Do you dream of escaping from the hectic big city and enjoying a well-deserved mountain resort wellness experience? Are you probably looking for a place to give you positive energy and rejuvenate your body with an authentic Roman bath?
The village of Banya is a SPA and mountain resort that roots for complete relaxation amidst beautiful nature, fresh air, peace, and quiet. So, when you’re longing to take a dip in a warm mineral pool and enjoy the healing and beautifying spa treatments, this tiny corner in Bulgaria can offer you all of it and much more.
In the paragraphs below, you can learn all about the Banya village, its thermal springs, swimming pools, hotels, and SPA facilities emerging each season.
Why is the Village of Banya called the Mineral Paradise of Bulgaria?
The village of Banya is located in the heart of the Razlog valley, carefully guarded by Rila mountain, Pirin mountain, and the Rhodopes. It is the oldest settlement in the southwestern mountainous region of the country and a fantastic current-time tourist complex undergoing massive development.
In Bulgarian, Banya literally translates as “Bath.” The village was initially founded by the Thracians, who were the first to appreciate its location and the presence of numerous mineral springs that gushed from the bowels of the mountain.
In the 4th century BC, Banya came under the rule of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. Later, after the rule of Philip II and Alexander the Great was done, in the 1st century AD, the settlement and the healing springs of the region became part of the Roman Empire.
The Romans brought with them the culture of hydrotherapy and built the first healing bath, which can be seen today. The public bath was built in a typical Roman style, and according to legend, Roman legionaries visited it to heal the injuries received in battle.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the mineral springs and the settlement built around them remained in possession of Byzantium. After the founding of the Bulgarian state, they entered the borders of our country.
In the next few centuries, the village passed into the possession of various feudal lords, and in 1378 Tsar Ivan Shishman issued a charter of the Rila Monastery, according to which Razlog and the village of Banya became feudal possessions of the monastery.
After the fall of the Bulgarian state under the Ottoman yoke, the village endured Turkish rule for 530 years. For these five centuries, it experienced forced conversion to Islam, raids by Kurdzhali, and complete arson in 1801.
It was only during the reign of the Turkish Sultan Mohammed II that the atrocities were stopped, and the village began to recover and develop.
During this period, crafts, trade, agriculture, and animal farming developed, and the village was filled with life. This is also when the Turkish bath or “Muratina bath” was built with a donation from the wealthy Turkish family Murtazovi.
The Turkish bath was built similarly to the Roman one, and it used the most healing spring in the village for water supply.
75 Mineral Springs Gush from the Bowels of the Earth in the village of Banya
Located only 5 km from Bansko and Razlog, Banya is blessed with an abundance of hot mineral springs. As many as 75 springs spring in its territory, making up ⅓ of all mineral springs in Razlog valley and Southwestern Bulgaria.
The waters have an average temperature ranging between 37 and 57 degrees Celsius and are used for SPA, recreational and industrial purposes.
How Were The Mineral Springs Formed, and Where are They Located?
The great Bulgarian writer Anton Strashimirov, who is from Banya, gives a highly romantic explanation for the formation of the thermal springs. He called them the “miracle,” and according to him, the village was built on a “varshiyak,” under which an eternal earthly fire burns. It heats the water and springs from every “pore” on the land of the village.
The truth is that we will hardly ever know precisely how the mineral springs were formed, but according to some expert studies, their formation is most likely due to rains that fell thousands of years ago, stored in earth pockets.
Is this explanation true? We don’t know. But we hope that one day scientists will be able to give a definite answer as to why the village of Banya is blessed with so many mineral springs in one place.
Regarding their location, if you walk around the village and its surroundings, literally every few hundred meters, you will come across at least one mineral spring.
Of course, one of all 75 springs is the most popular, and according to the locals, it is the most healing.
It is located at the end of the village, and the people of Banya call it “Good Water” because, according to legends, the healing properties of the mineral water that gushes from it can cure, among other things, infertility.
General Characteristics of the Mineral Waters of the Village of Banya
The waters of the healing springs are extremely clean, slightly mineralized, with an alkaline reaction, odorless, and high flow rate. Their average temperature is about 55 degrees Celsius, and they have a rich chemical composition and valuable substances easily absorbed by the human body.
At their average temperature and after, they remain rich in:
- Anions (fluorine, sulphate, chlorine, hydrogen phosphate, carbonate, and bicarbonate);
- Cations (magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, sodium, and metasilicic acid);
- A large number of microelements used for relaxation, wellness, and medical treatment.
Banya’s mineral spring waters are suitable for medical treatment and rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system, as well as for various types of SPA procedures.
Who and What do the Mineral Springs Help?
The healing properties of the mineral waters of Banya are numerous, but if we have to be more specific, then we can say that they help a lot in.
Postoperative Prevention and Treatment of Old Injuries
If you have sprains, fractures, bruises, and other similar injuries, a few days in the mineral pools of the village, combined with medical procedures, will help relieve your pain.
After all, the old bath in typical Roman style was initially used to treat the wounds and bruises of soldiers battling for the Roman empire.
Problems with the Musculoskeletal System
SPA treatments with mineral water alleviate the condition of people suffering from problems with the musculoskeletal system, such as:
- Spinal deformities
- Congenital changes in the hip joint
- Traumatic injuries of the skeletal system.
The treatment is also suitable for people suffering from soft tissue diseases and Bechterew’s disease.
Diseases of the Peripheral Nervous System
From studies conducted among people with problems with the peripheral nervous system, their condition has improved dramatically after treatment with mineral water from the mountain village of Banya.
The healing water has a particularly beneficial effect on diseases of the nervous system, such as:
- Damage to peripheral nerves
- Paresis and others.
Whether and how the springs are suitable for different nervous system conditions is a question you’ll have to discuss with your medical practitioner beforehand.
Inflammation of the Respiratory Tract
Inhalation procedures with mineral water help diseases such as:
- Bronchial asthma
- Sinusitis and others.
Banya is particularly preferred by families with respiratory-sensitive children for the long-term improvement of chronic conditions. Combined with the beautiful nature and comfortable sea level, Banya is perfect for lengthier stays with children.
Treatment of Skin Diseases and Inflammations
SPA treatments with mineral water relieve inflammatory processes and help treat skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis.
Add to that that a few days spent in the mineral pools of the village of Banya or special SPA beauty treatments make the skin healthier, tight, and radiant. As a result, it is hardly necessary to say why the ladies like to visit the mineral pools and the village beach.
In fact, Banya has undergone massive development in the beauty and wellness niche, along with its traditional medical popularity.
Treatment of Internal Diseases
As mineral water is also suitable for drinking, applied internally after tempering has a beneficial effect on:
- Gastrointestinal diseases
- Kidney and urological diseases
- Metabolic diseases
- Endocrine diseases
- Problems and conditions of the genital system
The local mineral water is also helpful for the general prevention against osteoporosis, tartar, removal of heavy metals, etc. These proven benefits drive more and more foreign investors who level up the relatively underexploited tourist potential of Banya in recent decades.
Why do more and more domestic and foreign tourists enjoy the healing mineral waters of the village of Banya?
The resort village is actively developing SPA tourism, and this is an indisputable fact. Here, each hotel has an outdoor or indoor pool filled directly from the mineral springs in the area of the village.
In addition, in the summer there is an open mineral beach, which is preferred by more and more people who prefer to rest in the mountains but want an alternative to the beaches by the sea.
In the village, everyone can find something for themselves. Banya is blessed with uniquely beautiful nature and has an ancient history. Visiting one of the pools can be perfectly combined with a walk on an eco-trail, sightseeing, or lunch or dinner in one of the many small restaurants that offer authentic cuisine from the town of Bansko and Razlog.
The proximity of the village to our popular ski resort also affects the interest of tourists in the mineral springs of Banya. A large part of the vacationers in the large ski resort Bansko visit the pools of the village to enjoy the relaxing properties of the warm and healing mineral water.
You can easily see tourist facilities emerging by the day. Both Bulgarian and foreign investors use the underexploited tourist potential in the equilateral triangle between Banya, Bansko, and Razlog. These three settlements are at about the same distance from one another and allow for the creation world-class ski facilities, wellness resorts, and other tourist facilities for mountain tourism.
The mineral pools, the authentic restaurants, and the beach are widely preferred places to relax both in the warm summer months and the winter.
Because there is nothing more relaxing and refreshing if, after a great day spent on one of the ski slopes in Bansko, you will immerse yourself in the outdoor pools of the village of Banya, full of warm, healing mineral water.
How to get from Lucky Bansko Hotel to the Mineral Springs of the Village?
Suppose you are a guest of Bansko or plan to rest soon in our popular resort and have chosen to stay in one of the most popular apart-hotels in the city – Lucky Bansko. In that case, we recommend you visit the village of Banya at least once and enjoy its mineral springs.
You will need no more than 8-10 minutes to get to Banya, as the distance between the two settlements is only a few kilometers. You just have to get out of the hotel, get in your car and take the road to the village.
There are enough signposts, and even if there aren’t, you can’t go wrong because if you leave the city in the direction of the village, you don’t have to deviate anywhere.
What Do We Recommend You to See while Visiting Banya?
If you decide to spend a few hours in the warm mineral pool or on the beach, take some time to see some of the incredible sights of the village.
First, however, we advise you not to miss to visit the most popular mineral spring in Banya – “Good Water”. The spring is located at the end of the village, and in 2018 was completely renovated.
Near the spring is the Turkish bath, which we told you about a little earlier. In the past, while the bath was in operation, it was from this spring that it was supplied with water. Today the bath is one of the significant landmarks of the village, and you can see it as part of your tour.
Be sure to visit the Roman bath, which is preserved in its authentic form. The bathroom was built in the Roman style during the Roman Empire.
If you wish, you can see all three preserved churches that the village is proud of. Two churches that attract the most tourists are the “St. George” Evangelical Church and the church “Holy Assumption”.
And at the end of your walk, you can sit in one of the cozy restaurants and try homemade dishes according to authentic recipes from the region of Bansko and Razlog.