750 mineral springs of Greece

This website by the friends of the 750 mineral springs of Greece features gatherings, activities and information. Friends perform acts of attention towards the maintenance and preservation of an overlooked natural resource and built cultural heritage. 

A 1938 book publication by Nikolaos Lekkas titled “The 750 Mineral Springs of Greece” shows how the scientific analysis of mineral springs, rocks, and soil in Greece led to a new understanding of the country’s resources: its airs, waters and places. The wealth of mineral springs conveyed in the book presents an extraordinary imaginary of Greece: a geography centered around a healing network. Decades of numerous man-made activities- building, infrastructure works, state, municipal and private negligence- have greatly impacted them.  What exactly is their state  today? Are they even 750? We keep searching and looking closely.

Friends gather in springs and Loutropolis (bath towns). We organize workshops, engage municipalities in conversation, publish texts, bathe, created unsolicited site specific art works and ephemeral architectural interventions. 

 We pay attention in order to imagine potential futures, away from the narratives of the luxury SPA exploitation and fast tourism consumption. Through actions and conversations we raise questions; we would like the springs and baths to remain accesible as sites of care for all. 

friends are:

Bagno Popolare Baden, Bad Zum Raben, Sophia Berdelis, David Bergé, Vanessa Billy, Alba Balmaseda, Kathrin Doppler, Jason Faulter, Vasia Ioannidou, Adam Jasper, Emma Letizia Jones, San Keller, Tim Klauser, Christina Kotsilelou, Orestis Mavroudis, Nefeli Myrodia, Joshua Olsthoorn, Sam Porritt, Eirini Sourgiadaki, Dimitris Theodoropoulos, Philip Ursprung, Vessel, Tobias Wootton, Nina Zschocke

&  Lydia Xynogala (founding friend) 

 

instagram

 spring activities

01: Kammena Vourla, 18.06.2023

In April 2023, the sole bidder was announced for the forty year lease of the springs, state-build bath buildings Asclepius and Hippocrates together with the historic hotels Radion and Thronion in the Loutropolis of Kammena Vourla. All buildings have been shut for decades and the bidder, a greek luxury hotel chain will renovate them with with the goal to turn them into a "contemporary center for wellness". The bid was approved by TAIPED, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund whose mission is "to maximize Hellenic Republic’s revenues by developing public assets." Friends decided to pay a visit before the renovation starts. 

friends gathered outside the Asclepius Hydrotherapy Bath building which opened its doors in 1938, by the architect Gerasimos Molfesis

 

 

bathing and actions with participants:

Sophia Berdelis gave a touch of light to the Hydrotherapeution "Asclepius"

David Bergé

Panos Dragonas

Alexander Galan

Ant Hampton

Dimitra Kondylatou

Christina Kotsilelou prepared and offered an uplifiting tonic and healing snack

Orestis Mavroudis lit a farewell

Sofia Souvatzoglou

Tobias Wootton continued his photographic series  and documented the friends  interventions

Lydia Xynogala read a 1895 memorandum on the springs

The day started with a bath followed by a mud- face and body- treatment in neighboring Psoroneria. 

 

In Kammena Vourla, Christina Kotsilelou prepared and offered an uplilfting tonic with elderflower and a healing snack with yoghurt and rose petal preserve
Christina Kotsilelou, healing snack with yoghurt and rose petal preserve

 

Orestis Mavroudis propped up the fallen sign of the historic Radion Hotel, named after the radon contained in the spring waters, cleaned it with the help of friends and lit specific letters to spell ADIO, "goodbye", or "vacant", in Greek.

 

Orestis Mavroudis, ADIO
Sophia Berdelis sheds light on a forgotten era, the Asclepius Hydrotherapy building, closed since 1989. It has recently been leased for forty years and will soon be redeveloped by a luxury hotel chain. At the top right, the singular light source provided by the municipality. 

 

Asclepius Bath Building, Lit by Sophia Berdelis. 

All photography by Tobias Wootton who throughout the day and night continued his photographic series on the 750 mineral springs and documented all the friends’ interventions. This included photographing ADIO together with Orestis Mavroudis from atop an amusement park wheel, from a rooftop, directing postcards and lastly a car with light to document the action of Sophia Berdelis. 

 

02: Souvala, Aigina. 24.07.23 

hosted by Vessel 

Shut for over two decades the baths of Souvala Aigina used to heal thousands of patients each year. The last geological survey from 1983 indicates the spring of these baths as active. The spring has vanished we were told; the area has been largely built-up with tourism infrastructures.

Where is the spring? What is the future of these baths? The gathering in Souvala aimed to engage these questions in conversation with the community of Aigina. Roula Sarantou, Deputy Mayor of Aigina and Elias Grypaios, President of the Citizens Association of Vathy joined us. 

The bath building opened for the first time in many years.

Lydia Xynogala gave a talk (in English and Greek) about the history of this spring and it's bathing infrastructures. Refreshments were provided.

In 1884 an analysis of the chemical properties of the waters of Souvala showed that there were two springs. Each could fill aprox 53 cubic meters of water per day. Since these springs have dissapeared, Lydia Xynogala /ALOS with the help of James Bridle VESSEL installed the historical volume of one of them. The outline shows the volume of a pool that could be filled in one day by the strongest spring. 


 Aggeliki Stenaki, Aigina native whose father run the baths for forty years shared personal memories and pointed out where the spring comes out into the sea water. Friends dug the spot and indeed the spring still springs.
The conversation with the municipality will be continuted this fall. Friends are urging for a new study by IGME (The Greek Geological Institute), to be conducted. 

 

00: Spring Stories, Onassis AiR 12.05.23 

a piece that revolves around printed postcards and storytelling as part of Lydia Xynogala's ongoing research into the 750 mineral springs of Greece. Old or new postcards made from photographs of her visits, Lydia shared stories of travel, bath encounters, ideas, surprises, findings, forgotten histories and of imagined futures.

Production Assistant: Sofia Souvatzoglou.

Photography: Pinelopi Gerasimou

 

forthcoming events

Loutraki:  ΙΑΜΑΤΙΚΗ ΠΕΡΙΗΓΗΣΗ   / HEALING WATER TOUR
participation in the Loutraki Art Festival July 2023

POSTPONED,  due to the catastrophic fires in the region
new date coming soon:  spring 2024

After the devastating earthquake in 1928, Loutraki centered its identity around its healing water through the making of various works, buildings, landscapes and water infrastractures. What is the state of these resources and their significance for Loutraki today?

full program here

5.30pm-7.30pm

walking and swim tour conducted by Lydia Xynogala. We will walk, drink and bathe around key sites of Thermalism: Krini, Parko Eirinis, Old Baths, Ktirio Pigis.

Temporary Installation by ALOS

7.45-8.30pm

Workshop with Loutraki teenagers conducted by Miltos Papadimitropoulos, Zoi Pirini, Lydia Xynogala on questions of bodies, natural resources and public space in Loutraki.

8.30-9.00p. Reading by Dimitris Theodoropoulos (Hiboux Architecture/ Erands)

 

a history of friends:

The project emerged from contemporary questions and matters of concern from Lydia Xynogala's ongoing doctoral dissertation at ETH Zurich, gta Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture; and through her research project on the 750 Mineral Springs of Greece (Revisited) supported by the Onassis Foundation, through a tailor made fellowship. Friends, together address these questions and matters through their actions.