My connection to Bessarabia and Bad Burnas
As some of you may know, my background is from Europe. From my mother’s side, I am connected to Bessarabia, the place that no longer exists, except in the memories of the people who were born & raised there. My grandmother/Oma was born in Leipzig, a large village in Bessarabia, grew up in Arzis and married a man from Paris.(Bessarabia, not Europe).
One of the highlights of her childhood was visiting the health resort & spa at age 7. Then I found a translation about this spa from the “Deutscher Volkscalender” and thought it might be of interest to some of you to either share the heritage or who have never heard of this before.
Source: Deutscher Volkskalender für Bessarabien – 1926 Tarutino
Press and Printed by Deutschen Zeitung Bessarabiens Pages 54-57
Translated by: Allen E. Konrad
Internet Location: urn:nbn:de:bvb:355-ubr13939-6
[Note: An overview of how the health resort of Bad Burnas, located on the Black Sea, between Basyrjamka and Tusla, Bessarabia, was established and the plans there were in 1926 for its future development.]
Bad Burnas by O.E.
The new spa “Bad Burnas” lies on a narrow elevated stretch of country which is protruding between the Black Sea and the salty estuary (Liman) “Burnas,” some 6 km from the German colony of Basyrjamka.
Already in earlier times, the sailors sailing in this area admired the “beautiful headland of Burnas” and well-known specialists of medical science have pointed out, on the basis of their chemical investigations, the excellent healing properties of the water and the mud of salt lake “Burnas,” which exceed the well known in ancient times estuaries of Kugälnik and Chadschibei near Odessa,
Before the war, professionals often drew the attention of the residents of Basyrjamka Colony to the “Pearl” that was in their possession, and they themselves even realized it and put hand to the task to establish a spa resort. The municipality had measured out plots of land for “Dachas” and several of them were nicely constructed. When the “Russian Bank for Foreign Trade” established a port facility where it shipped grain abroad and where the passenger steamers of the Black Sea Shipping Company came in regularly, it set up an opportune commerce with Odessa, Nikolayev, Constanta, and other Black Sea harbors, which was cause for great hope that “Burnas” would soon become a proper health spa. But the World War drew a thick line through all the plans. Shortly after the declaration of war by Turkey, 20 Ottomans appeared in Burnas as a port of refuge and landed unnoticed by the Russian guards, so that everything that had been built here so far was destroyed with alarming thoroughness. Only a huge grain warehouse remained standing.
But soon after the annexation of Bessarabia to Romania, the municipality of Basyrjamka was again at work to set up the resort. According to a new plan, villa sites were allocated and the Basyrjamka settler Jakob Schulz, despite snickering warnings, gladly began the “construction.” At this time, it was the thought of the German Bessarabian Company to put up a suitable spa and sanatorium (Heilanstalt) establishment where the German colonists could find accommodation, refreshments, and cure treatment. The question was discussed at a meeting of the People’s Council (Volksrat) and they decided to ask the Basyrjamka municipality to cede a suitable plot of land to the People’s Council on which the sanatorium could be built. The Basyrjamka municipality did just that. Unfortunately, the People’s Council could not realize the thing because they could not come up with the necessary funding. At the beginning of 1924, a group of intellectual German colonists once again took up the idea of a health resort which brought into existence the immediate establishment of a Joint-Stock Company, under the official name: S. A. “Bäile Burnas.” Without delay, the company took on the task of putting up the basic structures. According to the plans and under the skilled leadership of the architect, engineer Christian Beutelsbacher, construction of a large spa facility and a residential building for the patients was begun, which could be completed in spring of 1925 and opened at the start of the bathing season.
The basic layout of the bathhouse is a wide central building with two lateral wings and a centered addition to serve as the main entrance, measuring about 32 meters [1m=3.28 feet) long and containing 3 complexes (Komplekte) for mud baths (with subsequent sea tubs), 11 separate rooms for sea or estuaries baths, 1 room for restricted mud treatment (arm & foot baths), 1 private room for the doctor, 1 room for the medical assistant – masseur and the necessary waiting and service rooms. The building is a single story, with only a small tower rising just above the main entrance, which is a nice room for consultation meetings and spa administration. The living quarters for the visitors has a length of about 43 meters, consisting of 24 single rooms, each with a small, covered veranda completely isolated from the neighbor. To accommodate the diversity of the financial circumstances of patients, larger and smaller rooms were made; double the number envisioned to satisfy the anticipated increasing demand. While the whole bath house is constructed of fired bricks on a foundation made of hard stone, the living quarters’ outer walls only are made of bricks, but the inner walls—to be thrifty—are made of dried clay blocks (Lehmbatzen). Both houses are covered with galvanized roofing and provided with cisterns to collect rain water—which, according to the instructions of engineer Beutelsbacher, were also provided for most of the private homes in the “Villa Village” of which there are currently 20 that can accommodate some 400 guests.
The “Villa Village” is built according to a specific, drawn up plan with beautiful 17 meter wide streets, lined on both sides with trees. The whole spa terrain has a slight gradient toward the “Burnas” estuary, which encourages the rapid drainage of rain water, therefore, drying the streets and paths of the bath house and the sea beach. The distance from the most remote country houses by the sea and estuary beach is not more than 10 minutes; but barely 3 minutes from the nearest. The sea shore is not more than 10 meters high and, therefore, definitely not tiring to climb or descend, even for weak people. The beautiful wide dune with ample sea sand stretching many kilometers to the left and right of the spa site, is completely protected against sharp north winds and, therefore, creates the most ideal place for air, sand, and sun bathers. The beach is also very suitable for children since, due to the flat shore, they can go far into the sea without risk. The sea and steppe air is absolutely pure and very ozone rich; thanks to a persistent movement of air (a slight “Breeze”) via Lake Burnas to the large sand dune, in the direction of the sea, the air in Bad Burnas is not fouled up by the estuary air which the spa public in other health resorts often find so extremely annoying. The complete isolation of the resort from any human settlement guarantees the purity of the air, and also the rest so valued by the sick and suffering people. However, the main healing factors of the resort are what the bathhouse has to offer. The swimming pool is built according to the rules of modern technology: A very spacious recreation corridor with attendants for the public, large, bright, airy cabins providing bathing fixtures of beautiful, new, cast-iron, white enameled tubs. Very good drains in the bathhouse itself and on the grounds, all the way to the estuary, makes it possible for the bathhouse to be extremely sanitary.
Features & Amenities
The institute has a permanent specialist doctor. –spa-cure specialist, an experienced female medical assistant for massage, injections and such things, as well as nurses and a well trained service staff. The bathhouse is equipped with laundry and all necessary bath accessories. In the bathhouse, under the constant supervision of the physician and at a set hourly schedule, the following baths are administered for each individual patient: mud, sea, estuary and carbonic baths, for which a separate space is always available. Special light, airy single bathing huts are furnished for perspiration (sweating). Special baths are also provided for children. In the near future, sulfur baths are also to be installed, using sulfur water from the artesian well. By the way, it is to be noted that this well, belonging to the Joint Stock Company, was 99 Faden [0.16 faden=1 foot] deep and in the years of the war the half destroyed cavern well, after much toil and labor, was deepened to about 103 Faden, cleaned and put in order, and now there is a water flow of around 500 Eimer [1 Swiss eimer=37.5 liters/10 gal.; 1 Austrian eimer=56.7 liters/15 gal] an hour. Currently, the fountain provides great services, for the Joint-Stock Company itself, so also the dacha owners in the putting up of their country houses
The serious question about provisions was resolved by the Board in that a supply house was established so that spa guests would be able to receive good board and lodging or a good middle- class noon meal. During the next bathing season, a bakery and general store is also to be opened, whereby spa guests can obtain all necessary products and, under the control of the spa board of directors, keep the prices moderate. In addition, food will also be brought in by traders and farmers from surrounding villages.
Well aware of how very important the question is about an easy and quick connection to the health resort, a reliable vehicle will be purchased and put into circulation so that the public can be brought from the Kulwetscha Station to Bad Burnas and taken back again. A motor boat should also run back and forth on Lake Burnas to the market place in Tusla, where shops, pharmacy and others are available, and where the market takes place 3 times a week and all necessities of life are available. In the spring, a park is to be laid out around the health resort, putting in different trees and flower beds, well cared for walking paths and benches for the public. Playgrounds are to be established for children and young adults. From time to time, folk festivals, concerts, world cruises on Lake Burnas and much more are to take place. A library is to be launched where newspapers, journals and good books are to be at the public’s disposal for a small deposit. With a motor boat connection to Tusla, a regulated postal service is to be secured. If the above innovations are carried out, Bad Burnas will move forward to a beautiful future.
One can rightly say that great work has been done on this place in the course of the last year. While last year there were only a villa and the large building, as the health institution and residence were still in an unfinished state, now there is a villa next to them and also the building of the Joint-Stock Company in full readiness. This spa is a beautiful work of German creative spirit, but also of German perseverance. It is to be hoped that all sick and suffering people, regardless of religion and nationality, may find full recovery and restoration of their strength at our health resort, and that “Bad Burnas” might stand in first place among all health resorts, an undeniable claim thanks to its excellent location and the very rich natural surroundings.
About the Author
Elke is a connector, a promoter, a writer and a blogger who loves to build community, attend events and network with other entrepreneurs. Whether you need help with advertising, public relations, social media or communications, she is there for her clients.