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08.05.12 Perfect venue

Belaya Rus Sanatorium, on Black Sea coast, is ideal destination for relaxation and recuperation


Belarus already has its ‘own’ coast, courtesy of the Belorussiya Sanatorium, on the Baltic Sea, in Latvian Jurmala. We also boast three sanatoriums along the Black Sea coast: one in Crimea and two in Russian Sochi and Tuapse.

Belaya Rus Spa, near Tuapse, was my destination for the holiday season. Situated between the sea and the Caucasian mountains, it’s a wonderful spot on the Black Sea coast, 40m above sea level. The air is fresh and the location has its own sheltered micro-climate. The road from Tuapse to Belaya Rus snakes charmingly through Agoi and Nebug — settlements with Adygheya names.

Interestingly, archaeologists have discovered an ancient settlement just by the sanatorium, so it’s not hard to discover old artefacts in the dirt. The ancient Greeks even once resided here, when the land was called Meotida (named after the eoty tribe — forefathers of today’s Adyghes — the local people of the Tuapse area).

In fact, there is quite an international flavour, as the sanatorium employs specialists from various regions. Twenty years ago (when the sanatorium was being constructed), they were attracted not only by salaries but by the modern equipment being installed. This is still in use, in perfect condition. Every comfort is catered for — with patients and specialists alike delighting in the facilities.

The sanatorium overlooks the Tuapse Bay. It was built by Slovenian workers, while Smelt-Intag (from Swiss Zurich) acted the general contractor for the 4 star venue, which can sleep 607 guests. There are even deluxe rooms. Belaya Rus Sanatorium’s advantage is that it offers hotel facilities and a medical-consultative centre within the same building.

Since opening, over 200,000 guests have stayed there, enjoying treatments for skin, hypoderm, blood, muscle-skeletal, urogenital, nervous system and respiratory problems. Others simply go to relax and restore their inner balance. Stays can be arranged for 12 or 21 days, and children of all ages are welcome. Those sharing a room with their parents are offered a discount and babes up to 36 months are accepted free of charge.

It’s easy to reach the coast, taking the curving road or a tree lined avenue, so day trips to the beach are very popular. Resembling an ancient Roman villa, there’s a comfortable cafe, a summerhouse and changing rooms —equipped with showers and bathroom facilities. You can even hire small boats, jet skis and motorboats. Belaya Rus offers four meals a day — either pre-ordered or from the self-service buffet. Individual diet plans can also be arranged.

Besides sunbathing, swimming and medical treatments, guests can take sightseeing excursions to such places as the lowlands of the Ashe River. Nestled in the Adygheya Mountains, village residents live as they did centuries ago (while enjoying a few modern conveniences).

The route into the mountains takes half an hour, meandering up the hairpin bends towards the Adygheya villages. These boast their own customs and residents share a unique dialect (of the Adygheya-Abkhaz family) — being so cut off from the wider world. Their language dates back to a time before modern Belarusian or English existed and our European forefathers spoke a single Indo-European language. Adyghes are a modern people whose blood runs deep into the past.

Kalezh is among the most wonderful local villages, being tranquil and green. Local residents make strong cognac, chacha (grape vodka) and tasty chestnut honey. There are two waterfalls worth visiting: Psydakh and Shapsug. The former has two stunning cascades, while the latter runs down a well-smoothed niche in the side of the mountain (like a well). Approaching Psadykh waterfall is not for the fainthearted, as you must cross a suspended bridge over a mountain stream, before ascending a steep, narrow wooden ladder.

Don’t forget to ask Kalezh residents to show you the dolmens, which once housed ancient people. These are also found in the UK and Ireland. On parting, it’s quite likely that you’ll be treated to tasty cakes and Adygheya cheese.

A trip to Belaya Rus offers guests the chance to see two regions: the Russian Black Sea coast and legendary Meotida, with its unique culture. It’s impossible to be bored, even if travelling from Minsk by train. The two day rail journey passes quickly and, of course, the spa treatments awaiting you may prolong your life by several years!


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