BĂILE HERCULANE - A collection of hotels and baths that once made up an Austro-Hungarian thermal waters resort is being destroyed under the harsh weather of its surrounding mountains.
A collection of hotels and baths that once made up an Austro-Hungarian thermal waters resort is being destroyed under the harsh weather of its surrounding mountains.
Erected between 1810 and 1906, following, in part, the plans of some illustrious architects of the former Empire, the buildings have been merely abandoned, in the last decades. Although they transitioned various ownerships, one thing stayed the same: the lack of investments and the lack of regard for their cultural value. What aggravated their condition was their privatisation, signed twenty-two years ago, when they were sold to a company owned by a member of the political ruling party. Proving no interest in reviving these buildings – unanimously classified as historical monuments by the Romanian state – the new landlord kept them for a few years, then alienated them to all sorts of entrepreneurial figures. This large transfer of property is characterised as a sophisticated embezzlement scheme by the anti-organised crime Romanian prosecutors, who indicted everyone involved. Although an attempt to recover a prejudice incurred at the expense of the state, the unfolding trial, with its far reaching implications, draws these valuable buildings even deeper into decay.
As these cultural monuments are dramatically deteriorating, some similar ones, built by the same Austro-Hungarian administration on the current territory of Hungary, are fully functional and in a good state, with a few exceptions.
need resources for your own investigative story?
Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.
support independent cross-border investigative journalism
We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.