Let me tell you a story, a one that’s very dear to me. I used to come here very often as a child with my parents or my grandparents and I was simply fascinated by all the legends that surrounded this little, but very beautiful city in Romania, Herculane. I used to run , catch fireflies at night with my brother, eat ice-cream from the same old lady that stood at one random street corner. Also at night, I used to look at the mountains and be scared by their silence, by their strong presence and I remember how everybody used to tell me that they were so high and imposing, because Hercules was strong and he’d get his powers from the stones and the water that came from them.
But that’s not the story, those are my sweet memories , who pushed me to go and see Hercules’s Baths after many years of absence.
The story… I hope my pictures will tell it. This particular, beautiful building it’s located in Hercules’s Baths (Aqua Herculis in latin) , in Romania. It was founded by the romans and it has an amazing history through out time, having unique thermal and sulfur springs in the whole Europe and also amazing baroque and modernist architecture.
This building, Neptun Sulfur Baths, was constructed between 1883 and 1886 by the plans of the Alpar architect, under the austrian emperor’s will. Its long, colorful hallways are now abandoned…. In fact, everything it’s abandoned. The building it’s in a very advanced state of degradation, the wood structure of the roof barely stands and the stairs will soon collapse. The rooms which continued the basins and the treatment rooms are full of dirt and garbage from homeless people. From the outside you don’t see all the problems, you just see the “great”, white PVC windows (They thought this could solve all the problems), the degrading brick facade and the painted columns from now and there. Now, the building’s story it’s this: She is dying a slow death if we don’t intervene.
I am writing and sharing this because I’m trying to raise the awareness over the continuous process of degradation that happens to many historical and architectural monuments in my country. If they can be so beautiful in this sad state, just imagine how beautiful they can be when life happens between their walls. As an architecture student, when I saw it I was shocked… I jumped inside through a broken window and couldn’t stop myself from asking: “What can we do? How can we save it?” And that question it’s on my mind since then.
So, I hoped you like the pictures, and maybe they can make you search the city’s full story, the Hercules legends and the benefits of these unique thermal springs and hopefully it will make you share this, in order to raise the awareness towards the destruction of the romanian cultural and architectural heritage.
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