Salt, Springs and Spa Towns.

Issue 39, October 2011.

In 1471 a contract was drawn up for the eternal lease of Truskavets to two brothers, Hnat of Tustanovychy and Andriy of Lubenychy. This marked the foundation of Truskavets, the region was rich in salt, and salt extraction was a profitable business. This continued for almost 400 years, with 2 more leaseholders, Frantz Blank and a priest, Hnat Oblochynsky, named in 1841 archives. By now more businesses had developed - Truskavets was a health resort. It started simply when eight hydrogen-sulfide water bathing-huts were built by an inn. A Doctor Hurek became the first doctor in 1849, and Anton Mashek, Linger, and Kokh were the first researchers. Scientific research into mineral springs started in the early 19th century, with Theodor Torosevych, a chemist and pharmacist from Lviv, being the first to investigate these mineral waters in detail.

A Mr Sapega and Mr Zholtovsky took possession of Truskavets in 1892. The new owners decided to raise the resort up to the European health resort standards. In 1911 Raymond Yarosh took over. as the head of a venture which promised prosperity to Truskavets. A railway link and station were built, electricity introduced, new villas were designed and built, hospitals upgraded and a fabulous club, ‘Companionable’ was built. Truskavets had become a prestigious resort, still with its unique Carpathian wood architecture.

About 3,000 people lived in Truskavets in 1931, with as many as 15,000 annual health visitors. For the next 50 years Truskavets was the All-Union health resort and the best place for rest and treatment. High-altitude sanatoriums were built in the 70’s and the city received a generous income thrived through mineral water sources, cultural centres, a new railway and bus station, schools, hospitals. When talk of stagnation hit the Post-Soviet economy, Truskavets was unaffected; the number of workers and visitors actually increased tenfold.

Nowadays 150000-170000 visitors come to refresh every year. Truskavets is now the largest balneal resort in the world. What makes Truskavets so popular? - The ‘Naftusya’ mineral water, a unique remedial water found only in Truskavets. Presidents, ambassadors, scientists and stars have visited. Millions were treated in this small town, and everybody remembers the ‘Naftusya’ mineral water.

‘Naftusya’ was born from Edward
Natural low-mineralized water, ‘Naftusya’ is the reason Truskavets has been a leading European resort for over 150 years. The first analysis of Truskavets springs was in 1833. ‘Black gold’ a term for ‘oil’ in English, is ‘neft’ in Russian, and ‘nafta’ in Ukrainian. Hence the euphonious name, ‘Naftusya'. The water has very subtle taste of oil and slight odor of hydrogen sulphide. The high content of organic oil-field substances are quickly destroyed in contact with air, making transportation impossible - the remedial effect of water greatly decreases. So, tens of thousands of holidaymakers visit Truskavets to drink this healing water, and scientists affirm that Naftusya’s healing effect is second to none, cleansing kidneys, gall bladder etc, settling metabolism and guarding against lithogenesis.

Each of Truskavets’ 14 springs has its own name. The oldest, from the 19th century spring is Edward. So, with tongue-in-cheek, we can say that Naftusya was born from Edward. This spring is in the very centre of the city – covered by a delicate wooden building with a small tower and hipped roof, a monument of the 19th century, the first pump-room in Truskavets. The old building’s stylised contours are still evident in the cities most impressive structure JSC ‘Truskavetskurort’.
Another Truskavets spring is Yuzya. Its mineral water is rich in glycerin, which renovates skin, adds healthy colour and elasticity. This spring has an open pump-room nearby, where in the mornings hundreds come to cleanse.

The resort was established in 1827; when the mineral baths and four guest houses were built. As the world heard of Naftusya, Truskavets grew rapidly. By the end of 19th century exquisite wooden villas and boarding houses were appearing everywhere. They still gladden the eyes with their elegance. In 1913 the resort received more than 5,000 visitors. In the 1930’s infrastructure developed dynamically and visitors came for therapeutic breaks from across Europe, averaging 1,500 per month. By the 1960’s Truskavets was a public recreation centre, with over 150,000 annual visitors. Today Truskavets is a compact town of 30,000, just 95 kilometers from Lviv. Situated in the Carpathian foothills; Truskavets has diagnostic and therapeutic centres; accommodation for all budgets; and plenty of entertainment. 200,000 visitors to Truskavets come each year from places like European Union, America, Israel.

In 2005, the World Federation of Hydrotherapy & Climatotherapy (FEMTEC) recognised Truskavetskurort’s world-class standards and recognized it as the best resort centre in the world.