The beautiful building of the Mineral Baths in Bankya was constructed between 1907 and 1910 at the initiative of the then Bulgarian monarch, Tsar Ferdinand I (r. 1887 – 1918).
Because of management issues in Bulgaria’s early post-communist period, the most famous landmark of the Sofia suburb of Bankya has been and abandoned since 2001. Bankya has been part of Sofia Municipality since 1979.
After it had been closed to the public for nearly 17 years, the Mineral Baths in Sofia’s quarter Bankya are presently undergoing restoration under a project which began in December 2017.
“The emblematic building of the Mineral Baths in Bankya, which had been decaying for 17 years, is going to start a new life within 2 years, and will be turned into a modern balneology and spa center," Bankya district Mayor Rangel Markov has said at a public presentation of the facility’s restoration project, as cited by BNT.
The 1910 building has the status of a monument of culture, and is to be restored with its original appearance after it had been vandalized for the past 17 years.
“We are preserving the baths building’s balneology functions, and we are developing a new, modern spa center. It will have the capacity of accommodating 160 – 180 people who will be able to use the baths at the same time. There will be Finnish sauna, other types of sauna, steam baths, and mineral water pools with different temperatures," Markov explains.
The spa center of the Mineral Baths in Sofia’s suburb Bankya will be located in the building’s basement.
The basement will thus become accessible to the public for the first time since in the past it had hosted the building’s old heating systems.
Architect Chavdar Georgiev who developed the renovation project for the historic building has revealed that one of the old changing rooms will be refashioned into a cafeteria. The third floor of the building which used to be a message place will also be altered.
“The third floor of the building is going to assume public service functions with a modern fitness center for prevention, sports, and rehabilitation, a yoga and meditation room, a cosmetics center, and a children’s center," he says.
The restored 1910 building of the Mineral Baths in Sofia’s suburb Bankya will also be equipped with elevators for people with disabilities.
The Bankya Mineral Baths spa center is supposed to be opened at the end of 2019. After that, Bankya Municipality is going to look for a private company to take over its operation and management.
This is what the Bankya Mineral Baths building is supposed to look like after its renovation. Photos: Bankya Municipality