water inhalations successfully applied for the prophylaxis and treatment of lung diseases and bronchial asthma. Velingrad and Sandanski are best known for its healing climate and with greater experience in climate therapy resorts. The health center of Sandanski, with its unique climate and air rich in negative ions it is famous as the best natural clinic in Europe for bronchial asthma. Other popular Bulgarian seasons are Albena, Pomorie, Hisarya, Varshets, Devin, Katarina, Kyustendil y Shipkovo.
The classic spa therapy in Bulgaria has been performed mainly on rehabilitation hospitals. But nevertheless, in the last 10 years, Medical programs SPA, prevention and health promotion, as well as for rehabilitation have been widely applied in the new hotels four and five star hotel recently built, combining modernity with the centenary of balneotherapy knowledge passed down for generations.
In future articles we will also discuss the possibilities of Bulgaria for specialized medical treatment, as cosmetic surgery, dentistry and in vitro fertilization…
If you want to do a different journey that combines health and wellness tourism with authentic rural tourism, Bulgaria is your destiny to discover. Discover for example our proposal here but we can also make a trip to measure: SPA getaway to Bulgaria.